The way I do things in the kitchen could be classified into two (very different) parts. The first approach is the scientific approach. In it I am experimenting with one thing or another, usually trying to “crack” some recipe into its culinary atoms so that I may build it back up vegan and healthy. This is also the side of cooking I am normally most excited to share with others, since it feels like I’ve accomplished some crazy veganizing/healthifying challenge.
The other approach is one I am no less pleased with — the one where I’m a new mother to a very demanding infant and a computer science student at a university whose tagline is “Difficult, but the best”… Leaving me close to zero time for fancy fiddling in the kitchen. It’s these times that breed what I’ve come to call Lazy-Girl recipes, or lazy-girl shortcuts to existing recipes.
Ones that take no time to put together, are made from just whatever’s around the house, and don’t require much special treatment. I’m just as happy with the discoveries I make through these times, but I just don’t really bother sharing most of them here because I figure that they’re less innovative.
But the truth is, lazy-girl style is just as valuable as vegan-connoisseur style. It just depends on what you need at a specific time. In fact, the way we normally eat around here is much more minimal than most of the recipes I post here, using simple ingredients that we have around and simple techniques that take very little time and effort.
I have kind of the same problem buying nice shoes: if I’m already going to spend time and money buying a new pair of shoes, I am usually far more tempted to buy a sexy pair of high heels, even though the ones I would normally wear the most are sensible kitten heels or even flats. In the same way, if I’m already putting aside a whole day (or more) for food photography, editing, writing, etc. you can be sure that I will use it on the flashiest, most surprising recipes I’ve cooked up lately.
But. Work is really starting to pile up at school and I’m finding almost no time to post about my amazing vegan discoveries like vegan Mexican fajitas, vegan chocolate & peanut-butter ice-cream sandwiches, vegan siniya, and vegan chewy cinnamon cookies (these will all come sometime in the future and then I will link them here. Patience, young grasshopper.)… So I decided to keep it simple and give you guys a glimpse into the simpler side of my cooking life. Maybe it won’t teach you something totally new, but hopefully it will inspire you in one way or another!
This dish was inspired by my two friends Nick and Thomas*, who come off as huge stoners but are in fact two of the most straightedge people I know. They are flatmates in Jerusalem and often make spicy baked potato wedges in their dingy little oven.
A note about the cooking method in this post: Imagine that you had a magical cooking device that let you perfectly parboil root vegetables. Imagine that it was cost-effective, energy-efficient, and worked in just a few minutes. Take a second to envision the possibilities: You could parboil tough veggies super quickly, each to the same degree of almost-ready, and then roast them to perfection. Sounds dreamy, doesn’t it?
Now look at your microwave. Ta-da!
I know they are not very popular with people who consider themselves serious chefs, but I really think that microwaves have just gotten a bad rep. I even had a friend insist with me once that there is radiation in the food I warm up there. I may be a healthy-minded person with a holistic approach to nutrition and diet, but at the end of the day I’m still a girl of science. I fail to see the mechanism through which there is “radiation” in my food. Yeah, they’ll turn crispy things soggy which sucks, but they are invaluable when what you want to do is soften things or warm them up quickly when they don’t need to be crunchy or crispy. And even that’s only half-true: I sometimes use a microwave to roast lightly salted peanuts! As a mom (and a girl who values her time in general) I really think that if something works, it would really just be screwing myself over to say that I take myself too seriously as a cook to use it. Besides, taking yourself too seriously is totally lame.
*Names changed to protect my hippy friends’ identity 🙂
Lazy-Girl Grilled Veggies for Two:
Kosher Classification: Neutral
Estimated Time: 20 minutes prep + 20 minutes bake
Music That Compliments This Dish:
1 large sweet potato
2 medium-small potatoes
2 bell peppers
2 medium-small onions
1/4 Tbs. coarse sea salt
1/2 tsp chili flakes
2+2 Tbs. olive oil, divided
1 tsp vegetable oil, for coating the pan
Preheat your oven to 260 degrees Celsius (which are 500 degrees Fahrenheit). Line a wide baking pan with aluminum foil, and very lightly coat it with some vegetable oil.
Wash the potatoes and sweet potatoes well and cut into wedges. Place in a microwavable bowl and cover, then microwave until soft but not mushy, about 5 minutes each. I microwave them separately since cooking times vary between different types of potatoes and it allows me to control the softness better, but if you’re extra lazy you don’t have to do that.
While the spuds are cooking, chop the onions and bell peppers into wedges and toss in a bowl with half the olive oil and spices until coated. Place in the baking pan in the oven and let cook.
Once the spuds are soft enough, toss them in the bowl with the rest of the spices and olive oil, add to the pan and put back in the oven. This time, set your oven on BROIL. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the vegetables are nice and brown around the edges.
Enjoy on these chilly winter
- Preheat oven to 260 C (500 F) and line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Oil the foil lightly.
- Cut potato and sweet potato into thick wedges and microwave until soft but not mushy.
- Chop bell peppers and onions into wedges, mix with salt, chili flakes, and olive oil and put into oven.
- When spuds are soft, toss with the rest of the oil and spices to coat, then add to pan and BROIL for 14-20 minutes, until the veggies are browned around the edges.