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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Thursday, July 25

Gapers Block

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Most recipes in cookbooks can be elaborate, or at least seem elaborate. Most recipes cater to two, or four or six or eight. Where are the recipes for one? Just for one person, not two (yeah, shove the fact that I have no partner) nor six (or friends) -- just you. These recipes I speak of are quick, cheap and made out of common items put together effectively. No fancy schmancy herbs and spices from that gourmet store you can't quite afford. These recipes are dead simple, dead cheap, dead tasty and almost dead stupid. But that's the brilliance of stupidity. Poor, starving college students/artists/unemployed people take note: There are alternatives to ramen.


This Beautiful Mess
2 eggs
1/3 brick of cheese or 3 slices of cheese singles or a good handful of shredded cheese (your choice)
Half a can of baked beans
Salt, pepper and, if you're feeling fancy, oregano or parsley.

Butter, oil or spray a pan with your choice of non-stick cooking medium. Crack your eggs in a bowl and whisk them together with a fork until they're blended. Toss the mixture into the pan with some flair and scramble. If you do not know how to scramble, just remember, "Shake it like a Polaroid picture" -- in other words, pull the edges of the egg mixture in from the edge of the pan and let less-done stuff get behind it to cook.

Once the eggs are close to done, throw in the baked beans. Get them nice and hot and mixed in with the eggs. Add the cheese to the mixture. Stir in the melting cheese until it's all blended together. Just to blatantly annoy your next-door neighbors, make like Emeril and punctuate each dash of salt, pepper, oregano or parsley with a "BAM!" You are done. The best part about this recipe is you can add less or more of each ingredient depending on what you like most -- eggs, cheese or baked beans.


Asian Egg Salad Sandwich
2 eggs
2 T. of mayonnaise
Seaweed flakes or seaweed
A dash of teriyaki sauce
Pepper and sugar to taste

Boil some water. Once water has reached boiling, add the eggs. Don't drop them in or they might crack on the bottom and white stuff will leak and float strand-like in the water, leaving you with a particularly nasty image that should not be associated with food. After exactly 10 minutes (synchronize your watches!) remove eggs from water. They should now be hard-boiled. Let them cool, then crack and peel the shell off. Place in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of mayonnaise. With a fork, mash your eggs in with the mayonnaise. Add a dash of teriyaki. Mix. Throw in about a teaspoon of the seaweed flakes, or if you're using the sheets, cut a small piece off and slice finely until you have tiny strips of seaweed. Use about a teaspoon. Add a dash of pepper. Add half a teaspoon of sugar. Spread over bread and shout "BAM!" again. Your neighbors will love you for this. We swear.

Dirty Pretty Pizzas
2 pitas or 2 flatbreads
Tomato sauce or pasta sauce
Your cheese of preference
Extras: taco meat, fake meat, vegetables, leftover General Tso's Chicken, etc.

Get your oven heated to 400 degrees. You can use a toaster oven too. Take your pitas and slap them about with some red sauce -- as much or as little as you like. Remember, you're only cooking for yourself, so go crazy! Slap some extras of your choice on top of that. And then slap some more with your cheese. Bang it in the oven for a few minutes until your cheese is nice and melted (alternately you could do this in a microwave and then throw the pitas on top of a toaster to get them crisp) and you're set. Dead simple. Say a "BAM!" to celebrate!


Fidel's Last Resort
One fillet of fresh salmon
1 cup of wild rice
Trader Joe's Cuban Mojito Sauce (or something similar)
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley to garnish

This is a bit of a cheater recipe but you end up making something that looks dead fancy for dead cheap and tastes amazing. While this serves one, this can also quickly serve two (for impressing that person in your life or your imaginary friend) or more. This also requires you to stop in at Trader Joe's. The upside to this is that all the ingredients can be procured there as well.

Cook the rice first. I happen to have a rice cooker so it does it for me, or you can do it the other way. When it's getting close to being done or done (leaving it till done allows the rice to breathe a little and not burn your tongue), lightly coat a pan with oil and heat it up over a medium flame. Sprinkle your salmon with salt and pepper. Once the oil starts to shimmer (but not smoke) add the salmon skin side up (Cinnamon knows her stuff). Allow the fish to cook for 3 minutes and then flip over and cook for another 3 minutes. Turn the heat off. Flip the fish and, using a fork, work at one corner to peel that skin off. Since the pan is still hot, you can flip it back over to sear the now-exposed side. Add the sauce slowly, 4-6 tablespoons is a good amount though feel free to add as much or as little. It's not an overpowering sauce so too much is not a big deal. Wait for the sauce to warm up, then prepare to plate.

To finish, take your rice and place it dead center on a plate. Make it all pretty and circular. Stray grains of rice will not be tolerated. Add your salmon lovingly over the top like all those cooks on the Food Network do. Take a spoonful of sauce and drizzle over or around the perimeter of your plate (See? You get to play gourmet chef!). You should know by now what to do with that parsley: that's right, a big gut-wrenching "BAM!" with emphatic throwing gesture on the fish. Be careful not to be too emphatic or you may find your fist in the fish.


Stay Puft Marshmallow Treats
A package of marshmallows
Chocolate chunks or chips
Marmalade, peanut butter, jam, jelly, preserves
2 tablespoons of milk (you can substitute soy milk or water)

In a bowl, heat up three tablespoons of chocolate chunks or chips in a microwave for 1 minute on high. Remove, add the milk and then heat again for 15-20 seconds. Remove and stir the mix with a chopstick, fork or spoon (the chopstick is easiest and will be used again later). Keep heating the mixture until the chocolate and milk are well-blended and smooth.

Take your marshmallows and, using the chopstick, skewer them in the center from the top. Dip or coat them in marmalade, jam, jelly or peanut butter and then dip and coat them in the chocolate. Lay them to rest and cool on waxed paper or aluminum foil. If you allow them to cool at room temperature, the chocolate becomes more chunky and hard; if you chill them in the fridge, they will take on a smooth consistency and be slightly more moist. Either or is a good time.

You guessed it, "BAM!"

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miss ellen / March 2, 2004 10:38 AM

that breakfast sounds yummy! i love baked beans, never thought about them with eggs, though.


Audrey / March 2, 2004 9:17 PM

Three thoughts popped into my head while reading this:
1. We need to find you a girl...who can cook.
2. Soy cheese can be an excellent substitute for the dairy-sensitive out there.
3. You can buy mojito sauce! Where have I been??

The recipes look really good - I'm particularly intrigued by the Asian egg salad. I've been stuck in a stiry-fry mode for awhile, so this will inspire me.


Naz / March 3, 2004 12:17 PM

1) Agreed.
2) Agreed as well though soy cheese tends to melt slowly if at all (depending on which kind). I get pretty good results with rice cheese. It also tastes better.
3) Indeed!

miss ellen / March 3, 2004 2:16 PM

Naz, I suggest checking out Follow Your Heart Vegan Cheese; per a friend, "the 'cheeses' melt really nicely!"


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