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The Pleasures of Cooking for One Hardcover – September 29, 2009
"Thug Kitchen 101: Fast as F*ck" by Thug Kitchen
Explore more than 100 easy and accessible recipes to give you a solid start toward a better diet. Learn more
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Make this rich stew on a leisurely weekend. You’ll probably get a good three meals out of it, if you follow some of the suggestions below. When buying stew meat at a supermarket, you don’t always know what you are getting, so ask the butcher. If it’s a lean meat, it will need less time cooking (in fact, it will be ruined if you cook it too long), but the fattier cuts can benefit from at least another half hour. --Judith Jones
- 2 ounces bacon, cut into small pieces, preferably a chunk cut into little dice
- About 1 1/4 pounds beef stew meat, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 tablespoon light olive oil
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 1/3 carrot, thick end, peeled and diced
- 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
- 1 cup red wine
- 1 cup beef broth
- Herb packet of 1/2 bay leaf; a fat garlic clove, smashed; a small handful of parsley stems; 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme; 4 or 5 peppercorns
For Vegetable Garnish
- 3 or 4 baby onions, or four 1-inch pieces of leek
- 3 or 4 baby carrots, or the thin ends of larger ones, peeled
- 2 or 3 small new potatoes
Brown the bacon in a heavy pot, fairly deep but not too large. When it has released its fat and is lightly browned, remove it to a dish, leaving the fat in the pan. Pat the pieces of beef dry with a paper towel. Pour the oil into the pot, and when it is hot, brown half the pieces of beef on all sides. Remove to the plate with the bacon, and brown the remaining pieces. Now sauté the onion and the carrot until they are lightly browned. Return the meats to the pot, sprinkle on the flour and some salt, and pour the wine and beef stock in. Tuck the herb packet into the pot, and bring to a boil; then reduce the heat, cover, and cook at a lively simmer for about 1 hour or more, depending on the cut of the meat. Bite into a piece to determine if it is almost done (it will get another 20 minutes or so of cooking with the vegetables).
When the time is right, add all the vegetables, cover, and cook at a lively simmer again for 20–25 minutes--pierce the veggies to see if they are tender. Serve yourself four or five chunks of meat, with all the vegetables, and a good French bread to mop up the sauce.
Use three or four pieces and some of the remaining sauce to make a quick Beef and Kidney Pie (page 34 of The Pleasures of Cooking for One) later in the week. The recipe follows Veal Kidneys in Mustard Sauce because you want to use the leftover kidneys to put this dish together.
Use what remains to make a meaty pasta sauce for one, breaking up the meat and adding three or four squeezed San Marzano plum tomatoes. Simmer the sauce as the pasta cooks.
(Judith Jones photo © Christopher Hirsheimer)
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Top Customer Reviews
For example, a pork tenderloin becomes a small roast, scallopine, a gratinate, hash, and stir fry. Her examples have encouraged me to improvise myself. I can envisage a BBQ pork sandwich, a pasty with leftover pork tenderloin, skirt steak and potatoes.
She encourages playing with the recipes to create a meal exactly to your own tastes. Several of her recipes also include vegetable substitution recommendations allowing for seasonal meals. Or, if you're like me and can't stand a particular vegetable then you can swap it for something more palatable.
This cookbook creates a solid foundation for enabling a cook's creativity. Highly recommended.
The book reads like a relaxed conversation with an experienced home cook who is generously sharing her expertise. It's not just about cooking, it's about meal planning - how to use the leftovers from one meal to make something completely different and delicious the next night. Intermixed in there are some great traditional recipes that teach classic cooking techniques. Some of these I knew, but some I didn't.
I love that it's not just a bunch of fussy recipes where everything has to be measured exactly. She doesn't have you jamming fresh herbs in a tablespoon. She suggests a splash of this, a pinch of that. She encourages creativity and ingredient substitutions. She's not just giving you recipes to follow, she's teaching you how to think like she does - how to solve the problem of meal planning and cooking for one.
There's another subtle message in this book that's very important: the self-respect implicit in this fundamental form of self-care. This jumped out at me because I help people with emotional eating, and so much of emotional eating comes from lack of self-care, from feeling you don't deserve your own time and energy. She talks about this in the introduction, where she lists the reasons that people don't make nice meals for themselves: "Yes, I like to cook, they say, but I like to cook for OTHERS, to give my friends pleasure. Why would I want to go to all that trouble just for me? My answer is: If you like good food, why not honor yourself enough to make a pleasing meal and relish every mouthful?" I agree!
I highly recommend this book. Even those cooking for more than one will find it useful. What home cook doesn't need ideas for creative ways to use leftovers? This book teaches how to look at home cooking as a process, rather than a series of discrete meals. And it shows you how home cooking can be relaxing and creative rather than a chore.
Author, Normal Eating for Normal Weight