The Art of Throwing Stuff Together When Cooking

Photographed by Brittany Bennett

For the non-cook who wants to cook

Around a marble table in an Italian cooking class, our chef shoves two extra tablespoons of butter off her knife and into the saucepan. Her eyes pan us, her students, for reactions and then she shrugs as if to say, “What the hell.” It’s insinuated that when making gorgonzola sauce for a table of more than 10, a little dollop more of fat can’t hurt.

An hour and no clean plates later, her detour from the age-old Italian recipe was not apparent. Over more sauces with a little bit of zucchini and a lot a bit of tomato thrown in, it seemed that the art of cooking in this kitchen was really the art of throwing shit together. Which anyone, even the lazy home chef suddenly inspired after binge-watching viral food tutorials, can do. At least to start.

Don’t fear burnt toast. Fear the Seamless statement on your credit card bill. Turn on the oven, crack a cookbook, and wrap into an apron. We believe the entrance to cooking starts with creativity and knowledge of technique and flavor. Making an Asian stir-fry? You’ll probably want garlic, ginger, sesame seeds, and soy sauce around. If you’ve seen a movie where someone is preparing sauce, you know the consensus: It needs a little more salt. Salt is a flavor enhancer. Keep it within arm's reach of pots and pans. If you have a ton of ingredients laying around, combine them, and see what happens.

It’s also okay to venture from the path the recipe paved. Pick up techniques and pairings as inspiration and whip up a little something-something of your own. Math and ratios are significant in cooking (especially when baking), but experimentation can be education. So get your hands on some ingredients, see what happens, correct mistakes with recipe research, and move on. It is then that you’ll start to experience the joy of cooking.

Begin with something simple like sauce. Gather whatever produce calls to you. Whatever you want to slather over pasta or bake eggs into. Once you’ve successfully filled your stomach with your own creation and your friends have asked for seconds, you’ll start seeing your kitchen as more of a lab than a room.

Follow your gut and get cooking. Below is a recipe that can start your journey.

Basic Tomato Sauce Egg Bake

About a tablespoon of olive oil
Half of a large onion, diced
A few pinches of smoked paprika
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
A bunch of tomatoes, quartered and peeled
Salt and pepper
6-8 eggs
Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Pour the olive oil into a deep saucepan over medium-high heat. Add diced onions and stir until they begin to become translucent. Stir in the paprika until onions are coated. Note: If you have other vegetables, like carrots or peppers, looking lonely in your vegetable bowl, you can toss them in and cook until tender.

Add minced garlic and stir with a wooden spoon until fragrant, about 1 minute.

Dump a heap of tomatoes into the pot. Rain salt and pepper over them and stir together. Reduce heat to medium and let it simmer. The tomatoes will break down and release juices. The longer they simmer, the thicker the sauce will get. Check for flavor. Add more salt and pepper. Stir and cover to let thicken, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Spread sauce in a baking dish. Crack eggs into the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, or until eggs are set.

Freshly grate parmesan cheese over eggs, slice, and enjoy!

Photo courtesy of Balenciaga / Photo via @McDonaldsSverige Instagram

I'm cackling

Last year, Balenciaga released bright red square-toed mules which bore a striking resemblance to McDonald's french fry cartons. Now, the chain has fired back at the designer, threatening to release its own version of the shoes.

McDonald's Sweden posted a photo to its Instagram of a person wearing actual McDonald's fry cartons as shoes, and honestly, if there weren't yellow M's printed onto them, I'd have a hard time distinguishing them from the Balenciagas from a distance. Though the post doesn't directly reference the Balenciaga shoes, one can only assume that's who they are trolling.

McDonald's version actually makes for some pretty fly slip-ons, if you ask me. Good thing the Swedish branch of Mickey D's seems to be considering releasing the shoes if the post receives enough attention. The caption of the Instagram post translates to, "If we get 103042 likes we release these for real," though it only has about 17,000 as of publish time. These would likely cost much less than the Balenciaga shoes, which cost $545.

Internet, do your thing. I want a pair.



Photo by Gareth Cattermole / Getty Images.

It marks her third duet with Nas

Here are some words that I never expected to read or hear again: There is a new song with Amy Winehouse. But here we are in 2019, and Salaam Remi has granted me a wish. On Valentine's Day, the Grammy-nominated producer and frequent Winehouse collaborator (also responsible for hits like Miguel's "Come Through & Chill") released "Find My Love" which features rapper Nas and that powerful and haunting voice that I have come to love and cherish so dearly.

Representatives for Remi said that the Winehouse vocals were from an old jam session the two had. Remi was a producer on both of Winehouse's albums, Frank and Back to Black. "Find My Love" marks the third time Winehouse and Nas have done duets under the direction of Remi. They were previously heard together on "Like Smoke," a single from her 2011 posthumous album Amy Winehouse Lioness: Hidden Treasures, and "Cherry Wine" from Nas' 2012 album Life Is Good. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning on July 23, 2011, before they could complete production on her third album. My heart is still broken about it as she is by far my favorite artist.

"Find My Love" is set to appear on Remi's Do It for the Culture 2, a collection of songs curated by him. Check it out, below.