Cooking for One

Hi Folks! Sorry for the radio silence last week--I was in Rochester with Aaron, getting him all settled in there for the school year. I did, though, have a piece published on the Cognitive Neuroscience Society's blog last week. It's all about language learning, and reviews some current research attempting to answer why some people learn languages more quickly than others. Check it out here!

Anyway, now that I'm back, the real challenge begins: eating through the entire CSA by myself! Talk about first world problems, I know. That being said, food waste is a real issue, and it’s one that many people who are trying to be more environmentally friendly and locally sustainable by getting a CSA struggle with. So, I thought I’d share my plan of attack, in the hope that it can help some of you!

1) Work out more: Working out--> Hungry (and healthy!) Angela-->EATING ALL THE THINGS
 

2) Meal (and Time!) Plan:
Once I get my CSA, it's straight to the internet to pick the recipes that can most efficiently go through all my veggies. I find theKitchn's and Food52's recipe search functions easy to use, and they also let you specify multiple ingredients for maximal efficiency. 

Then, it's straight to my planner so that I can figure out when exactly I will make all those things. I've been using the Week Dominator recently, and it's pretty fun! 

 
3) Preserve: 
I'm not a big canning person, but the oven and the freezer are definitely my friends. Didn't manage to use last week's celery? Into the freezer it goes, to be repurposed into vegetable stock the next time I need some. Not sure what to do with 3 of the 7 tomatoes I got this week? Into a low oven they go with some olive oil, salt and pepper, and in a few hours I have beautiful slow-roasted tomatoes that can be stored in the fridge for far longer than their fresh counterparts.

Another really important thing that I've learned is the importance of storing your food properly. For example, I probably wouldn't have had to relegate that celery to stock if I had used this tip from theKitchn about storing it in foil. I also try to remember to store my herbs in glasses of water.. they last so much longer!

 
4) Share: When I found out this week that my department was having a potluck picnic, I was super pleased because it meant a) I had an excuse to do something a little fancier and b) I had an outlet for all the beautiful peaches I got this week!

I ate these with a fried egg the first day, but after trying them with some hot Italian sausage, I found that I really liked how the fennel flavor in the sausage complemented the sweetness of the corn and the purple basil. Normally Italian sausage isn't my favor, but I highly recommend it in this preparation.

I ate these with a fried egg the first day, but after trying them with some hot Italian sausage, I found that I really liked how the fennel flavor in the sausage complemented the sweetness of the corn and the purple basil. Normally Italian sausage isn't my favor, but I highly recommend it in this preparation.

Unfortunately, I can't count on a department picnic every week, so for me the most important point of the four is #2, meal planning. I don't know about you, but I hate coming home after a long day and having to scramble last minute to figure out something to eat. It's tiring! This is where cooking for one can be kind of nice, because you end up with a lot of leftovers, and nothing is easier on a weekday night than leftovers. And when your leftovers are corncakes with a tomato salad, there's no joy lost there (contrary to what TheOnion would like you to think). I actually pick most of my recipes with the leftovers in mind--I'll only make things that don't reheat well if it's for a party or special occasion. Because of that I don't make a lot of meat+starch+vegetable style meals--the meat always ends up drying out. 

The other great thing about cooking for one and having so many leftovers is that it gives you time. I almost never eat the same thing two weeks in a row, because not cooking every night gives me the time to sit down and look up new recipes each week, or return to particular favorites when I feel the urge (I very nearly made Ottolenghi's fresh corn polenta with eggplant and tomato sauce, which I made last summer and LOVED, rather than the corn cakes). Plus, cooking is so much more fun when you are cooking because you are excited about the meal you are creating, rather than just trying to throw something together before your stomach rumbles itself straight out of your abdomen!

I hope these tips have been helpful, and please let me know if you have any suggestions for cooking through all these veggies. I could use all the help I can get!

Happy Eating!

Angela