Condo cooking for two | Lifestyle.INQ

OCTOBER 27, 2022

CREAMY Shrimp Crepe
CREAMY Shrimp Crepe
CREAMY Shrimp Crepe
CREAMY Shrimp Crepe

What to do when compact living doesn’t leave any room for cooking? With a few simple strategies, you can keep a cramped kitchen from putting a crimp on good eating.

What’s not to love about condo living? With communities boasting on-site security, luxurious amenities and easy access to shops, restaurants and other entertainment, you can live big in a stylishly small space.

New buildings are rising across the metropolitan skyline as more home-buyers discover the advantages of a compact lifestyle. But even as the number of available condos continues to grow, the units themselves are becoming, well, more compact. The average two-bedroom in a new construction may top out at 80 square meters, compared to 120 sq m for units in older buildings. In order to shrink the space but still offer an attractive living area, something’s got to give, and many developers have decided that something is the kitchen.

And why not? A big draw of condo living is a convenient urban location and many are close to a variety of food outlets, from cafés offering coffee and croissants for on-the-go breakfasts, to trendy new eateries where friends can gather for lively dinners. With so many delicious options and no cleanup required, why bother cooking at home?

For those who want their small kitchen to be more than just a place to reheat restaurant leftovers, check out these tips to maximize a minimal cooking space and turn out simple, satisfying home-cooked meals.

Keep it short and simple. Choose one-dish recipes with short ingredient lists to make cooking and cleanup quick and easy. Toss pasta in the same pot in which the sauce is made or put together a baked casserole for a tasty stove-to-table meal.

Shop small and often. Those buy-one-take-one specials at the supermarket may seem like a bargain, until you run out of space in the refrigerator or cabinets. Instead, buy only as much meat, vegetables and other groceries that you can cook up within a few days. The extra time it takes to shop more often is worth the savings in space and potentially wasted, unused food.

Stock up on flavor. If you can’t resist hoarding some ingredients, then stick to spices, dried herbs and bottled condiments. They’re easy to store and provide great versatility in cooking. With a combination of seasonings, you can turn a mundane piece of chicken into an international meal: Use chili pepper, cumin and oregano for Mexican flavors; mix the oregano with basil and garlic for a Mediterranean essence; or use the cumin with ground cardamom and coriander seed in a fragrant Indian masala.

Select multitasking tools. Equip your kitchen with utensils and gadgets that do more than one job:

Three essential knives are all you need, starting with a heavy-duty 8-inch chef’s or santoku knife for cutting meat, chopping vegetables and even crushing spices. A serrated blade slices cleanly and with equal ease through breads, cooked meats and ripe tomatoes. For peeling and cutting smaller produce, a paring knife is a great little tool. For special cuts such as paper-thin slices and julienne, consider an adjustable mandoline that can be folded for space-saving storage.

Skip the boxed sets of cookware and stick to a few essential pots and pans. With a 10” stainless-steel sauté pan or skillet, you can sear, sauté, stir-fry and deep-fry just about anything; be sure to get one with a lid. A small, nonstick frypan is great for quick dishes like omelettes and pancakes, and doesn’t require using oil or butter. With an enameled cast-iron Dutch oven (also known as a French oven), you can braise meats, make soups and stews, bake a casserole or just boil some pasta. Make room for a cast iron skillet, too—it’s great not only for searing and frying, but also for use as a baking pan for cakes and biscuits.

Electric appliances are indispensable in the kitchen, but they take up a lot of counter space, so choose carefully. Although a microwave oven heats up food quickly, a more versatile option is the toaster oven for reheating, small-batch baking and, of course, toasting. With a hand-held immersion blender (also known as a stick blender), you can quickly emulsify dressings and marinades, blend soups and sauces right in the pot or make individual servings of smoothies. Best of all, this compact yet powerful tool is easier to store than a big old blender.

Condo Cooking for Two:

Creamy Shrimp Crêpes

By Tracey Paska

Flour. Water. Egg. These three basic ingredients are the start of a savory dish that’s simple to make and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner or an elegant weekend brunch. Delicate crêpes are filled with flavorful sautéed shrimps in a creamy wine-and-feta-cheese sauce made with a heart-healthy olive oil roux instead of butter and cream, then topped with a fresh medley of tomatoes and basil.

Basic Crêpes

(Makes 6 six-inch crêpes)


½ c all-purpose flour

Pinch of salt

4 teaspoons canola oil

1 egg

192 ml water (6-2/3 oz)


1. Sift flour and salt into a bowl then add oil, egg and water. Whisk briskly until batter is smooth with no lumps.

2. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour about 1/3 cup of batter, tilting the pan in a circular motion so that the batter spreads out evenly to form a round pancake.

3. No need to flip the crêpe—it is ready when the top feels dry but soft to the touch and the bottom is lightly golden. The cooked crêpe is delicate, so gently slide onto a large plate and repeat with the rest of the batter.

4. Stack cooked crêpes directly on top of each other. When all crêpes are made, cover loosely with a paper towel and cool to room temperature. Crêpes will be more firm and easier to handle when cooled.

Sautéed Shrimp in Wine and Feta Sauce


500g medium shrimps, peeled and de-veined. Cut each shrimp into 3 pieces.

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp olive oil, plus another 2 tbsp

2 tbsp all-purpose flour

2 tsp dried oregano, or 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano

½ c dry white wine, such as a Chardonnay or Riesling

½ c chicken broth

¼ c feta cheese, crumbled plus additional for garnish


1. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add garlic, shrimps and oregano, and cook until the shrimps have turned pink. Transfer from the pan into a bowl or plate and set aside.

2. Turn down the heat to medium and in the same sauté pan add flour and olive oil. Stir well to combine until mixture is smooth. Continue to cook the roux for another 5 to 7 minutes to remove the raw floury taste, making sure to stir constantly to keep it from burning.

3. With a whisk, slowly add white wine and chicken broth, whisking constantly to blend the liquid and the roux. Continue stirring and cooking until the mixture begins to thicken.

4. Add the shrimps and mix to coat, then add the feta cheese. Turn off the heat and allow cheese to melt into the sauce, occasionally stirring to blend it in.

Garnish: Chopped tomatoes, finely diced red onion and fresh basil

To Serve

Place one crêpe on a plate and spoon creamy shrimp down its center. Gently roll the crêpe around the mixture or simply fold the edges over the middle. Top with diced tomatoes, onion and basil, or spoon more of the shrimp sauce and top with crumbled feta.

Reprinted from Cocoon Magazine

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