Search By Chance Bawarchi

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Welcome to the Hotel California ... kinda

Well it ain't such a lovely place, but it's not all that bad either. I'm at a hotel-turned-dorm for the next few months. 2 weeks into my stay, I'm really glad I brought an electric skillet. The room already came equipped with a mini-fridge and microwave.

I also brought along a toaster and Microwave Rice/Pasta Cooker.

Of course I also have a Brita Water Filter with me. After having lived on an island I don't trust tap water unless it's at home.

Some people opt to get a hot plate, but then you also have to cater for various pots. Also, the hot plate is heavier than the electric skillet (and when you're flying, every ounce matters).

I prefer my electric skillet. I can pan fry, sauté, boil, and even bake in the non-stick pan. The temperature settings are a little tricky to get used to, but once you get the hang of it you can make an omelet, fry up some bacon, "grill" a steak or bake a cake (haven't tried that one yet).

There's a 7" option for the electric skillet. It's more convenient for things like boiling eggs or potatoes, frying an egg or making a single-serve lasagna. The heat distribution is a bit more even throughout the pan in the smaller skillet. The edges of the bigger one take longer to heat up to the same temp as the center because the heating mechanism is about 2 inches smaller than the pan itself. However, I prefer my bigger skillet as it makes sautéing and making things like stir fry easier. If I can get my hands on a cheap 7", I'll definitely invest in that as well. (psst - if you travel a lot for work, and have to stay in hotels, get this 7" skillet .. it's a lightweight investment that'll save you from endless take-outs and fast food that's bad for you)

The microwave rice/pasta cooker is great for making rice and pastas of course (and marginally cheaper than the electric rice cooker). It can also be used to steam up veggies in the micro - and with a dash of lemon juice and ground pepper or whatever other seasoning you prefer, steamed veggies are really great. I haven't been too adventurous with my micro rice cooker, beyond its obvious uses. However, I'm sure with a little experimenting and googling you can do much more with it. I know a person who uses her electric cooker to boil eggs and potatoes. Throwing in some veggies, seasoning and even (cooked) meats in either options can lead to some good one-pot meals.

The only other cheap gadget I'd invest in for hotel/dorm/crappy apartment living would be a George Foreman Grill. It'd be great for grilled meat, veggies and even paninis.

The best thing about all these gadgets is that they are useful long after you leave the single life-style. They can be incorporated into your daily family life and make things much easier in the kitchen. The skillet would be handy if I'm ever crazy enough to do so much cooking I need a fifth burner. The two skillets are also good introductory cooking gadgets for young kids with a keen interest in helping mommy (or daddy) in the kitchen. If they scratch it up...well it's given its moneys worth to you a long time back, so don't feel bad.

The micro cooker speeds up some of the cooking process. The Brita filter can continue to be used as a filter or even as a pitcher (sans filter top). The Foreman Grill would definitely be a great way to get a quick and healthy meal together.

I lied. I might also consider a Magic Bullet (cheaper alternative). But I haven't had any experience with it, so I can't verify whether it'd be a worthwhile addition to the kitchen arsenal. If the infomercials are to be believed, it would certainly speed up chopping veggies or making a quick snack/smoothie. Any one got a Magic Bullet they'd like to lend me?

Stick to the Dollar Store or Walmart (can you tell how much I love this store?) for cheap miscellaneous items such as serving spoons, plates, bowls, condiments, etc..

You won't exactly be "livin' it up at the Hotel California", but life will definitely be a lot easier (and palatable) with these inexpensive and worthwhile gadgets.

No comments:

Post a Comment