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Cooking for One


liuzhou
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I think pizza is a fine meal when cooking for one. I always make enough dough for 6 - 8 crusts...they are easily frozen individually, and defrosted overnight in the fridge - well, the possibilities are endless.

I had no mozzarella in the house, so feta was a quick sub for this solo pie (which started out round) I had for lunch...

2013_01_10 Pizza_2.jpg

Mitch Weinstein aka "weinoo"

Tasty Travails - My Blog

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I've been told that cooking for one is more challenging than cooking for 100.

I've been cooking for "one" for as long as memory serves. IMO the trick to it is to have a balance of dried, canned, frozen, preserved etc foodstuffs on hand so that fresh ingredients from the store can be turned quickly into new meals. I also support going daily to the market- though that might not be practical for many. If one passes by the supplies everyday it makes sense for me to buy only what is needed such as a 1/4lb cut of salmon and a broccoli crown that'll go with rice, pasta, potatoes etc from the pantry for example. Or maybe just one pork-chop or six shrimp and a handful of green beans bought that day. No fear about the reaction from the people behind the counter except they always try to over sell. No I don't want 0.35 of a pound of fish when I asked for 0.25! Cut me another but slightly smaller please... I just scale for one to two people as there is no fear of some leftovers which are nice at work the next day.

For stocks and bases I like Minor's and a teaspoon added can make a huge difference and is a real timesaver.

Often I'll cook (smoke) an entire cut such as a 10lb brisket. There is no way it can all be consumed by myself in a short time period. So I slice and divide into single portions in vac-bags. I can pull one of these out, thaw and make a variety of dishes within minutes.

I suspect liuzhou knows all these things already and that is the source of of his frustration at not getting any new tidbits of info. But there's not much anyone can do if another doesn't like freezing portions or eating leftovers or incorporating such into other subsequent dishes. I look at this practice as an extension of "prep". To me this is required and part of the challenge of cooking for a single person if one wants to avoid tossing food in the trash...

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It may be as simple as a small steak and a baked potato or, more often, a salad with marinated veggies and maybe some shrimp. Or an omelet and and a glass of wine.

I, too, occasionally like "a small steak." A filet mignon is the right size, but I very much prefer the flavor of a nice, thick ribeye. So I buy nice, thick ribeyes. And cut them in half and freeze them. Perfect for one.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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I suspect liuzhou knows all these things already and that is the source of of his frustration at not getting any new tidbits of info. But there's not much anyone can do if another doesn't like freezing portions or eating leftovers or incorporating such into other subsequent dishes. I look at this practice as an extension of "prep". To me this is required and part of the challenge of cooking for a single person if one wants to avoid tossing food in the trash...

To me, successful and enjoyable cooking for one is a puzzle. To solve it requires using a wide range of puzzle pieces - tools, methods, ingredients, possibilities. I think it's extremely counterproductive to flatly refuse to use any one of these puzzle pieces. I'm just happy I have access to them all - freezer, microwave, pantry, stovetop, oven, toaster oven, excellent grocery stores, etc. The list goes on.

And I happily and gratefully take full advantage of each.

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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Here's my version of RRO's list (btw, I'm glad you've returned to posting regularly as I've missed you :wub: ). Vegetables and pasta rank high, but that's because of my current eating habits. As an aside, the change didn't happen overnight. It was a gradual transformation. I joke sometimes that "I fell asleep underneath an apple tree and woke up an eater-of-salads instead of an eater-of-doughnuts. :wink:

Sautéed shrimp with chanterelle mushrooms and frisée

Scrambled eggs with lobster roe

Squid, poached in olive oil, with citrus zest, ramps and herbs

Cabbage, with onion and pancetta

Bai qie ji (Chinese white-cut chicken), with Hainanese chicken rice

Ricotta gnocchi, with corn and heirloom tomatoes

Prosciutto, with roasted apricots

Sweet crêpes, with Honeycrisp apple compote and vanilla ice cream

Caramelized onion tart

Shiro plum tart (with a pate sucrée base), creme anglaise

Tortilla de patatas

Stufato di verdure (a Tuscan vegetable stew that consists of vegetables cooked in their own juices, along with various flavorings such as anchovy, chopped olives, olive oil, vinegar, wine and/or herbs)

