Friday, June 10, 2011

This Week in My Culinary Closet: Don't Cook...

To get to my apartment you climb through five flights of odors. We’ve got the normal New York City apartment smells—the wet dog and frying bacon and Tutti Frutti floor cleaning product that all supers seem to use. In my building, we’ve also got a perma-haze of patchouli from the stoners in 2D and clouds of mildew as the lady in 4A shuts her door on yet another pile of “giveaways” she’s left in the hallway, perhaps a molting shearling coat, a collection of water-stained Converse, or, once, an actual Oscar the Grouch metal trashcan. Once you’ve soldiered through this olfactory gauntlet, Chez Clothed Cook greets you with a 27-inch wide, 27-foot long windowless hallway that traps for days every odor in my kitchen. Recent pungent highlights include cinnamon granola combined with Indian-spiced meatballs and the fart of a friend who thought she was being courteous by taking it in the hallway.

It’s all enough to make me swear off cooking (and flatulent friends) til September. But a girl can’t eat smoothies for every meal. So this week in my culinary closet I offer you a collection of no-cook recipes. If you're willing to turn on a burner, there are lots of great stove-only recipes out there (Google around for skillet lasagna and no-bake cookies), but this list is for the no-cook purist. Think of these recipes as inspiration to beat the heat and repel the smell.

Condiments: Why Buy Jarred?
Freezer Jam
Easy Hummus

Soups: Gazpacho and Cuke
Coffee Gazpacho
Fennel Gazpacho
Peach Gazpacho
Avocado Cucumber Soup
Israeli Cucumber Soup

Entree: Asian Twists on Finger Food
Smoked Salmon Cardamom Spread
Lettuce Wraps with Miso Sambal

Dessert: Homemade Cake, No Hot-Oven Slavery Required
Strawberry Icebox Cake
Chocolate Banana Graham Cracker Icebox Cake

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