Living off-campus is tough.There’s no one telling you what to do. You have plenty of room to throw your stuff everywhere. You can wake up at three in the morning hungry and have a fridge full of food to entertain yourself with. Yeah, I’d say it’s a pretty difficult lifestyle.
But in all seriousness, one of the scariest things about living off-campus is the idea that I can no longer just swipe my card and have food handed to me. Oh no. I’ve got to shop for food. Place it in the appropriate spot (fridge, cabinet, freezer, etc.) and, you know, cook it. These thoughts keep me up at night.
So, this summer, I cringed when I turned on “Julie & Julia,” a Meryl Streep/Amy Adams film about Julia Child’s creating the “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cookbook and a modern Julie Powell, who decides to cook all 524 recipes and blog about it. I cringed even more when I (don’t tell anyone) enjoyed the movie. What became of this? Well, it’s my first time living off-campus, in a real apartment, as a real person. And I never cooked at home for some reason, so I was throwing myself into a whole other dimension, what you may refer to as “The Kitchen.”
After watching the movie, I figured it’d be a great idea to steal the idea. But, like shown in the movie, blogs are tedious and annoying, and I already have two that I don’t keep up. Instead, I’m going to try to turn the idea into a more college-friendly style.
With that being said, I will propose one recipe every issue, with a step-by-step how to perform this task and a “if it’s worth it or not” response. I’m scared, so you should be too. I’m going to call my parents and do some research to find semi-quick and potentially great-tasting recipes for your tongue pleasure. I know I’m not alone in this whole “cooking for the first time” ordeal, so hopefully this will benefit someone.
Please enjoy and try for yourself. If you have any recipes you’d like me to try, e-mail me them and I’ll do my best.
I’m going to start this with a really simple recipe. It’s basically something that every college kid I know makes (probably at least twice a week or so). It’s a pretty filling and fun concoction to make, especially with friends. And it’s with the simplest ingredient ever…pasta.
I like to call it Pasta Party Time. I just made that up right now, but I’ll stick with it.
Okay, here’s what you’ll need (I’m going to put what I used, but you can use any general product basically):
A box of pasta (whatever kind you’d like. I prefer whole wheat, but that’s only because whole wheat prevails over everything. Always.)
A red sauce (I have Barilla Marinara Sauce because it was on sale at Stop ‘n Shop, but it doesn’t really matter. They all taste the same, really.)
A clove or two of garlic, depending on your preference.)
Olive Oil (Extra Virgin)
Spices: Parsley, Basil, Salt, Ground Black Pepper (these are the essentials that should always fill up your spice rack)
Vegetables! I used: Onions, Spinach, Red and Yellow Bell Peppers, Banana Peppers, Mushrooms.
You’ll also need: A pot to boil the pasta in, a skillet for the veggies, a cutting board for the veggies, a skillet and a badass sharp knife. Also, have spatulas for mixing, but if you didn’t know that maybe you should stop reading.
BEFORE YOU START COOKING:
You must first select proper cooking music. This differs from dinner music (like Chet Baker or some light jazz like Django). That’s for relaxing and eating. But no, if you’re cooking, you’ve got to get in the mood. Something like The Pixies or Squirrel Nut Zippers (Haven’t heard of them? You have to check them out!)
Now you’re ready!
Start boiling the water for the pasta. Watch the pot until it boils because whoever said “A watched pot never boils” is lying. It always boils. Heat the skillet on another burner and throw some olive oil on it. Not too much but not too little, you know? Chop up the clove of garlic and sprinkle it around the skillet along with small pieces of the onion. (HINT: While slicing an onion, wear sunglasses, preferably Aviators, to protect your eyes). Grab your spices and trickle them around the skillet. This all really depends on your taste buds so you have to decide for yourself how much you’d like.
Has the water boiled yet? Probably not. Start slicing up all your vegetables. Throw in the mushrooms and some peppers into the skillet and start mixing them around, make sure they get cooked on all sides. Is the water boiled now? Okay! Throw in the pasta. You can start mixing the pasta around a bit, but it’s not really necessary in the beginning of the cooking process. Continue stirring around your veggies and throw in the rest of the peppers. You might need to add some more olive oil, but no worries! Stir the pasta. Stir the veggies. Repeat. Try the pasta; is it how you like it? I like mine al dente, sort of hard, sort of soft. If it’s not quite ready, good! Throw in the spinach into the final mix and continue to stir. After it starts to get shriveley and the onions look a little brown, grab your sauce and pour it into the skillet. Probably pour about a quarter to half of the jar of sauce, depending on how many people you have, how many vegetables, how much pasta and how much you like sauce. Mix everything around together for a few minutes and check your pasta. By now it’s probably finished, so turn the stove off and grab your strainer. Strain the pasta in the sink. By now the veggies and sauce should be ready as well. Turn the stove off (don’t burn your place down).
Grab your bowls or plates, pour the pasta and then the veggies with sauce on top. Switch to your dinner music and grab your drinks. This dish is best served with white wine but if you’re not 21, try some OJ or water.
Hopefully this was easy to follow and you’ll enjoy the meal. If not…uhhhhhh.