Mujadara

Pollo alla cacciatora

Penne, with fennel, mint and fried breadcrumbs

Minestra di zucchine e scarola (zucchini and escarole soup, with garlic croutons)

Peas with pancetta

Lentils, with butter and parsley

Whole wheat spaghetti, with Jersey tomatoes, Campari tomato confit and mint

Tagliatelle, with parsnips and pancetta

Oeufs en cocotte

Slow-cooked wild turkey egg, roasted asparagus, fried polenta cakes

Sweet blueberry-lemon soup, with sweetened polenta and ricotta salata

Homemade jiaozi, with Cantonese roast duck, brussels sprouts and serrano pepper

Corn fritters, slow-roasted tomato confit and fromage blanc

Fava bean and heirloom tomato ragoût

Celery, braised with wine, butter and herbs

Radicchio salad, with honey-roasted shallots, Cara Cara oranges and chestnuts

Pan-roasted black sea bass, with buttermilk corn chowder

Arugula and Bordeaux spinach salad, with fried farm egg, and homemade salt-and-vinegar potato chips

Broiled marinated sardines, with greens and heirloom potatoes

Rock shrimp, with Indian spices and heirloom tomatoes

Fagiolini e patate (green beans and potatoes)

Tomato and crispy sourdough bread salad, with Spanish chorizo, almonds and poached farm egg

Some of these are deceptively simple-sounding, but they're all doable and perfect for dinner (or breakfast/lunch) for one.

ETA: A few of them are appetizers, side dishes, salads or first courses, or in some cases, dessert. Just to be clear.

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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  • 4 weeks later...

I just attempted to make chocolate mousse for one. I had a recipe that claimed to make four servings, and used two egg yolks. Two servings was an acceptable compromise to me and trying to whip half an egg yolk with teaspoon of sugar to ribbons was a loosing proposition, so I just cut it in half. I now have about eight times as much chocolate mousse as I wanted to eat, and while it's delicious - I'm annoyed about feeling like I need to either eat too much sweet junk or waste the rest.

In retrospect, I should have taken the mousse base (yolk, sugar, booze) and dumped two thirds or three quarters of it in the trash, then cut the rest of the recipe down accordingly. Better to waste a small amount of inexpensive ingredients than all the good chocolate and cream too.

If you're still interested, I do have a recipe for 2 servings of chocolate mousse. It's here: chocolate mousse for two.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Well, I am late here, but I also cook for one.

Nowadays I'm a vegan and that does simplify the game; I buy a lot of produce and have no problem finishing it all :biggrin:. But I have cooked all sorts of things in the past.

  • Rely on the simplicity of food in its whole state; a tomato, an egg, a carrot, a crottin de Chavignol, a small trout, a bread roll; they are already 'for one'.
  • Shop in produce markets, cheesemongers, fruiterers, bakeries, fishmonngers, dry goods stores, butchers, not in the supermarket; then you can buy your food in whatever quantity you like. You can get a single slice of cheese.
  • Cook on a cycle of ingredients. For example; day 1 - spanakopita (spinach, feta, pastry); day 2 I have leftover pastry; make baklava; I bought honey and pistachios for my baklava, so day 3 I make honey-roast veg; now I have some left-over veg so on day 4 I make soup and top it with the rest of the pistachios, etc.
  • Eat the same ingredient more than once in a row. It's nice to let one ingredient predominate for a few days and experiment with different ways of preparing it. Sometimes I pick a themed section from a cookbook and make several recipes centred on the same food for a few days. Then I have a little cluster of recipes for clams or whatever that I wouldn't have otherwise.
  • Change your sauces; they are very easy to prepare for one, if you're prepared to accept the freezer; you can make a healthy quantity of stock and freeze it in portions, then use it as the base for infinite variations. Then your food can involve the same main ingredient twice in a row but be served in a different way.
  • Use dry goods. If you have a pressure cooker you can buy your chickpeas in whatever quantity is sold and get a handful done quickly whenever you wish.
  • Freeze things before you cook with them if you dislike eating reheated dishes; chicken parts, sausage, blanched vegetables, herbs, milk... many things can simply be divided up for freezing and used as and when.
  • Use cooking equipment suitable for small quantities of food; this will reduce wastage, as there is often an instinct to use more of an ingredient that necessary if large vessels are employed.
  • Reduce recipes by slightly more than indicated; a recipe for four will often contain more than a strict four portions.
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  • 1 year later...

