Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cooking for One: 1 eggplant, 2 ways

When buyng fruits and vegetables for one. it makes sense to look for the smallest produce available. Most fresh fruits and vegetable are not uniform in size; even grapes on the same vine vary in color, size, and ripeness.

Consider the eggplant. Eggplants are not uniform in shape or size, and it's just as easy to find a small one as it is a large one. On Saturday I bought an eggplant at the farmers market, along with a tiny zucchini and several tomatoes. About the size of my open hand, the eggplant was perfect for one.

At home, I cut the eggplant in half; with the first half I prepared a gratin d’aubergines, adapted from Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume II. I sliced the eggplant and layered it in my gratin dish with tomato and fresh mozarella to create a single serving eggplant gratin.

I cubed the second half of the eggplant, and along with the zucchini, another tomato, and an onion from my pantry, I slowly roasted them to create a classic Provençal ratatouille, also adapted from Julia Child's cookbook. Coupled with a protein, or atop couscous or rice, this fragrant stew is a perfect weeknight meal.

As you can see, with the right pantry staples and a little planning, one eggplant = two meals. But it doesn't have to be eggplant. It can be a bunch of asparagus, a small squash, or petit cauliflower. The idea is to think of your vegetables as more than one meal.

So, think of your favorite vegetable; what are two ways you can prepare it to create two delicious and distinctly different meals for one?

Next post: Chatting with the butcher

4 comments:

  1. Being single as well I too love the one veggie two (and sometimes three) ways...Monday night I made a hamburger and used half a zucchini cut into sticks and made zucchini fries. Last night I used the rest of the zucchini along with some leftover mushroom stem and made a zucchini/mushroom gratin. There is no limit to home many wonderful things you can go with fruits and vegetables.

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  2. EC, you are the best at creating menus for one; I've borrowed many of your recipes. In fact, how do you make zucchini fries?

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  3. We got some mini veggies at the farmer's market too. I'm too picky to eat most of them but I just loved their size.

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  4. The zucchini fries are really easy...for 1/2 a zucchini I use about 2 tbsp of flour mixed with a pinch of paprika, a pinch of chili powder (optional but I like spicy fries), a pinch of salt and a twist or two of cracked pepper. Dredge the "fries" in the flour to coat and shallow fry in hot canola oil until browned and crisp.

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