Here’s how you win Top Chef.

15 Aug

Full disclosure: this post won’t actually tell you how to win Top Chef. But it might make you feel like a better cook after comparing your culinary skills to mine. Continue at your discretion.

I love to cook and I think I’m pretty good at it, but lately I’ve been copping out. You might have noticed that I’ve been posting less frequently and that the quality of the posts is, um, lacking.

It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that my eyes have been crossed with work since May. Lest you think I’m exaggerating: my OCD self has been tracking my work time in a spreadsheet and I’m putting in 60-80 hrs/wk. And (this is for you, Alan) I’m not even a lawyer! 

Bottom-line: I’ve been compromising on things I normally pride myself on: culinary feats, housekeeping, bill-balancing… grooming.

Before you get all judgmental on my ass: When you start working at 6am and stop at 10pm, it really doesn’t matter if you shower, because the fragrance you’re wearing is Crazy. And your outfit is Porky Pig. (Which means a shirt without pants, in case you missed that lesson.)

[Deep breath.]

Looks like pizza? Tastes like ass.

So back to cooking. I feel like I could write a cookbook for lazy chefs everywhere. Here’s a list of the top three meals I can make in under 15 minutes while hosting a conference call. Consider this my gift to you:

  • Toaster Pizzas! Kind of like the crappy Triscuit Pizza your friend’s mom tried to serve you in the 80’s when microwaves required lab goggles and a lead vest. But infinitely more awesome. Recipe: one English Muffin, pizza sauce, cheese, salami. Pop it in the toaster over and 10 minutes later… amazement!
  • Mexican Fiesta! Go ahead and mock me because it’s processed, but it’s better than appetizers in half the restaurants in this town. (If by “restaurant” you think I mean “bar happy hour spread.”) Recipe: one box Trader Joe’s mini beef tacos, one package Avocado’s Number Guacamole, also from Trader Joe’s. Pop tacos in the toaster oven. Accompany with one scoop of guacamole. Demolish.
  • Bastardized Wiener-Schnitzel! So this might actually qualify as cooking, but it’s shameful because there aren’t any veggies on the plate. Recipe: bread a pork chop with panko and parmesan. Boil spaetzel in a separate pot for 13 minutes while you fry the pork chop in olive oil. Once done, in the same pan: melt butter, white wine, capers, lemon juice, mushrooms and a tablespoon of good mustard. Dump sauce over drained noodles, throw the whole thing on top of the pork chop. Eat two of them and mentally don your lederhausen. Yodle.

Yes, there are more. So many more, I can’t continue listing them without shame. But if you’re curious, I recommend adding the following staples to your grocery list: kielbasa, gruyere, tomatoes, figs, bleu cheese, pesto, toilet paper.

Because it might taste good, but it’s rarely pretty.

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3 Responses to “Here’s how you win Top Chef.”

  1. thesinglecell August 15, 2012 at 7:03 pm #

    If you’ve got guyere and figs in your list of ingredients for 15-minute meals, I’m impressed. I just threw together shrimp scampi over angel hair and thought I was a genius. Also? That totally IS how you win Top Chef, but I’m afraid you would not have won immunity in the quickfire challenge with those Triscuit Pizzas. Sad.

    • pithypants August 16, 2012 at 7:34 am #

      Triscuits are sad. It’s like trying to stuff a square of twigs into you mouth.

  2. Danny August 17, 2012 at 8:07 am #

    Great post and totally understandable — that thing called “work” always gets in the way 🙂

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