My first NYC apartment was an off-campus studio I scored in the housing lottery senior year of college. It had a pink toilet, a radiator that was permanently encircled with paint-chip dandruff and—horror of NYC apartment horrors—it had a kitchenette. A two-burner/sink situation with a mini-fridge underneath, it was the accomplice to many an inelegant “one pot” meals.
I had just pressed the reset button on the few shakey culinary instincts that I had after being diagnosed with Celiac Disease and, to put it mildly, I was on a budget. But, damn, if I wasn’t determined. I lived on 110th street, across the street from a Rite Aid and learned that it was the unlikely home of the cheapest cans of Goya beans in the neighborhood. There was hope and—when I was feeling committed—there were potatoes and garlic.
Can I tell you that I’m actually proud of the year I spent in an apartment without an oven? The intricacies of cooking with little are what stick with me: the beautiful little systems we have to make economy more elegant. Let the one pot meal a triumph, rather than a surrender.
- Millet is a gluten-free grain that has a texture somewhere between quinoa and polenta when cooked. I can’t get enough of it lately! You can get it from Bob’s Red Mill.
- I spiced this with what I had (rosemary and shallots) which made for a pretty classic fall dish, but you could definitely try taking the flavor another way based on what you have. I was thinking harissa and preserved lemons could be awesome! I made another version with some end of season tomatoes and cheddar cheese.