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


  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.

  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?

  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.

  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.