Saturday Night’s Alright For Fighting With The Stove

To say that I can’t cook is putting it mildly. If truth be told, I possess the rare the ability to turn any attempt at food preparation into a scarcely edible concoction that barely passes as a meal. (Except for macaroni & cheese.) I went into the Peace Corps knowing this – but also understanding that if I was to survive as a functioning adult in this world, I’d eventually have to learn. It was now or never, and the Peace Corps was ripe with opportunity.

If my life were a movie, then I’d be able to proudly announce that I conquered the kitchen, overcame my weaknesses, and am on my way to becoming an excellent chef. But this isn’t Hollywood – my life is much less climactic.

In the eighteen months I’ve been here, I’ve learned how to prepare a few meals, and I still count myself lucky if I don’t burn them.

Below, you’ll find the recipes for the only two dishes I can manage without mishap.

 Vegetable Teriyaki

 Materials:
1 Medium Saucepan w/lid
Vegetable Oil (or coconut oil, or water)
1 Large Onion
1 Large Carrot
2 Medium Tomatoes
½ Sweet Pepper
½ Cup Broccoli and/or Cauliflower (Optional)
Veggie Chunks or Chicken (Optional)
¼ Cup of Lawry’s Teriyaki Sauce

Procedure:

  1. In saucepan, combine sliced onions, sliced carrot, and oil/water. Turn the burner on medium-low and let the onions and carrot soften, stirring occasionally. → As a PCV, and being inept in the kitchen, I use water instead of oil, and I let the water boil out. Once a majority of the water is gone, I move on to the next step. If I’m using chicken, I cut it into bite-size pieces and add it to the pan once the water is boiling.
  2. Add quartered tomatoes and sliced sweet pepper to pan, and lower heat. Recover and let sit for 1-2 minutes. → If I’m using veggie chunks, I’ve already hydrated them in hot water for half an hour. Now, I drain and add them to the saucepan. If I have broccoli or cauliflower, I would also add them now.
  3. Remove cover; add teriyaki sauce, stir, and recover. Let sit on low heat for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Serve a la carte, or over rice & peas.

*This recipe can also be followed using tomato sauce, instead of teriyaki. Just leave the rice out of the equation.

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Rambunctious Ramen

Materials:
1 Large Cook pot
1 Small or Medium Cook pot
1 Microwave-Safe bowl (or glass bowl)DSCN2230
1 Cabbage head
2 Onions
1 Large Carrot
1 Sweet Pepper
Garlic & Onion Seasoning
1 Tbsp Butter
½ Cup Veggie Chunks
1 Cup (Boiling) Water
1 Pack of Ramen Noodles

Procedures:

Steamed Cabbage

  1. Thinly shred cabbage, and slice onions, carrots and sweet pepper.
  2. Combine ingredients into the large cook pot with butter (at the bottom) and season with Garlic & Onion.
  3. Place on stovetop and set heat to the lowest it will go.
  4. Let sit for 15-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Veggie Chunks

  1. Using a microwave safe bowl, combine veggie chunks and water.
  2. Set cook-time to 2 minutes, wait ten minutes, and then 2 minutes again.
  3. Wait another ten minutes, then drain chunks and set aside.

OR

  1. Using a microwave safe bowl, combine veggie chunks and boiling water.
  2. Let sit for 25-30 minutes.
  3. Drain water when finished.

Ramen

In small or medium pot, make some ramen. Everyone has their own way of doing it, so any which way will work.

Combining Ingredients

  1. In a bowl, mix veggie chunks, your desired amount of steamed cabbage, and ramen without broth.
  2. Enjoy!
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