(Almost) No-Cook Dinner

Too @%^@! hot.

I forayed out today to go grocery shopping and almost turned to flee right back inside. With the sun blasting down and our AC on the fritz, I had little motivation to actually do any cooking. I also had a zucchini that needed eating.

Starting from those two axioms, I hit epicurious for suggestions. It came up with the idea of shaved zucchini with pine nuts and Parmesan — both of which I had in the fridge. Score!

I opted to pair that with my summer standby, bruschetta. A run to Brooklyn Fare netted an heirloom tomato and baguette, and off I went.

Bruschetta recipes (chop tomatoes, mix in garlic, basil and sea salt, toss on bread) typically tell you to “peel and seed” tomatoes. How-to guides often suggest boiling the tomatoes to accomplish this, but I’ve never seen the point of doing something neatly when you can instead cover the kitchen with carnage. I flame-roast mine.

This tends to leave the tomatoes looking like survivors of some gruesome radiation experiment gone awry. But it makes them tasty. I squeeze the remains to squish out the seeds.

I had to turn on two other heat sources for this dinner: The toaster to toast the pine nuts and the broiler to crisp the baguette. Anyone determined to avoid heat can skip those steps.

This dinner also let me break out one of my favorite kitchen toys: the mandolin. Like most New Yorkers, I have extremely limited kitchen space, and try to avoid loading up on all but the most essential gizmos. I don’t have a rice cooker or food processor, and I only recently cracked and bought a salad spinner (which makes CSA life SO MUCH EASIER; I now regret not buying years ago).

But I also have utterly crap knife skills, and after a run-in with slicing radishes a few years back that left me bleeding and the radishes even worse off, I cracked and bought a mandolin. Which rocks when you’re trying to slice thin ribbons of zucchini.

With my tomato torched, my zucchini sliced and my chopped basil flung liberally over everything in sight, I cracked open some iced-down wine and declared my no-cook dinner — which only required my toaster, broiler and gas flame — finished. -Stacy Cowley


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