The husband has taken his sister to visit cousins in Germany.  I have been so focused on his schedule and likes that now that I am single for a week I don't have a clue what  I want to cook or eat.

 

Has this happened to anyone else? 

 

I am taking the kitties outside with a few cookbooks and am going to contemplate WHAT  I really want to feed myself the next few days.

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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when hubby is away, I eat...less.

Seriously, I think about the (few) things he turns his nose up at, and have at 'em (Indian food comes to mind). Or, I indulge in something that's really pricey which I can savor in a small qty (ie, I'm OK with one small lobster tail, but if I were making lobster for both of us, it would get really pricey because of his appetite).

"Only dull people are brilliant at breakfast" - Oscar Wilde

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The husband has taken his sister to visit cousins in Germany.  I have been so focused on his schedule and likes that now that I am single for a week I don't have a clue what  I want to cook or eat.

 

Has this happened to anyone else? 

 

I am taking the kitties outside with a few cookbooks and am going to contemplate WHAT  I really want to feed myself the next few days.

 

 

You might get inspired by Munchymom's eGullet blog about eating what she wanted while on her own for a week http://forums.egullet.org/topic/142460-eg-foodblog-munchymom-2012-the-week-i-ate-whatever-i-wanted/

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You might get inspired by Munchymom's eGullet blog about eating what she wanted while on her own for a week http://forums.egullet.org/topic/142460-eg-foodblog-munchymom-2012-the-week-i-ate-whatever-i-wanted/

thanks Heidh.... missed that.  will check it out

Nothing is better than frying in lard.

Nothing.  Do not quote me on this.

 

Linda Ellerbee

Take Big Bites

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  • 2 months later...

Recently received one of these:  http://www.amazon.com/Lekue-Person-Draining-Minute-Cookbook/dp/B00I2UU8WU/ref=sr_1_2?s=home-garden&ie=UTF8&qid=1413315136&sr=1-2&keywords=l%C3%A9ku%C3%A9

 

These silicon steamers have gotten mixed reviews, but I love the thing.  I have been frying and baking fish fillets, chicken breasts, etc., but makes a bit of a mess and often requires several different dishes, pots, pans, etc.

 

So a friend that also lives alone gifted me one of these and, I must say, I love it.  Got two more.  Now, I just pour in a little of this and that (olive oil, wine, lemon oil), put in some sort of protein, then top with a few veggies, close it up and into the microwave for 2-5 minutes.  So easy.  One cooking vessel, and into the dishwasher it goes.

 

I'd really suggest that anyone that cooks for one give it a try.

 

And, by the way, this lemon oil is ambrosial:  http://www.amazon.com/Sabatino-Tartufi-Lemon-Oil/dp/B00EA6G8E2/ref=sr_1_14?s=grocery&ie=UTF8&qid=1413315742&sr=1-14&keywords=lemon+oil+from+italy

  • Like 2

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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The Lekue steam case is intriguing. Can you go into greater detail about the meals? And have you tried the microwave pot (ogya)?

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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I use my TMX Varoma a lot for steaming/one pot cooking. If I am too lazy to even bring that out, I use the microwave .. with a bowl, food covered by wet paper towel or parchment paper - so I am not sure that particular steam case would be ideal for me but this Lekue pasta cooker looks interesting - should save time and having to bring out a colander for microwaved pasta:  http://www.amazon.com/Lekue-0200702N07M017-Pasta-Cooker-Orange/dp/B00BB64R42/ref=pd_rhf_dp_s_cp_5_BP7K?ie=UTF8&refRID=14KYXKQ23B7HG48FRFYF.

