Quick Prep Recipes for the Busy New Yorker

Living in New York City can sometimes feel like being trapped in a cult of productivity. People often tell me that they are so busy they struggle to find the balance between health, self-care, and work. Personally, I find it important to still make space to enjoy food because sitting down with a delicious meal is an element of daily life that contributes to my overall well-being. Despite the negative effects of the entrepreneurial grind, I still strive to be conscious of my dietary choices, generally avoiding fast food or unhealthy “convenient” meals.  “You can’t pour from an empty cup” is a phrase that resonates with me as of late. Compiled are my favorite recipes that are nutritious and efficient in time to prepare.

Raw Egg Shooter (Vegetarian)
Prep time: 2 minutes. Cook time: 0 minutes

1 medium size egg
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon soy sauce
Dash of sriracha hot sauce
Salt, pepper
Scallions to garnish

In a small glass, gently crack egg. Add vinegar, hot sauce, salt, pepper, and scallions. Consume in one gulp.  This recipe is especially helpful if I’m in a rush and need to take a medication. Doctors usually recommend taking pills with food, as consuming them on an empty stomach could lead to discomfort.

Turmeric-Paprika Roasted Cauliflower (Vegan)
Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 20 minutes

1 large head of cauliflower
Approximately 5 tablespoons ground turmeric
Approximately 5 tablespoons paprika
6 tablespoons coconut oil
1 lime
Salt, pepper

Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.  Cut head of cauliflower into evenly sized florets. In a large mixing bowl, coat the florets with turmeric, paprika, and coconut oil.  Toss the florets until they’re evenly coated. Salt to taste. In a roasting pan, evenly distribute the florets. If the pan is overcrowded, the florets will steam instead of roast. The edges of the florets should be nicely browned.  Set timer for 20 minutes. Garnish with salt and pepper and squeeze fresh lime juice into the dish. 

String Bean Salad with Zesty Vinaigrette (Vegan)
Prep time: 20 minutes. Cook time: 2 minutes
Recipe yields 2-3 servings

1 lb string beans
20 cherry tomatoes
1 medium size yellow bell pepper
1 shallot
2-3 garlic cloves
4-5 basil leaves
5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
5 tablespoons olive oil
Optional: 2 tablespoons plain sugar or honey
Salt and pepper 

Bring a large pot of water to boil.  Remove stems from string beans. Blanch beans in boiling water for 2 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, prepare an ice bath. Strain beans and submerge in cold water. This halts the cooking process and enables the string beans to maintain a crunchy but cooked texture.  Slice bell pepper into thin strips, similar in width to the string beans. Halve the cherry tomatoes. Finely dice garlic cloves and shallot. In a large mixing bowl, combine garlic, shallot, olive oil, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Whisk dressing until the vinegar and oil are thoroughly emulsified (the color and consistency should be a pale yellow).  Stack basil leaves and roll tightly from tip to stem. Slice the basil perpendicularly into fine ribbons. Drain the string beans from ice bath and add to bowl with dressing. Add cherry tomatoes, bell peppers, and basil ribbons. Evenly coat vegetables with dressing. Serve in a bowl, garnish with extra basil, salt and pepper. This salad keeps well refrigerated for 5-7 days. 

Traditional Chinese Steamed White Fish (Pescatarian) 
Prep time: 5 minutes. Cook time: 15 minutes

.5 pound filet of white fish (basa, tilapia, catfish)
5 tablespoons Shaoxing Cooking wine
1 medium size ginger root
2-3 cloves of garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon chili sesame oil
2 dashes of white pepper
Scallions and cilantro, to garnish

In a large pot or wok, prepare boiling water. Dice garlic cloves and slice ginger into fine strips.  Place fish filet in a wide dish. Add Shaoxing cooking wine, ginger, garlic, soy sauce, sesame oil, and white pepper. Gently place dish on a steaming rack over boiling water. Cover and set timer for 15 minutes. Garnish with ribboned scallions and cilantro.  Remember to eat fish on the Lunar New Year, a long-standing Chinese tradition!

Olivia Hu

Olivia is an artist and musician living in Brooklyn. She is the co-owner of a bar called Old Timers in Bushwick, where she serves her signature cocktails. Follow her on Instagram: @boozenymph