Welcome, readers, to a new-for-2011 weekly feature of the F Newsmagazine blog: Waste Not, Eat Lots! This will be your place to see what I, Eric Baskauskas, have been eating. I fancy myself a creative person — I wouldn’t really be here at SAIC if I didn’t — and I’ve long found one of my most rewarding creative outlets to be meal preparation. To get specific, it’s most satisfying when I’ve got very little left in the house by way of edibles, and yet I still manage to throw together something delicious. Sometimes, this necessitates extreme innovation, examples of which I plan to share with you here every Saturday until I graduate in May. (Hopefully by then I’m rich and/or famous and can start eating ocean-fresh sushi and mail-order pizzas every day.) Along with mouth-watering photography, I’ll be including general directions (I hesitate to call them “recipes”) detailing how you can replicate the magic you see on your screen in your own kitchen. Shall we begin?
Volumes I & II: Pot Unlucky & Pot Unlucky Tacos
This week, as a special kick-off treat, Waste Not, Eat Lots features two recipes for the price of one!
The best part of cooking, to me, is the chance to express my creativity in new ways. Just as an artist may keep a modest palette and produce richly varied and beautiful works with only his favorite few colors, I figure it makes the most sense to restrict grocery store purchases to the things I find delicious. Then, when I’m at home, I know I will always have something delicious to eat. Taking it one step further, I generally believe that if you like two things separately, there’s a good chance mixing them together will yield thrilling results. Last week, I hosted a potluck dinner at my house. My contribution was a casserole that I called “Pot Unlucky,” and it showcased this belief of mine in its most extreme incarnation yet:
3 boxes of Kraft macaroni & cheese
2 cans of black beans, washed
1 onion, diced and sauteed in butter
half a bag of frozen corn
Tapatio (hot sauce)
pepperoni, sliced and diced
broccoli, chopped and diced
grated Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs on top
I just made the mac and cheese according to the box’s directions (make sure you triple the milk and butter to match the three boxes of pasta and three pouches of powdered cheese!), then mixed everything in a big bowl and poured it in to a 13″x9″ casserole. I topped it with the Parmesan and bread crumbs and baked the dish for about 45 minutes at 375 degrees. It was surprisingly (to everyone else) delectable, a great mixture of sweet (corn, onions), savory/spicy (Tapatio, pepperoni), and strange (black beans and broccoli). Texturally it was quite satisfying as well, chewy and crunchy and everything in between. I forgot to take photos, sorry.
Only a couple of square inches were leftover in the dish, not nearly enough for a meal the next day. Lucky for me there was plenty of other stuff from everyone else, so I heated up a frying pan and fried up the rest of the casserole with some fantastic Filipino chicken adobo (thanks Mike) and served it on a couple of tortillas with green chile salsa (thanks Brent) and goat cheese (thanks Akemi). To a casual observer, yes, I was eating macaroni and cheese tacos. But to anyone who appreciates recycling and appropriation, I was eating a work of art. Magnifico!
The best part is, undoubtedly, the fact that I ate this stuff for breakfast.
See you next week. Until then, keep eating!