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A Year of Cooking for One

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Of the year’s blockbuster hits, the movie Julie and Julia was perhaps one of our guiltiest pleasures. Hollywood aside, 2009 will be remembered as the year that cooking for one became a hot topic. It helps when a culinary legend like Judith Jones, formerly Julia Child’s editor, tackles such a topic. But Ms. Jones was neither the first nor only one to write for solos. In fact, her book The Pleasures of Cooking for One succeeded two others of the same ilk. The Pleasure is All Mine: Selfish for Modern Life by Suzanne Pirret and What We Eat When We’re Alone by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin are more stories than cook books, but they include wonderful single-serving recipes as well as tips and anecdotes about dining alone.  

Throughout the year, SingleEdition.com also develops single-serving recipes for our readers. Here are three recipes from courtesy chef, media personality and food publicist Karine Backhoum, which are perfect for winter. We hope you take the time to try them out!

Endive, Grape and Walnut Salad with Crumbled Gorgonzola Cheese
Endive salad is a great choice for individuals who are cooking for one as you can purchase one or two stalks, which is enough for one meal. They are best purchased fresh and crisp. I like to mix them with apples or grapes for added sweetness, and walnuts or pecans are a wonderful accent for texture and added health benefits. Depending on your mood, you can serve with crumbled blue cheese, gorgonzola, feta, goat or just about any cheese you like. These days, all of these cheeses come in small containers and are already crumbled for easy use and storage when cooking for one.

Ingredients:
One or two Belgium endives
6 to 8 red grapes cut in half lengthwise
¼ cup walnuts – halved
1 tbs crumbled Gorgonzola, shaved Parmesan or cheese of your choice
Kosher salt – to taste
Freshly ground black pepper – to taste
1 tbs Balsamic vinegar – or to taste
2 tbs extra virgin olive oil

Method:
Remove any damaged or bruised endive leaves from their outer stalks and discard. Remove 4 to 6 more stalks and line a glass bowl with stalks. Slice the remaining endive in ½ inch circles and place in mixing bowl. Add grapes, walnuts and cheese. Season with salt and pepper, and drizzle Balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil.

To Serve:
Toss ingredients together then add to serving bowl with endive stalks. You can eat right out of the bowl. Bon Appétit.

Filet Mignon au Poivre with Sautéed Spinach and Baked Fingerling Potatoes
When cooking for one person it is best to either cook something you can then re-serve for another meal, freeze or, as in the case of this recipe, buy by the piece. Most gourmet markets or butchers and fish mongers will sell one piece of steak or one chicken breast, and it is usually fresher than at the grocery store which does not normally sell things by the piece.

If you are cooking for one, treat yourself to a great steak dinner with a wonderful bottle of Bordeaux wine, some great music, a Netflix movie or a new episode of 24 and enjoy yourself and this marvelous meal.

Ingredients:
1 4-to-6 oz filet mignon steak
¼ cup cream
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs Cognac
Kosher salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste
1 tsp unsalted butter

Potatoes
4 to 6 fingerling potatoes (or any small potatoes)
1 tbs Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Kosher salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste
1 tbs herbs de Provence or mixed Italian herbs

Spinach
2 cups of spinach leaves
2 garlic cloves
1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt to taste
Cracked black pepper to taste

Method:
Potatoes
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and dry potatoes. Toss potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs until they are well covered. Place in small roasting pan and cook for 20 minutes or until knife penetrates through potato easily. While the potatoes are roasting, season the filet mignon with salt and pepper (and add any herbs of your choice such as thyme or rosemary). Let sit at room temperature until potatoes have cooked at least 10 to 15 minutes and are almost ready.

Spinach
While potatoes are roasting, wash and dry baby spinach leaves. Add olive oil to medium heated sauté pan with garlic cloves. Toss in spinach and cover pan. Reduce heat and wait until spinach is wilted. Season with salt and a squeeze of fresh lemon and stir. Cover and leave on very low heat.

Filet Mignon
Place cast iron pan, or heavy sauté pan, over medium to high heat. When fully heated, add small amount of unsalted butter (1/2 tsp) and place seasoned filet mignon in pan. Cook for about 3 minutes for rare, 5 for medium rare and longer for well done. Turn over and cook an additional 3 to 4 minutes for rare (depending on how thick the meat). A perfect way to check is by touching the meat with your finger. If it is very soft, it’s rare, if it is soft it’s medium rare and firm is medium to well done.

Remove steak from pan and let rest for a minute or two. While resting, put another ½ tsp of butter in the pan and add the mustard. Let cook for 30 seconds, add cognac. Let cook for 30 more seconds or until the alcohol is cooked out. Add cream and season with salt and pepper. Stir until a rich golden color over low heat.

To Serve:
Remove potatoes from the oven. Let sit. Place steak with spinach and roasted fingerling potatoes on a plate. Pour cognac cream sauce over the steak. Bon Appétit.

Baked Apple with Cognac
While you are baking your potatoes or roasting anything in your oven, you might as well take advantage of the use of energy and make the most of it. A baked apple is a delicious and healthy dessert and very easy to make if you are cooking for one. It’s the ideal treat for the solo diner.

Ingredients:

1 medium to large golden delicious or Gala apple
1 tsp sweet butter
2 tbs brown sugar
¼ tsp cinnamon (optional)
¼ tsp ground cloves (optional)
1 tbs cognac
1 scoop French Vanilla ice cream – if you like your apple à la mode

Method:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In a small baking dish, place your cored apple with butter, sugar and seasoning sprinkled inside and around the apple. Cook for 20 minutes. Add cognac and cook another 10 to 15 minutes or until the apple is thoroughly cooked. Let sit before eating.

To Serve:
Serve as is in a bowl or martini glass. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or candied walnut ice cream or flavour of your choice.

Enjoy the meal! 

 

SingleEdition.com is a lifestyle destination where singles get advice, discounts and connect with other singles, and share their inspiring personal success stories. To read more articles about the single lifestyle, click here!
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