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I've had this microwave steamer shown below for more than a decade, I think.  (just hauled it out from the back of a cupboard to take the pictures)  From an "Asian"/Chinese grocery store years ago.  I don't believe I've used it more than a couple times.  If I remember correctly, the stuff I "steamed" got a sort of "pellicle"/"skin" on it - seemingly from the microwaving process before (or even in spite of) the steaming process fully kicked in, even if I started off with boiling water from the kettle in the bottom of the steamer tray.  This "slightly hardened skin" never went away and was just...unpleasant. Thinking about it more I seem to recall that the bottoms of the stuff also just got soggy.  I believe I was steaming dim-sum items - siu mai and stuff - or dumplings like shui kow...and it was simply inferior to doing it properly under wet steam on the stovetop.  Maybe some kinds of stuff are nicely done with this thing (after all, one is also microwaving the stuff, not simply "steaming" it ... and the "steaming" doesn't really start until after the microwaving has gone on for a short while - 20-30 seconds, maybe?) but I just set this aside and returned to the method I describe below.

 

DSCN2893a_600.jpg

DSCN2894a_600.jpg

 

I don't have issues with steaming things - I don't even need to use the bamboo/metal steaming baskets/trays.  I use one of those enameled metal dishes I've shown in many of my posts on the lunch & dinner threads, plop whatever I am steaming into it (that includes those siu mai & shui kow; as well as any "raw" stuff like fish, shrimp - with the marinade and/or whatnot, often done right in the dish), prop the dish on top of a tuna can with both ends removed** sitting in one of my deep skillets/pans with water bubbling in it, cover it, and I get my stuff steamed.  The metal dish comes out and is also the "serving dish" itself, perhaps rested on another plate; the tuna can goes back into the drawer, the skillet/pan gets swished out under the tap, maybe with a quick rub with a soapy sponge plus rinse and...that's it.

 

** I've used this same tuna can ring for years and years.  It sits in a corner of a drawer.  :-)  :-D

 

 

Just before posting I thought about the "retriever" for those enameled metal plates I talked about above, which have a curled/tightly-scrolled rim.  This is what I use, a common implement in some Chinese kitchens.  :-)  I've had this for, I dunno, 20++ years?

 

DSCN2898a_600.jpg

Edited by huiray (log)
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Okay all ye practical, economy-minded, realistic types. You don't get it. For three weeks I am living with the understudy for queen of the gadgets on this forum (Andie is the reigning queen). I have a Thermomix, more than one microwave steamer and quite a collection of parchment products. Any of them would serve very well in place of the Lekue gadget. But that is not the point. THE POINT IS ANOTHER TOY. I make no apologies for my attitude. I would love the space and the bank account for an outdoor brick oven. It ain't never going to happen. But if I watch my pennies one of these gadgets is within reach. It may only amuse me for a week or two but that is good value for my pennies. So there. If I succeed in making one or two tasty meals for myself using it I shall be well pleased and consider that a bonus.

So I would still like to hear some more from Jaymes.

But I am not ungrateful for the suggestions from both Deryn and huiray.

  • Like 3

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Anna, believe me ... I 'get it', about 'gadgets' - large and small, inexpensive and otherwise. :smile:

 

My comments were selfishly about me and a new 'gadget' for me, not you! You and Jaymes got me looking at items I had not seen before - and as a result, I found one that might intrigue me. Thank you both. I do hope Jaymes will give you more details as you requested. Sorry .. wasn't trying to interfere with that.

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Anna, believe me ... I 'get it', about 'gadgets' - large and small, inexpensive and otherwise. :smile:

 

My comments were selfishly about me and a new 'gadget' for me, not you! You and Jaymes got me looking at items I had not seen before - and as a result, I found one that might intrigue me. Thank you both. I do hope Jaymes will give you more details as you requested. Sorry .. wasn't trying to interfere with that.

