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 it 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-serve recipes as well as tips and anecdotes about dining alone.
Here are two great recipes from each of those books. We hope you will take the time to try them out!
What We Eat When We’re Alone by Deborah Madison and Patrick McFarlin
Roast Bone-In, Skin On Chicken Breasts with Herb Butter
Both the bone and the skin add flavor, and the skin provides a nifty little pocket in which you can tuck herbs, spices, and flavorings of all sorts. If you can only find a split breast, use that. Roast some diced summer or winter vegetables at the same time; have them with the chicken.
1 Whole bone-in chicken breast, about 1 ½ pounds
1 ½ tablespoons butter, at room temperature
Salt and pepper
Grated zest of lemon
2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary or sage
1 garlic clove minced
1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Pat the chicken dry, then gently loosen the skin with your hands.
2. Mix the butter with ¼ teaspoon salt, pepper, lemon zest, rosemary or sage, and garlic. Spread it under the skin and over the meat.
3. Season the whole breast well with salt and freshly ground pepper, then set breast, skin side up, on a foil-lined sheet pan or in a baking dish. Roast for 35 minutes, or until the meat thermometer registers 160 degrees at the thickest part of the breast. Take it out of the oven, let stand for 5 minutes, then carve off as much as you wish to eat. Wrap and refrigerate the rest for you next dish.
The Pleasure is All Mine by Suzanne Pirret
Best Mac N’ Cheese
Cook a cup of elbow macaroni in boiling salted water with a little oil added. Meanwhile, in another saucepan, make a béchamel sauce: melt a tablespoon of butter, whisk in a tablespoon of flour, and cook until bubbly. Add a cup of cold milk and continue whisking until thickened. Season with salt, white pepper, a pinch of hot chili powder, and some chopped fresh thyme or flat leaf parsley (or just a simple grating of fresh nutmeg). Stir in a cup of grated cheese, such as a combo of white and yellow Cheddar, or some parmigiano and/or Emmental –whatever your favorites may be. You have a lot of choices.
Drain the pasta and toss into your béchamel. Spoon into a small casserole dish, sprinkle with toasted fresh or panko breadcrumbs, place on baking sheet and stick in 400°F (200 °C)oven until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes or so.
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