Makes One Serving

Because the best culinary adventures happen when no one's watching.

May 21

Look at this salad (part 2)

I don’t know what it is about salads that makes me so smug, but for some reason every time I assemble one, I act like I’ve just crafted a magnificent work of art.

I was feeling sick when I made this particular beauty, so while I was craving a salty and tart tomato and avocado mixture, I threw in some segments I carved out of a big grapefruit, straight out of the fridge. It was cold, soothed my scratchy throat and the sweet and tart juice mingled with the vinegar, olive oil and salt i applied to the whole thing in a delicious way. I felt like the queen of the world.


Hey, poblano. Heyyyy

I love living in Queens, not only because it’s totally awesome, but also because I can buy cactus paddles and dried chilies, but I can’t buy Old El Paso taco seasoning. This I enjoy.

It’s also introduced me to veggies and things I’ve never thought about before — from hominy to tomatillos.

One of my faves is the poblano, a Single Serving star. In a previous post I shared my ugly-but-good mushroom and poblano hash, which takes advantage of the pepper’s subtle heat and satisfying crunch. But stuffing the thing is where it’s at.

Buy just two, and roast them in the oven at 350 for around a half hour, or until they’re softened. Meanwhile, defrost a half cup of that frozen rice you’ve hopefully by now been hoarding in your freezer for just this sort of thing. Then, add what you like! For protein, I love throwing in some beans left over from a pasta fagioli. Or a handful of defrosted edamame. If you had a doggie bag of chicken, you could cut it into chunks. Then, there’s binding: I’m all for a wheel of goat cheese, or some crumbled feta or shredded cheddar. Use fat free sour cream, or even mayo. Get that mixed, shove it into the softened poblano shells, get it back in the oven for another 15 or until the stuff is oozing out, and you are DONE. Like, for the night. Down for the count. Deliciousness.


Cheaters never win (yes they do)

Every so often I find myself near a Whole Foods in Manhattan. And when I do, I grab a bag of frozen brown rice — from their 365 brand — that saves my life. I chunk off a hunk of grain and throw it in a pan for the fastest dinner ever (I get a boil of lentils going first, then mix the two together, then grate in some Parmiggiano because, really? I’m just going to eat lentils and brown rice? What, am I crazy?

Anyway avail yourselves of this rice. It saves a ton of time, lets you grab a perfect Single Serving, and makes you feel good about your eating habits. Until you put it back in the freezer, spot the ice cream sandwiches and it all goes to hell in a handbasket.


I am aware it’s not pretty

But people who say things like “you eat with your eyes first!” have an excess of time on their hands for things like garnishes and decorative food.

Me, I want to eat things that are brown, look delicious and salty and come in a bowl. So I grabbed a package of simple button mushrooms, a six-pack of eggs and, since I was having a wander around my international supermarket, a crunchy poblano pepper.

The mushrooms got a rough chop, the peppers got a slice in my hands (you know you’re lazy when a cutting board seems like too much work) and both got to sit in a slick of olive oil in a hot pan for a while with a hacked-up garlic clove. I say sit because I did not move them until I could smell them, letting the mushrooms brown and release their moisture so they wouldn’t steam.

After ten minutes, I pushed the veggie hash to the side and cracked two eggs into the pan. They got an over-easy flip, and everything was turned out into the bowl. Oh — and a shaking of adobo over the top, plus some grey salt at the end for sodium crunch. Lunch!


May 20

Herb-tastic!

So you know how I hate having to buy fresh herbs. Just yesterday I tossed a Tupperware container of parsley, only half used despite my best efforts (I brushed my friggin’ teeth with the stuff), that had been lovingly washed, dried and wrapped in a paper towel to preserve its freshness.

It’s pet peeve city, USA. But check this out! Gourmet Garden. Tubes of fresh herbs, washed and made into a paste, that sit in the fridge for when you need ‘em. It’s like they heard my plaintive cries. It’s sad, to see a grown woman crying about a $1.99 bunch of parsley. It’s not right. Not right at all. Check it at www.GourmetGarden.com.


Mar 25

Tuna surprise

So I’ve been trying to, when I’m home, use up what’s already in my cabinets rather than make my usual daily and expensive trip to the supermarket. This is not because I’m being frugal. This is because, no joke, I’ve been going out nearly every night and I’m worried I’ll go broke. In the past two weeks I’ve been to more restaurants than a health inspector. And eaten a lot. Last night’s charcuterie platter, at I Tre Merli, is still giving me flashbacks.

I decided I’d do something I hate: use the tuna cans I’ve got. I don’t know why I have them, but they plague me. I remembered this:

http://www.bonappetit.com/blogsandforums/blogs/bafoodist/2009/08/5-things-to-do-with-a-can-of-t.html

which is kind of clev. It’s Bon Appetit’s BA Foodist on what to do with cans of tuna.

And my secret weapon: A small, single serving-ready can of Progresso tuna packed in olive oil (the only way to eat it, IMO). I made it just like Chris Cosentino recommends, minus the parsley (fresh herbs are not single-serving friendly). Success.

I may have to find more to do with these tiny tuna cans. Next up: The food processor. Mwa ha ha.


Mar 15

Polish sausage surprise

I was faced with a dilemma: I knew I had turkey kielbasa in my fridge. I felt so triumphant when I had found it. Then, scared. I knew I’d want mustard, and cabbage. But my old apartment holds on to odors like a grudge. I’d be smelling that cabbage for weeks.

I ran through what I had in the house: toss it with pasta, chop it up and mix it into some brown rice with veggies. Then I realized I had artichokes. Technically, they’re in the cabbage family (and sometimes when my grandma cooks them, she throws the cabbage and artichokes into the same pot, and magic happens). So I sauteed a thinly sliced shallot and added two cloves of garlic. In went half a package of frozen artichoke hearts (the canned ones are a waste of your time).

Then, I pushed the chokes to the side of the pan and let 1/4 of the kielbasa link heat through in the pan (the rest of the sausage went into the freezer. Stay tuned — as it gets warmer, I may make an attempt at cabbage). A dollop of mustard globbed on the side.

The result was delicious: The artichokes were sweet and delicate, the kielbasa was juicy and full of flavor. Next time, maybe I’ll throw some boiled potatoes into the pan to mimic my favorite dish on earth, the kielbasa at Gramercy Tavern in NYC. Good things are in my future.


Put this in your pita and smoke it

I’ve got these gorgeous fluffy whole wheat pitas that I get at my local international supermarket. They’re plusher and softer than the flat ones (and no, I’m not talking about my boobs. Well, I could also…but I digress). I keep them in the fridge so they don’t get moldy (all the moisture in them makes them last like two days on the counter). Then I stick them in the oven — right on the rack — and stuff them full of delicious things. For a few days in a row, I rocked out one thinly sliced cucumber, a quarter of an avocado and a tablespoon of tzaziki in each half.

Then, I did Honeycup honey mustard (go get yourself some, YUM), a slice of turkey in each and the avocado. With it, I sliced a ripe tomato (a winter miracle!) and sprinkled it with smoked salt. Yeah I did.



Feb 28

Oooooh

One of my single-serving pet peeves is that fresh herbs are impossible to buy — two days later, they’re totally wilted (at least, the less-hardy ones are, like basil, mint and dill). But since no one wants to keep eating the same thing night after night, and then there’s that dinner out snuck into the middle of the week, they’re impossible to use up.

But at a supermarket in Philly one day I found single-serving herbs! Just enough in a tiny plastic pack to work in one recipe. Genius! Has anyone seen them near you?


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