Summertime sometimes means an excess of time.
If you’re looking for something relatively noncommittal to attempt, look no further than the kitchen! Preparing a good dish for yourself and others is a classic way to pass the time. You are building a good — if not the best — skill to have.
Who wants to rely on doordash or take out forever? Hell, I can’t imagine affording that forever.
Learning to cook is good for your wallet, your health and your social life. You don’t pay for the labor, you control what goes into your food and you will impress your friends who have been eating out of a dining hall the last few years.
So here are a few dishes to try this summer:
French Onion Soup
This is my favorite dish. Admittedly, it can be a little too hot for a summertime dish, but I love a nice soup in the evening! Especially when paired with a strong-bodied dry red wine.
The French onion soup is a great dish because of how deep and complex you can choose to make it or not. It’s versatile every step of the way.
You can go as far as preparing your own stock, mixing and matching types of onions, creating a unique combination of spices to flavor the soup while simmering, selecting a different combination of bread and cheeses to broil on top of the soup or even throwing in some cognac or wine into it while cooking.
Or you can keep it to the basics: mono-onions, stock, spices, bread and affordable cheese.
The french onion soup has an infinitely high skill-ceiling, making it a rewarding calorie bomb to cook. There’s a reason it’s known as the cure for hangovers and broken hearts.
Yes, another classical French dish. I mean hey, it’s no wonder that the Michelin Star system is French. They invented fine dining.
Ratatouille originated as a summertime vegetable stew in the southern French town of Nice. It sounds simple — an assortment of cooked vegetables. Needless to say, this dish is also versatile. You can mix and match your veggies.
This dish will also teach you a lot about discipline and presentation, since the thinly sliced veggie assortment can be plated in a variety of different ways with different sauces. It’s perfect for that friend who feels the need to snap every meal! And a well-plated meal simply tastes better.
It’s no wonder that in the movie “Ratatouille,” it is the same dish that impresses that tough French critic. Ratatouille is tasty, overall healthy and an experience to not only eat but also cook.
This one seems out of place here. It’s simply prepared, not cooked. It’s also Italian and not French.
But it is an amazing dish nonetheless.
It’s healthy, refreshing and relatively filling for a salad. I like to add some tofu to it for some protein that still tastes ‘fresh’, but pulled chicken or turkey also works.
Once more, the best thing about this dish is its versatility. You can decide your own ratio of freshness to cheesiness to oiliness.
Add a little more tomato here, some more mozzarella there, maybe try a cayenne-infused olive oil this time. There’s so much you can do with it and unlike the previous two, there is no oven involved. This dish taught me how to taste, which made me a better chef.
Anyway, these are some dishes to try. Challenging, versatile, dynamic and tasty.