Thursday, June 14, 2012

all the single ladies (and men too)


this feature is for all my fellow readers cooking for one, eating stale bread, brown avocados, and lean cuisines. together we will learn more about cooking for one (healthy cooking! natch, we are single--with figures to keep!)

most recipes are not made for one person! the most important advice i can give is to be creative and let go of being perfect. you shouldn't let a missing ingredient or kitchen appliance get in the way of trying a new recipe. don't be afraid to swap ingredients. definitely don't buy things that you don't like or won't finish!  even the greatest chefs do this--it simply is not cost effective to have a ton of different ingredients, or an ingredient that is only used in one dish.

fresh herbs are great, but if you don't use one very often substitute it for the dried form or try a similar spice that you will use more of (the cook's thesaurus, link below, is great for this). if you love pepper jack cheese and the recipe calls for cheddar--try it with pepper jack. if you have a vegetable you need to use, try it in the recipe too or roast it with some spices as a side dish. sure your dish may not be gourmet and you may get a dud or two, but hopefully you will create something brilliant along the way!

below are some links that are fantastic for hacking you way through the kitchen. once you get used to it, its really fun to add your own spin on recipes. do any readers have any tips?

  • cook's thesaurus-  your comprehensive guide to all kitchen substitutions (including equipment, so what if you don't have a sifter). it also has an ingredient of the month feature that teaches how to prepare and use a specific ingredient. great for cooking inspiration!
  • this is another great guide to equipment substitutions
  • better homes and garden's answers how to substitute dried herbs and spices for fresh.
  • there is also this fantastic washington post article about cooking for one.

PS--This advice works best for cooking, but not typically for baking. If you are baking, be very careful and research your food substitutes.  this site has egg substitutes for those moments when you realize you have no eggs in the middle of baking a cake.

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