Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Cooking for One: Pots and pans

Cooking for one is not so different than cooking for two, or three, or more--all you need are the right ingredients, and the right equipment.

Because you are preparing single portions, it's important that your cookware is the right size. For example, if you are pan frying a single chop in an 11 inch cast iron skillet, the juices will be too dispersed; a smaller skillet insures the juices and bits don't cook away before you have a chance to make your sauce.

A small saucepan is also essential for everything from boiling an egg to steaming rice (and if your saucepan is heavy duty, it can double as dutch oven for braising a few short ribs or roasting a chicken breast).

In a small, shallow gratin dish, you can easily make savory dishes for one, like, well, gratins! The dish is also perfect for a variety of egg dishes and fruit desserts. I have several Emile Henry gratin dishes and find no end of use for them.

With your favorite ingredients and the right equipment, cooking for one can be a cinch. Tomorrow I'll share some recipes and a plan for cooking that might help keep you out of the prepared and frozen food section!

Next post: One eggplant, two ways


  1. A. - This is a fantastic post and something that is often overlooked. I am a huge fan of small gratin dishes for reasonable portion control when cooking for one or two. They sell really nice ones out there in such cute shapes and you are right, the uses are endless. Plus I like the whole idea of going through the effort to cook a really good meal for one.

  2. While I love pots, pans and all kitchen items, and have way more than I need- wouldn't you end up with too many if you bought the small sizes? I'm assuming you'd want to keep a large pan, stock pot, etc. for hosting gatherings or making batches to freeze.

  3. I don't make ahead and freeze food, but yes, for large gatherings I do have two larger pieces of cookware. But when cooking for one (or two) smaller cookware is essential. As it is, there are only three pieces of cookware I use on a regular basis--a small saucepan, a cast iron skillet and oven.

  4. I'm also a fan of the ramekin when baking. It helps maintain the portions. Or using a bread casserole dish when cooking enchiladas.

    I just came out with a new cookbook for one you might enjoy, "Table for One: Perfectly Portioned Meals for the Single Chef" and have a blog about cooking for one as well. We'll have to swap secrets. :) I'm now a follower.