Our dearest Swifty has graduated from UCCS, and now that The Scribe’s number one food columnist is attending the finest clown college in the country, we’re left to pick up the pieces.
Food is our fuel and a pillar of culture. It’s important, which is why we’ve decided to continue writing about it, despite the departure of our expert. For the foreseeable future, the column will rotate between Scribe employees, where we’ll write about whatever culinary-related topic of our choosing.
We aren’t experienced chefs; that’s what Swifty was for. The culinary chaos series will be our best efforts, but if you think you can do better…please send an email to [email protected] and let us know you want to write about food.
For our first edition, I’ll introduce you to three of my favorite dishes that don’t require a ton of effort. I love cooking these things because they offer the comfort and heartiness of a home-cooked meal without dedicating time I don’t have, and they save me a lot of money by not eating out even if I’m feeling lazy.
Quick eats #1: Shredded egg breakfast, adapted from Sarah Brown’s recipe (@sezzy.brown on Instagram)
This recipe is pretty much a breakfast egg-salad. Brown’s genius idea to shred the eggs with a cheese grater offers a change of texture to the typically diced egg salad. I typically use three boiled eggs to make the mixture and save what doesn’t go on my toast to eat later.
Brown suggests making a sandwich with a fresh bagel, but bagels in Colorado can be a real let-down due to altitude, and your sandwich often gets squeezed out in the process. I’ve found that an open-faced toast version on a high-quality sourdough allows for your meal to stay together with the similarly satisfying texture of chewy bread.
Salt + pepper
Sharp white cheddar cheese
Toast a slice of sourdough bread (artisan is better for surface area and texture). Into the same bowl, add one tablespoon of melted butter. Then, add dill, salt, pepper and mayonnaise to taste. I recommend using kewpie mayo (which you can find at most Asian markets).
After your bread has toasted, top with two slices of sharp white cheddar, several slices of bacon and as many scoops of your egg salad mixture as you’d like.
Quick eats #2: Wonton soup
I always try to keep a bag of frozen gyoza in the house. They make an easy lunch or quick snack, but lately I’ve been experimenting with making a wonton soup. It feels a little more filling and fulfills the part of my brain that requires me to partake in the ritual of having a sit-down meal.
I love Asian food and keep a few things in my pantry that are “staples” to me, but they’re not necessarily on hand for everyone. Play around with your own version and see how it could be improved, but I would say the only hard requirements are soy sauce, green onion and sesame oil.
Chicken bone broth
Thinly sliced green onion
Ginger (paste or powder)
Add your bone broth to the stove, just enough for whatever bowl you’ll eat your soup from. Into the broth, add a small pinch of bouillon and ginger (I like a lot of ginger, but I encourage you to add less than you think you want initially). If you have fish sauce and white pepper, add to taste.
Let the broth warm while you cook your gyoza according to the package. If your package has two sets of instructions, use the ones to steam them, not pan fry. Once your gyoza is cooked, add to your bowl. Pour broth over, and top with a drizzle of sesame oil and a handful of your sliced green onion.
Quick eats #3: Cacio e pepe
This recipe doesn’t seem like much, but it’s a great comfort on nights when I want something a little rich quickly. I’m not totally sure if Italians will approve of my methods, but this tastes great and usually takes me less than 20 minutes.
I try to pair this with some steamed broccoli or other veggies on the side to round out the meal. I use angel hair pasta because I prefer the texture, and it gets ready faster in my experience, but almost any will work.
Angel hair pasta
Pecorino cheese (best to grate your own)
Salt your water generously and bring to a boil. Cook pasta according to directions. While pasta is boiling, crack two whole eggs in a bowl and add pecorino. Measure cheese with your heart; your mixture shouldn’t be runny.
Grind fresh pepper into mixture, also to taste. After the pasta has cooked, strain and don’t rinse. Allow pasta to retain a small amount of pasta water (meaning don’t strain until everything has dripped off, just quickly pour into strainer and back into pot.)
Once pasta is back in the pot, add your egg mixture into the pasta and stir until pasta is coated and the consistency of eggs has obviously changed.
I hope these recipes will make you feel proud of yourself for making dinner and save you a few bucks. I’m not the chef Swifty was, so if you think you can do better…apply to The Scribe as our cooking columnist!
Graphic by Neako Hallisey.