Cheap & Easy: A Cookbook for Girls on the Go

Cheap & Easy: A Cookbook for Girls on the Go

5.0 2
by Sandra Bark, Alexis Kanfer, Vin Ganapathy
     
 

A gourmet-inspired cookbook for making meals on the cheap and easy
Girl, meet spatula.

With simple recipes for quick-fix meals and practical tips for stocking your freezer and pantry so that you always have what you need on hand, Cheap & Easy is an inspiration for those who are stymied by their tight kitchens and even tighter budgets.

Overview

A gourmet-inspired cookbook for making meals on the cheap and easy
Girl, meet spatula.

With simple recipes for quick-fix meals and practical tips for stocking your freezer and pantry so that you always have what you need on hand, Cheap & Easy is an inspiration for those who are stymied by their tight kitchens and even tighter budgets.
Sandra Bark and Alexis Kanfer created the dishes in Cheap & Easy as an escape from too much takeout. Their recipes deliver maximum flavor with minimal work and include:

• The Independent Pancake: bakes in the oven so you can hang out with your guests
• Fred and Ginger Pumpkin Soup: perfect for a weeknight
• Lazy Girl's Lasagna: a time-saving version of the classic
• Blenderella: the margarita grows up and goes to the ball
• Smart Cookie: one recipe, many flavors

From comfort food to elegant entrées, from wholesome salads to that first sweet bite, Bark and Kanfer cover breakfast, lunch, and dinner; brunch; cocktails; and brown-bag specials perfect for work and the beach. They include plenty of choices for vegetarians and carnivores alike, with "playing the field" sections so you can vary the recipes.
So delete the Chinese place from speed dial because whether you are preparing for a spur-of-the-moment dinner party, an evening with your sweetie, or a movie night for you and the dog, Cheap & Easy is the only cookbook you will ever need.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Susan Jane Gilman author of Kiss My Tiara Behold. Funny, smart, no-brainer recipes for girls who want to bake their cake and eat it, too.

Michele Scicolone coauthor of the New York Times bestseller The Sopranos Family Cookbook Even girls who just wanna have fun have to eat sometimes! This is the book for them, and for the rest of us who need fresh ideas for quick, wholesome, and tasty food. Packed with clever tricks, practical shortcuts, and multiple variations, Cheap & Easy is a guide to fun in the kitchen.

Publishers Weekly
For women who'd rather speed-dial the restaurant around the corner than open up the fridge, or for those sick of eating leftover moo shu pork for lunch, 20-something Brooklynites Bark and Kanfer offer this snazzy yet simple cookbook. Starting with basics like "freezer feng shui" and a "pantry raid," the authors demystify the kitchen for neophytes and divulge secrets to abbreviating popular dishes like lasagna and meat loaf, while highlighting the essentials that make those dishes so enjoyable. From beverages to salad dressings and soups to sweets, the recipes map out the necessary tools and ingredients with a hip flair. For example, Chiquita Granola mixes old-fashioned oats and cinnamon with coconut and dried pineapple, and Come Hither Couscous doctors up the Mediterranean standard with fresh lemon zest. Abridged versions of heavenly desserts like 30-Minute Apple Crisp and Peanut Butter Ice-Cream Sandwiches are easy enough for even the most novice chefs. The book's best section, "Snacks and the City," offers sample menus like Hangover Helper and Slumber Party. While some dishes may leave readers pondering the sheer necessity of a recipe (e.g., Girl Meets Soy is a four-step process for what's essentially popping marinated tofu in the oven), others share advice on subjects as diverse as poaching chicken and flavoring whipped cream. And though Kanfer and Bark undoubtedly direct their quips and jests toward a female crowd, their book might serve as a counselor to not-so-savvy guys, too. (On sale Apr. 6) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
When Bark and Kanfer-both Brooklynites living in small apartments-realized that they were spending too much of their limited budgets on restaurants and takeout food, they decided to develop a repertoire of quick, simple, and affordable recipes. Aimed at their fellow twentysomethings, this book includes about 60 recipes for breakfast and lunch as well as dinner entr es, sides, and desserts. Although the dishes are indeed cheap and easy, both the recipe titles and the text suffer from an overabundance of labored puns and awkward attempts at humor. This leaves the book with an oddly dated feel rather than the Sex in the City tone that the authors were probably trying for: e.g., Fred and Ginger Pumpkin Soup is described as one "you don't have to dance backward in high heels for. This cancan is the easiest lineup around." Only larger collections should consider. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743250542
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
03/30/2004
Edition description:
Original
Pages:
176
Sales rank:
568,940
Product dimensions:
0.38(w) x 9.21(h) x 6.14(d)

Read an Excerpt

Introduction: Little Miss Hubbard

If you're like us, you enjoy cooking — or want to — but too many recipes seem insurmountable, with ingredients you've never heard of and preparation times that would stress June Cleaver. Sure, we want the gourmet dinner, but there are some major obstacles between us and our three-course meal, like our long day at work, our half-empty refrigerators, and our rumbling stomachs, which will not wait.

We all want the good stuff, and we're all tired of spending half our paychecks at the deli counter or on I'll-just-be-really-cheap-tomorrow dinners. We expect gourmet fare, but we don't have the time to baste and caramelize. We're too nutrition-savvy to subsist on fast food, and we need meals that are quick, simple, and inexpensive. Jello Biafra, front man of the iconic '80s punk band the Dead Kennedys, astutely summed it all up when he said, "Give me convenience, or give me death." We want it fast, and we want it now. And there's no way we're moving in with our mothers.

