Thursday, September 24, 2009

Single Girl Dinners

I have often been met with incredulity that I cook for myself; I mean, actually cook...meals...just for fancy stuffÉÉ No, definately not always fancy stuff, it just seems that way to other singles who cant be troubled beyond a grilled cheese.
Now dont get me wrong, i love grilled cheese as much as the next person (especially with stinky dry gruyere), and actually admire those non-chalant enough to eat a box of triscuits for dinner, or a bowl of cereal because for one, who wants the dishes, and secondly, its just for one.
But for me, cooking dinner is important. Sure there are tired nights when scrambled eggs and toast is more than fulfilling, but most evenings, actually cooking, just for me, is most fulfilling.
Cooking for myself feels as though I am taking care of, well, myself. Like even if I know I am not getting enough sleep, like my home should be a little cleaner, like I forgot to pay Telus again or that Im avoiding the dentist despite not being able to chew cold or acidic things on the left side of my mouth, I am in someway being responsible by having a satisfying, nutritious meal on the table.
In fact, I love the final moments of my day spent at the stove just for me. But again, some nights I am just not in the mood. Not in the mood for washing and chopping veg, for tossing and mixing, for add this and finish with that. Definately not in the mood for more than one pan. Times when even my go-to meals of pasta (a blank canvas taking only nine minutes to transform into a work of art) requires too much attention at the stove. On those nights, I can relate to the PB and J folk out there, or those who would rather jsut order the Number 5 from the local Chinese joint. But I dont combo it. I stick to my guns about taking care of me. And I make Single Girl Salmon.
One pot. Six ingredients. Salad, bread. Happy, well fed, just me.

Single Girl Salmon
I got this idea from Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant, a humorous and inspiring collection or essays about meals spent alone (and sometimes lonely). I read the essay by Amanda Hesser--Single Cuisine--whenever I am feeling unmotivated to cook for (sigh) just me. And then I make her girlfriends recipe for salmon, with a few adjustments of my own, and somehow simplicity wins me over, nothing left to want, and confident that I have taken care of me as easily as I could have done pouring a bowl of cereal. This recipe is per single person.

In a small saucepan, soften a thinly sliced shallot until slightly carmelized. Add in a torn fresh bay leaf. Breathe in the smell. Into the pot goes one-third to one-half cup of french green lentils (you judge your own hunger here); cover with water by half and inch and simmer for twenty minutes. At this point, pour a glass of wine and sit down. Read something, watch tv, paint your toenails...When the timer buzzes, place your salmon fillet atop the lentils and splash over some of whatever wine you may be drinking, plus a squeeze of lemon and some freshly ground salt and pepper. Cover, turn up the heat, and in four to five minutes you get to eat, just enough time to heat some bread and toss together a salad, and pour some more wine.
Enjoy, take care of yourselves.

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