Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cooking for one isn't easy

Parmigiano ReggianoImage via Wikipedia

My wife and son are away, meaning I do less food shopping and much less cooking. In fact, with the heat waves we've been having, I may cook a meal once a week, if that, and my meals are a lot less formal.

The other night, I used organic spinach leaves to cover a Napoletana pizza with fresh mozzarella and red sauce from Jerry's Gourmet & More in Englewood ($4.99), added a few cherry tomato halves from the garden, seasoned it and drizzled on extra-virgin olive oil. I popped it into a 375-degree oven for less than a half hour.

The chewy dough crisped up a bit and the spinach softened. Half of the 12-inch pizza, a big salad with cucumber from the garden, wine and seltzer made a fine dinner.

Last week, I boiled a half-pound of rigatoni and in a separate pan, heated up half of a 32-ounce bottle of marinara sauce with added seasonings and red-pepper flakes, plenty of fresh spinach and cherry tomato halves. I was out of anchovies, but would have added them to the sauce.

At the table, I was liberal with grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, poured myself a glass of red wine and used toasted baguette to sop up the remaining sauce. I also ate that with a big salad. The leftovers made a second meal. 

At Costco in Hackensack, I bought a 1.73-pound, skin-on fillet of fresh wild sockeye salmon ($8.99 a pound, product of USA) on Tuesday, cut it into six portions; added fresh lemon juice, salt, Aleppo pepper and chopped parsley and other herbs; and baked it at 375 degrees for about 15 minutes for medium. I gobbled down one portion down without salad or bread, and it was moist, fatty and delicious.

This morning, I made a sandwich on 100% whole grain toast for breakfast: half a portion of baked wild salmon, a slice of smoked wild sockeye, leftover spinach frittata, tomato from the garden, romaine lettuce and Dijon mustard. It was terrific, though too big to fit in my mouth.

The remaining baked wild salmon will be wonderful right out of the fridge with a big salad or on another sandwich, and should last me through the week.

For snacks, I have plenty of Washington State cherries, Jersey blueberries, roasted almonds and low-fat cheese on hand.

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