Lucky for us, cooking for ourselves can be cheaper than going out and as easy as heating up a TV dinner. Homemade meals are a lot better for our bodies than the nuclear yellow powder that comes in commercial mac and cheese — and taste better, too. You may still have a futon, but you don't have to live on ramen noodles. Even if you're a lazy Susan.

When you're your own short-order cook, you're in control of how much oil, butter, and sugar make it onto your plate — and you can relax about the ingredients you don't want in your meals, like animal fats for vegetarians and anything you're allergic to or just dislike. No more snooty maître d's: your living room is the perfect setting for a gathering, and you'll be in charge of the menu, the music, and the potential for mischief. So cancel your reservations, crank up the stereo, and get your home fires burning.

Girl, meet spatula.

The recipes in this cookbook are brought to you by two women who created it out of necessity — we wanted good, fast meals on the cheap and easy. We live about ten blocks from each other in downtown Brooklyn. Alexis's studio is near DeKalb Avenue, which bustles with a restaurant row where you can eat in Paris or Cape Town by just crossing the street. Along Fifth Avenue, where Sandra's apartment is, the street is lined with cafés, and the talk and tables spill out onto the sidewalk. When we became friends, we would visit one or another of the local gems, exploring the areas around our homes and enjoying crisp brunch salads, fruity sangria in the evenings, and dizzying desserts on relaxing Sunday afternoons. But we were digging deep craters in our savings accounts, and we needed other options.

Alexis has worked in hot restaurant kitchens and as a caterer to the rich and cranky. She was once a home chef for caloriephobes who refused to eat anything with added fat but kept a closet full of Ding Dongs and Ho Hos hidden away in the basement. Her Key-to-My-Heart Lime Pie makes grown men swoon, and an invitation to brunch at her apartment is like a backstage pass to food heaven. Sandra has been a vegetarian for more than ten years and cooks with a variety of produce, beans, and whole grains. As a cookbook editor, she learned from cooks with whisks in their left hand and pens in their right about translating from the kitchen to the page, how to tell if wine has gone bad, and how to make the perfect omelet.

We had always cooked for ourselves, but then we started cooking for each other. At Alexis's studio, she'd putter in the kitchen while Sandra sat on a barstool cataloging and asking questions. We went to the market together, and Sandra ogled the purple potatoes and the yellow beets while Alexis swooned over the baguettes. Sandra finally bought a hand blender at Alexis's urging, and she can now make olive tapenade (see Olive You, page 71) in less time than it takes to toast a piece of bread. Alexis learned that a bland block of tofu can be prepared to satisfy the finickiest carnivorous taste buds. We stirred and we tasted and we learned what we each did — and did differently — to get fantastic feasts on the table. These banquets and conversations developed into the recipes you are reading now. Together, our cooking styles reflect a fresh, healthy sensibility — perfect for vegetarians and meat eaters alike — that won't make you sacrifice your day or your budget for a fine plateful.

We make these dishes in our homes (our friends always go for seconds), and they were inspired by the selections we order in restaurants, the ingredients on our local grocer's shelves, and meals we've been treated to in the homes of others. Bloody Murray was inspired by an accidental vacancy in our own cupboards. Mark's Breakfast Burrito was created for a cute fireman who just can't say no to a little salsa on a Saturday morning. This cookbook grew out of our own needs, and our own experiences, which we'll share along the way. And you can learn more at www.cheapandeasycookbook.com.

After gathering our recipes, we called for backup. We turned to our friends, who turned to their friends, and more than fifty women (and a few token guys) offered their time and their kitchens to make sure these were recipes for perfection and not for disaster. Cries of "so refreshing!" and "so easy!" flooded our e-mail inboxes. "My boyfriend does all of the cooking in our apartment, but I had no trouble at all with these recipes," said one tester. Another suggested that we "consider putting a warning on the recipe for Love in a Time of Sangria. 'Warning: Too much sangria may lead to love and/or headaches.'" At ranges and counters from the hood to the hills, from Brooklyn to Berkeley, our test drivers let us know what was right — and wrong — with the recipes.

We went back to the kitchen, where we fixed and we fussed, and Cheap & Easy evolved into the handy little book you're holding. These recipes are delicious, elegant, and user-friendly. The dishes are fun and healthy, the ingredients are easy to find, and the techniques are simple enough for the most uncoordinated chef. We conquered our kitchens, and you, too, will soon be the master of your culinary domain. Because being prepared means never having to say, "Do you deliver?"

Copyright © 2004 by Sandra Bark and Alexis Kanfer

Meet the Author

Sandra Bark is the author of Cheap & Easy: A Cookbook for Girls on the Go and editor of Beautiful as the Moon, Radiant as the Stars: Jewish Women in Yiddish Stories and Writers Workshop in a Box. She lives in Brooklyn.

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Cheap & Easy: A Cookbook for Girls on the Go 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i made the chili recipe from this book (the one that was featured in glamour magazine) and it really was cheap and easy! it's a surprisingly funny book, especially since it's a cookbook. aside from all the fun, it's full of yummy recipes that don't require special kitchen gadgets, and that even i can make in my limited kitchen.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is exactly what it claims to be--cheap and easy. The recipes are simple, hilarious, and yummy! Great for anyone who doesn't have time for Betty Crocker!