When I was young, I had one of the infamous Teen Talk Barbies. She and I would have long, imaginary conversations about the sociopolitical unrest in the Middle East, the impending real estate bubble, the stylistic value of cinéma verité…you know, all the usual interests of a ten year old girl. At least, I would talk about those things. Barbie, dear sweet, plastic-headed Barbie, would spout delightfully silly exclamations, like “Wanna have a pizza party?” and “Math class is tough. Let’s go shopping!”
Actually, that’s not true. I never had one of those Barbies and I only know about the infamous Teen Talk version off the doll because it was later parodied in a Simpsons episode where Lisa’s Malibu Stacy doll proclaims, “Math is hard. Let’s go shopping!”
But let’s pretend for the sake of this post that I did have one of those dolls and in that case, alternative-reality me would be reminded of it years later when various friends and readers would flop down in their chairs, sigh, or type frowny-faced emoticons into messages and declare, “Cooking is hard. Let’s eat out.”
Now, I may never teach you to like math–I’m not even going to try; after all, this is “Have Fork, Will Eat” not “Have FOIL, Will Calculate.” I will, however, try to prove to you that not only is cooking not hard but it can also make basic math terribly tasty like these delicious make-ahead recipes that can be added to future meals for a nice boost of flavor and are easy to multiply and divide so you can make as much or as little as you want.
The first is easy caramelized onions. To make it even more entertaining than my already witty prose (right? right?!), I even wrote it up for you in comic form. These onions take a while to cook, that’s true. But they’re very simple to make, they don’t need to be watched constantly and you can cook as many onions as you want. Then they can go in an airtight container in the fridge and be added to other dishes when you want to get some of that sweet, slow-cooked flavor in a hurry. I’ve been adding them to pastas and casseroles and cold salads…anything, really! Download the comic to get the caramelized onion recipe.
The second is slow-roasted tomatoes. This delightful recipe came from the invaluable Smitten Kitchen and do you know how easy it is? Slice tomatoes. Place on foil-lined baking sheet with garlic cloves that you don’t even have to peel. Sprinkle with olive oil and seasoning. Roast at a low temperature for a long time. Put in airtight container to store and add to other yummy meals. Boom. Done. Don’t believe me? Get the slow roasted tomato recipe from the Smitten Kitchen.
There. That’s it. A little bit of very easy prep when you have the time and you’ve got delicious, super-concentrated flavor boosters to add into any random meal you throw together. Mmmm. Delicious math.