Mark Bittman asks his readers for frugal food tips - skewed toward cooking with little or no equipment: Saving Money - Bitten - Dining & Wine - New York Times Blog.
Regular readers know to check my frugal food archive here, especially this roundup called Eating Well as The Markets Go to H***. Recipes archived on left side of blog also include many Lebanese frugal favorites.
Why haven't I blogged or commented about risotto and other rice pilaf variations? (because I'm not supposed to be blogging, I'm finishing 1st draft of my novel)
When I lived in a cold-water, heatless Avenue D flat a quarter century ago, I learned to make risotto from a pack of feral Swiss art students. Later I took up with rather more refined Italians who were slumming amongst us bright, broke young things - baronets and contessas who produced less vulgar but no less frugal risotti under stark cooking conditions.
Moving on to Cairo, Egypt, to a moldering apartment with one hotplate and an unreliable fridge, I turned out risotto, braised chicken and/or vegetable stews using whatever we could get in the market. The current Cairo correspondent for the Economist magazine dined at my table more than once back then, when both of us were nobodies and not yet 21.
Every young person needs to know how to make risotto or rice pilaf and braised chicken. If you're no longer young but you want to stay home and eat well on a budget or in a spartan kitchen, add these items to your repertoire. Get the technique down and you won't need to use a written recipe - I never did.
Check out the "simple" kitchen equipment list I compiled back in the Clinton era for a too-long farrago of everything you might possibly need. Then ditch it all for your hot plate, skillet, good knife, stew pot and cutting board. OK maybe you'll want a colander. And a coffee press. And...
I know, I'm not supposed to be blogging, I'm supposed to be writing those missing scenes in Chapter 6! You'll be happy to know that I'm right on target with my schedule and wrote two tiny scenes today, including one in which politics are discussed over ice cream in a Nabatiyeh patisserie, 1974.