Most people complain that it’s hard to cook for one. Well, over the years I’ve gotten that one down pat. I can quickly whip up something that’s perfect for my mood at the moment, often with plenty of leftovers to eat for another meal.
For the past week, though, I’ve been cooking for two. I’ve also been cooking in a kitchen that’s not my own.
At first, this frightened me. The idea of taking someone else’s food preferences into account seemed daunting. I cringed at the thought of having to make do in a less-than-perfectly-appointed kitchen. (Specifically, the kitchen wares I’ve been using include one frying pan, one sauce pan, a paring knife, and a spatula). Could I still make rice without my trusty rice cooker?! Would I still be able to chop vegetables without my santoku knife!?What if I needed more than two pans at once!?
At least there’s always take-out.
BUT I’m happy to report back that I have prevailed. Well, mostly. The first night I mis-estimated the amount of food we’d need and we were both a little hungry at the end. (In fact, my boyfriend supplemented his dinner with leftover homemade Pad Thai).
Aside from that misadventure, everything was okay. I just had to be creative. I managed not to burn my brown rice, despite the fact that the saucepan top had steam vents. I discovered that sauted mushrooms + a lot of white wine + some vegetable broth all cooked down for a while resulted in a delicious mushroom ragout that was perfect over coconut rice. I figured out that a saucepan can also be used as a mixing bowl for pancake batter. And a frying pan can be used to steam asparagus.
A lot of my clients find healthy cooking and eating daunting because it’s complicated. But it’s really not — and this week has forced me to re-prove it to myself. Healthy cooking is simple. It’s easy. A typical dinner for me is It’s a whole grain and lots of veggies and some sort of protein–usually all mixed (if not cooked) together.
But you do have to be brave enough to try. And to accept that you’ll probably make a few mistakes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve burned rice, even though I always follow the same procedure. But that’s okay — it’s all part of the fun.
For all of you cooks out there, what are some simple shortcuts or tips you have for the newbies among us?