Anna, believe me ... I 'get it', about 'gadgets' - large and small, inexpensive and otherwise. :smile:

 

My comments were selfishly about me and a new 'gadget' for me, not you! You and Jaymes got me looking at items I had not seen before - and as a result, I found one that might intrigue me. Thank you both. I do hope Jaymes will give you more details as you requested. Sorry .. wasn't trying to interfere with that.

Absolutely no apology needed. I come here to have fun and I too followed the link to the pasta maker and added it to my wish list!
  • Like 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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OK OK... :-)  Yes, yes I "got it".  :-D

I just knew you would. But I would give up many of my toys for an opportunity to eat your lunches.

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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Anna_N,  let's do lunch some day. :-)  Thanks.   (Who knows when that may be, though)

That would be something. But you would have to do the cooking and I would like it to be one of your amazing noodle bowls with vegetables so green I feel healthy just looking at the photographs! But back to the topic. Still hoping Jaymes will pop back in and share some more details of the meals that she has cooked in this gadget.

  • Like 1

Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Cooking is about doing the best with what you have . . . and succeeding." John Thorne

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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That would be something. But you would have to do the cooking and I would like it to be one of your amazing noodle bowls with vegetables so green I feel healthy just looking at the photographs! But back to the topic. Still hoping Jaymes will pop back in and share some more details of the meals that she has cooked in this gadget.

 

Wasn't procrastinating - just now got time.

 

Let me start with a quick bit about motivation. I know how to steam stuff other ways. I lived in Hong Kong in the late 60's, early 70's.  Had several bamboo steamers and used them frequently.  Got my first microwave in 1973 - an Amana Radar Range. Steamed lots of stuff in that. Have always had at least one of those collapsible metal steamers. Used them all the time. 

 

Who knows what compels somebody to cook or not cook.  I can only tell you that, after many many decades of cooking for a large family, and doing way more than my share of competitive entertaining, I've kind of had it.  I do still cook quite a bit - nanny for my daughter and her husband and their four children and, often, make them dinner before going home.  I could stay and eat with them, or drag home a bit of what I've cooked, but I just don't want to.

 

I want to go home to my little bachelorette condo at the "Active Seniors Resort Retirement Complex" and eat a simple meal and call it a day.

 

So, I'm not saying that my Lekue silicone steamer is any more wonderful than any other sort of steamer but I will say that it works splendidly for me.  It's just so easy.  Put in this and that, close the flaps, into the microwave, zap for about 2-4 minutes, let it and me rest a few minutes more, open, eat, into dishwasher, done.  It's so easy and so compelling, for whatever reason, that I look forward to using it.  It's not a chore.  And the friend that first introduced these steamers to me said she feels the same way.  She's a recent widow and had basically stopped cooking entirely, just eating cereal at night, or picking up the occasional takeout.

 

If you google "lekue recipes," you'll pull up a great many suggestions, but my favorite use is for fish fillets.  I buy bags of individually-frozen cod, halibut, flounder, filets.  Yesterday, I was in my local supermarket, and noticed they had just gotten in some fresh wild-caught salmon, so I bought a small steak, dusted it with lemon pepper. Into the steamer went some olive oil and a splash of wine. Then the salmon steak.  Then some sliced yellow squash.  Closed it up - into the microwave for two minutes, and it turned into a wonderful dinner.  That's pretty typical, but sometimes I add a twig of rosemary, or some capers, or lemon slices, or garlic, onions, etc., whatever.  I do the same thing with portabella mushrooms, or zucchini for a vegetarian dinner. Chicken breasts get some Italian seasoning, sliced tomatoes.  Steam 2 minutes. Open, add mozzarella cheese, seal back up, wait. 

 

My Lekue steamer came with a recipe book, which did offer some great ideas but, basically, anybody that has done any cooking whatsoever, can figure out what to put into their steamer.  Here's a typical recipe:

 

http://www.lekueusa.com/recipe/Salmon-with-Lemon-and-Dill-recipe-rid24.html

 

I don't have any of the other Lekue cooking vessels.  Just haven't felt the need.

  • Like 1

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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