What kind of life do you want to live? What do you want to think of yourself when you’re on your death bed? When you’re at the end of the road we call life with a blown tire and no gas, what do you want to remember? Life moves pretty quickly, and it would be a shame if it were to pass you by with the taste of frozen grocery store pizza in your mouth. Oh, you didn’t think this was a food article? You thought this was going to be an honest-to-goodness reflection on life and its higher meaning?
No, this is a series of recipes and techniques geared for YOU, the lonely hormonal teenager. These recipes are quick, easy, require few ingredients and, most importantly, are downright delicious. Life is a pretty good thing, but a life without deliciousness is a life I want no part of. Life’s too short, so cook.
Game Day: Hushpuppies
There is a time to be healthy. There is a time to have raw kale salad with a tall glass of Ensure for Muscle Health. But I assure you, Sundays, the day where modern-day, super-human warriors bash skulls on perfectly groomed grass, are neither that time nor place. Sundays are the day to relish the finer things in life, like the sounds of hot-bubbling oil on the stove; like friends gathered around the kitchen burning their mouths because they were too excited to wait for the hushpuppies to be done. Mmmm, that’s right. Perfectly golden brown, soft on the inside, crunch on the outside. Serve these bad boys straight from the deep fryer.
1½ quarts peanut oil, for frying
1½ cups self-rising cornmeal
1 cup self-rising flour
½ cup chopped onion (a finer dice is better than a rough one)
1 (4-ounce) can diced jalapeño peppers, drained or 1½ fresh jalepeños diced (seeding them will make them less spicy, but it’s all up to you)
1 (15-ounce) can creamed corn
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
Heat the oil to 350 degrees in a deep fryer or Dutch oven.
In a 1-quart mixing bowl, stir the cornmeal, flour, onion, jalapeño, corn and eggs, until blended. Allow to stand for 5 minutes.
Drop the batter by teaspoonfuls into the hot oil. After each drop, dip the spoon in a little water and the hushpuppies will slide right off. Drop about 3-4 at a time; leave room for the hushpuppies to be turned. Cook the hushpuppies until golden brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on a sheet pan, lined with paper towels, with a wire rack on top. Keep the cooked hushpuppies warm in an oven while cooking the remaining batter (or serve straight from the fryer). Serve with a sweet chili sauce made with a little mayo, chili sauce and sriracha, if desired (just add the ingredients until the mixture is slightly pinkish and the spice is to your liking).
– Recipe modified from Food Network’s Paula Deen and Trisha Yearwood
The Impress Your Significant Other with Chocolate Recipe: Chocolate Pots De Creme
Why has flirting been reduced to such an emasculate art form? What was once laying down your coat to cover the mud is now favoriting her numerous tweets regarding One Direction. I won’t claim to be an expert at casual female interaction, but I do know my way around chocolate. And what is one thing that girls love more than HarryLouisZaynNialandLiam? Chocolate. My fellow teenage boys (and to the girls, guys LOVE chocolate too, but this analogy won’t really hit home with you), I assure you: Learn the art of chocolate and you’ll be the Casanova of your high school in no time.
9 ounces high-quality semisweet chocolate, chopped (or chocolate chips, which won’t need chopping)
1½ cups whole milk
1½ cups heavy cream
6 large egg yolks
5 tablespoons granulated sugar (add an extra tablespoon if using bitter chocolate)
¼ teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
Place the chocolate in a blender, but don’t blend yet. Whisk the milk, 1 cup cream, egg yolks, granulated sugar and salt in a heavy-bottomed medium saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring constantly with a heat-proof spatula, until the mixture is thick enough to coat the spatula and almost boiling, 5 to 6 minutes. (A good test to see if it’s done is to run your finger down the back of the spatula and if the liquid doesn’t just cover the space back up, it’s nearly done.).
Immediately pour the milk mixture over the chocolate in the blender. Cover and hold the lid with a thick kitchen towel; blend until combined and smooth, stopping to scrape the sides of the blender as needed. Divide the chocolate mixture among ramekins or small cups and refrigerate until set, about 2 hours. You might be tempted, as I was, to use mugs, and that’s fine, but if you do they need to refrigerate overnight. Best bet: Use smaller ramekins.
Whip the remaining ½ cup of cream and the confectioners’ sugar with a mixer or in the blender until soft peaks form. Top the chilled pots de creme with whipped cream.
– Modified from Food Network
The Netflix Marathon Dinner: Fettuccine Alfredo
I don’t think there is anything more therapeutic than lying down on your couch, under a blanket, eating a big bowl of comfort food and watching three straight seasons of “Breaking Bad” with the lights out in your basement. Netflix, besides life itself, is the greatest thing to ever happen to planet Earth. And it goes great with Fettuccine Alfredo.
1 pound of pasta cooked al dente in heavily salted water, then drained
1 cup heavy cream
3 tablespoons of butter
∏ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving (and when I say freshly grated, I mean freshly grated)
6 solid twists of freshly grated black pepper, plus more for serving
A pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
Pour ∏ of the cream and all the butter into a pan that will accommodate all the pasta that you have. Melt the butter, then simmer the mixture for about 20 seconds, then kill the heat. After the pasta has been drained, get the pasta into the pan containing the cream and butter mixture and toss gently. Then bring the heat back to a simmer and add the rest of the cream, cheese, black pepper and nutmeg. Toss to combine and warm everything, and serve with extra Parmesan cheese on the table.
– Modified from Marcella Hazan’s “The Classic Italian Cookbook”
Why is There Nothing in the Fridge?!?! Lunch: Stir-Fry
We’ve all been there. We go from fridge, to pantry, to fridge, to pantry, to fridge, to lying down on the floor crying at your lunchless existence. It’s one of the first problems privileged teens face each and every Saturday and Sunday afternoon, and it’s a shame. No longer should we have to settle for ham and cheese. No longer should we settle for a quick run to Moe’s. Instead, make a stir-fry! I know what you’re thinking ... don’t think. Just cook. Trust me. This one’s easy, quick and so much better than fast-food burritos.
Any fresh vegetables, including
onion, carrot, celery, bell pepper,
broccoli and basically anything else lying around
Low-sodium soy sauce
1 cup jasmine or basmati rice
Add the rice and 2 cups of water to a pot and bring to a boil. Immediately cover with foil (if the lid to the pot isn’t tight fitting) and simmer for 12 minutes. Then kill the heat and let it rest with the foil/lid on for 10 minutes.
Then start the veggies. Use a large saucepan (or wok if you’re serving more than just yourself) and add 2 tablespoons peanut oil. Heat until very hot and the oil is glimmering. Then add the veggies, cooking each vegetable individually. Right before they’re done, add about 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and cook down slightly. Cook until tender and fragrant, but not brown. The trick is to keep the pan as well as the veggies moving to avoid browning (and eventually burning) the vegetables.
Sam J. Schatmeyer is a freshman at Williamsville East High School.