Tag Archives: slow food

5 Tips to Make Weeknight Cooking Possible

You wake up early in the morning, shower, eat breakfast and rush to work. After endless meetings in the middle of which you hopefully get some time to grab lunch, you finally finish up work and head home. It’s already past your dinner time and you are starving and tired. Will you make bowls of ramen, order in a pizza or make an Indian curry? This question has become highly relevant again with the advent of the organic and slow food movements. And it’s about time.

As much as I’d like to say that I cook almost every meal I eat, that does not happen. So I get it. Having time to cook Indian food, or anything else, from scratch on weeknights is not a luxury that most of us have. Sometimes, I’m so hungry and tired, I just want FOOD and it almost doesn’t matter how it tastes and whether it is healthy! But over the last couple of years, I’ve adopted some habits that make it easier to cook on weeknights. Here are some tips I’d like to share.

#1. Shop for ingredients for recipes you plan to make. A few years ago, I’d just go to the grocery store and buy whatever caught my eye. Now I go with a grocery list that includes all the ingredients for everything I want to make for the next week. When you have all the ingredients in place, you are more likely to cook.

#2. Prep vegetables while listening to music, news or your favorite podcasts. Wash and cut vegetables and fruits when you have a free moment. That way, when you cook, half the work is already done.

# 3. Have snacks on hand to eat when you get home so you’re not starving. I couldn’t imagine cooking on an empty stomach! Pecans, walnuts and cashews have often prevented me from Top Ramen dinners.

#4. Learn a couple of easy cooking techniques and use them often. Here are links to basic Indian techniques  I find myself using the most often.

https://veenasmarket.wordpress.com/2010/03/09/i-love-vegetables/

http://www.veenasmarket.com/pages/Basic-Curry.html

# 5. It’s OK to use a shortcut now and then. Puree tomatoes in a food processor instead of dicing them for Indian curries. Using canned instead of fresh vegetables, while convenient, can pose health risks due to the presence of Bisphenol-A in the can lining. Frozen vegetables are a better alternative. When cooking Italian, I’ll occasionally substitute dried herbs for fresh. Dried herbs can actually concentrate more flavor than fresh herbs. Just rub the dry parsley or dill using your fingers and palm before adding it to your dish.

What do you do to make it easier to cook from scratch? Why? Have you tried the above tips and found that they didn’t really work for you? Perhaps a couple of the tips made a huge difference. In any case, I’d love to hear your comments on topic!

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{June Newsletter} Four Reasons to Cook Indian food

“Why cook Indian food when you can buy a pre-made curry from Trader Joe’s or get takeout from a restaurant?” Not many people have time to cook anymore so it’s a good question. It’s a question I get asked occasionally. Thankfully, I have an answer, four good reasons to cook from scratch.
#1 Experience something new with family and friends
I recently got back into Moroccan cuisine after my wonderful neighbor lent me her tagine to cook with. While the lamb was simmering away on a rainy day in Seattle and the sweet aroma of spices enveloped the kitchen, I daydreamed of meandering around sun soaked desert dunes on a camel and shopping in a Marrakesh souk for the best Ras El Hanout. My husband and I have attended community kitchen events where people from the neighborhood get together to cook. Everyone picks a group and each group is assigned a recipe and given ingredients. You might be meeting these people for the first time, as we did, but at the end of the evening after you have cooked together and sat at the same table to eat, you share a mysterious bond. So if you haven’t spent time recently with your friends, invite them over and cook something new together and renew those bonds.
#2 It just tastes better
The packaged stuff has been made not with optimum taste in mind but with optimum shelf life in mind. It just doesn’t taste right. Eating out at a restaurant is hopefully better. There are plenty of Indian restaurants nowadays, even in smaller towns. But not all of them are good. Many of the curries taste exactly the same. There is a clear trade-off between convenience and taste.
#3 Knowing what’s in it
If you have gluten or dairy intolerance or allergies, eating out at Indian restaurants can be difficult. Even if you have no allergies, perhaps you are concerned about the amount of oil or the presence of preservatives. Cooking at home gives you full control over what goes into your food. (Our website shows allergy information and a full list of ingredients for each kit if you are wondering…look for this information under the tabs on each kit’s page)
#4 Bragging rights
And lastly, let’s face it, you don’t get any bragging rights for opening a packet and heating up curry or getting take-out!
There are lots of reasons to cook more at home. This is where, at least when it comes to Indian food, I hope that Veena’s Market makes it easier for you to cook from scratch.
Signing off to make Daal for dinner…and as always,
Happy Cooking!

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