Learn the ABCs of cooking

    Photo by the author.

    School’s back in session, which means it’s time to crack open those textbooks and trudge back to those dining halls. Even though you’ll be learning a lot in classes, who says you can’t learn the ABCs of cooking for fun? Taking hints from this month’s issue of Gourmet, I figured I’d start you off with a few alphabet-inspired dishes.

    A is for Apple Apricot Crumble

    Forget putting an apple on your professor’s desk — use it in this delicious dessert instead! September means apples galore, so why not take advantage of all of the different varieties available in the market this season? This sweet and satisfying crumble serves double duty as breakfast or dessert.

    What You’ll Need:

    • 9 apples, peeled, cored, and sliced into 12 pieces each
    • ¾ cup apricot jam or preserves
    • 1¼ cup + 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1¼ cup brown sugar
    • 1 stick of butter, melted

    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Place the apricot jam and 1/3 cup of flour in a bowl and mix until well combined.
    3. Place the sliced apples in a disposable half-size aluminum baking tin and pour the jam and flour mixture over the apples, mixing until all of the ingredients are fully incorporated. Make sure that the apple mixture forms one even layer across the baking tin and set aside.
    4. In another bowl, combine the remaining flour and brown sugar.
    5. Pour the butter on top and mix until the ingredients are well combined and the topping has a crumbly texture.
    6. Generously sprinkle the entire crumble mixture evenly on top of the apples.
    7. Place in the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, until the crumble is golden brown and the apple-apricot mixture is bubbling.

    B is for Breakfast Bruschetta

    Just recently, I had brunch at the Stanton Social in New York and was taken with their play on bruschetta. Bruschetta is a quick and easy dinner or fun party food, but never considered a breakfast item. You can vary the toppings according to your taste, but I went with a more traditional tomato and basil approach.

    What You’ll Need:

    • 1 small baguette, sliced into 12 1-inch pieces (reserve any leftover bread for another dish)
    • 1 garlic clove, peeled
    • 6 eggs
    • 6 tablespoons milk
    • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
    • 2 plum tomatoes, each sliced into 6 slices
    • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese

    1. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
    2. Place the bread slices onto a baking sheet and drizzle each piece with olive oil.
    3. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes until the bread is crisp and golden brown but not burned.
    4. While the bread is baking, beat the eggs, milk and basil with a little bit of salt and pepper and scramble in a pan with a bit more olive oil (so the eggs don’t stick) over medium heat for 4-5 minutes. Set aside.
    5. Once the bread is done, remove it from the oven. Taking the garlic clove in your fingers, rub it across the tops of each of the bread slices. Discard any leftover garlic.
    6. Place a slice of tomato on top of the bread and a tablespoon or so of the eggs on top of the tomato. Sprinkle each with Parmesan cheese and dig in!

    C is for: Carrot, Cucumber, Cabbage and Cashew Slaw

    If you, like me, are not a fan of mayonnaise, traditional slaw might not sound appealing. However, vinegar-based slaws can be light and refreshing, as opposed to their old-school creamy counterparts. I typically make slaws with all kinds of vegetables such as spinach, beets and fennel, but I figured I’d really play up the C theme with this one.

    What You’ll Need:

    • ½ head of green cabbage, thinly sliced
    • 2 large carrots, peeled into ribbons
    • 1 cucumber, peeled into ribbons
    • ½ cup roasted cashews, roughly chopped
    • 1/3 cup rice wine vinegar
    • 1/3 cup orange juice
    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
    • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
    • 1.5 teaspoons sesame oil
    • 1 teaspoon ginger, minced
    • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
    • 1 tablespoon green onions, finely chopped

    1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the outer layer off the carrots and discard.
    2. Continue peeling the carrots to form thin ribbons. Repeat the same process with the cucumber.
    3. Place the carrots and cucumber in a bowl with the cabbage and toss to combine.
    4. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, orange juice, soy sauce, sugar, sesame oil, ginger, garlic and green onions. Pour over the vegetables and toss to fully incorporate.
    5. Sprinkle with the cashews and serve! This can be eaten alone or served with meat or fish as a colorful and healthy side!


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