Thursday, June 3, 2010

The thing about cooking for one is that you don’t really have choices. Yes, you can decide to make something on Monday rather than Tuesday or vice versa but at the end of the week you have to eat the meals you planned for at the grocery store. The leftovers will continue to stare at you from the refrigerator if you pass them up one night. There is no one else to finish off those things.

When I first lived by myself, I think this is what I struggled with the most. At my parents’ house I never doubt that there will be several options awaiting me in their refrigerator. But there’s also no guarantee that what I passed up the first time will still be around the next time I am looking for a meal or snack.

But now I’ve grown accustomed to a life without choices, so I actually struggled this week on vacation when the refrigerator was literally exploding with options.

Let me explain a little bit about where we vacation. We go to an island on the Atlantic Coast that is only accessible by ferry and once you are on the island, there is one grocery store and one main restaurant. This means the best approach is to grocery shop in advance and transport the food by ferry. You can still get whatever you need at the grocery store on the island, but it’s a little more economical to do the major shopping beforehand. This is what my mom did, and I contributed my produce share for the week. In addition, my mom prepared several dishes in advance, including two types of already cooked chicken (grilled and buffalo-style), a breakfast casserole (which didn’t actually travel as well as planned), and chocolate pies. Needless to say, even at the beginning of the week we had plenty of food.

Over the course of the week, we accumulated more choices as we prepared fresh seafood for a variety of dishes. My mom served as the main chef, but I promised to give the other participants credit. Note that for all of the dishes mentioned, I substituted shrimp when it was not the main seafood.

Shrimp and grits
Mahi-Mahi with risotto
Pasta with seasoned scallops (prepared by my sister)

Shrimp boil (prepared by my brother)
Steak and potatoes (steaks grilled by my dad)
Homemade pizza

These dishes were complemented with my fresh produce as sides. We roasted asparagus, sautéed zucchini and squash, sautéed mustard greens and fried zucchini.  I of course enjoyed the asparagus and liked both ways the zucchini was prepared. However, I was glad that I shared the mustard greens with four other people. We (well, my dad) sautéed them in olive oil with garlic and some bacon, but they were extremely peppery. I ate my serving as did everyone else, but no one asked for seconds. I’m hoping the next time those show up for me, I’ll be able to swap them out!

I also introduced my family to some of my new favorite recipes and proved to myself that it’s not just me who likes them. I made foccacia bread since I had more spring onions, but I still haven’t mastered the yeast thing. I served Pioneer Woman’s pancakes on one of our last mornings with maple syrup. I also successfully popped my popcorn on the stove and might have just converted my family to that approach over microwave bags, but then again, probably not.

They also got to enjoy the Bibb lettuce that I have come to love, and they seemed impressed by the strawberries that I considered a little subpar compared to the ones I had a few weeks ago. But maybe picking them straight from the farm raises my standards a little too high.

Needless to say, we ate very well all week, and I enjoyed a week of making choices about my meals once I got over my initial indecisiveness.

1 comment:

  1. "But maybe picking them straight from the farm raises my standards a little too high." haha! True.