Cooking For One
I know, I know: this isn't the sort of content you'd expect on the blog of a relative newlywed... but there's a lot about my life that you might not expect! Believe me when I say that there's no trouble in paradise, buuuuuuut I'm usually dining alone.
Over the past few months, Christopher has been leading an almost entirely vegan lifestyle. Between our entirely opposite work/sleeping/everything schedules and the fact that he eats mostly plant-based, meal-prepped food out of a lunchbox these days, it means that when I cook, it's usually just for little ol' me.
It's not something I mind — I'm happy that C has found a diet he's passionate about and benefits his health, plus I enjoy the freedom of cooking purely for my own tastes. However, anybody who's ever cooked for one knows that there are special challenges that accompany small-batch cooking. As somebody who grew accustomed to the ease of slow-cooking a gallon of chicken orzo soup or making large batches turkey chili in our dutch oven before my partner embraced a more limited diet, I've certainly felt the pains of cooking for one!
Another interesting development in our kitchen has been an Imperfect Produce subscription. In an effort to cut grocery costs, reduce our household footprint, and challenge ourselves to broaden our culinary horizons, we've been receiving weekly deliveries of fresh produce deemed aesthetically unfit for store shelves. For about $14 a week, we get an entire box of fruits and veggies that might have a blemish or a unique shape, but are otherwise perfectly tasty. (You can check it out for yourself here! It's a super cool service that helps reduce food waste, which is absolutely staggering in the US.)
As a newly solo home chef, having a fun, curated selection of perishable ingredients to work with has been a great way of staying accountable. It's easy to get home after work and think "it would be so much easier to just pop that Trader Joe's meal in the microwave," but when there are potatoes, onions, tomatoes, and herbs to use before they go bad, it's motivation.
I have a few go-to weeknight suppers these days: chili, small-catch ceviche, or loaded miso soup. On weekends, when Christopher sleeps in to prepare for his nighttime shift, I like to experiment a little bit with brunch options. (Read: I mix myself a spicy Bloody Mary, turn on an audiobook, and play around in the kitchen while trying not to make enough noise that he wakes up.)
One of my favorite discoveries has been solo breakfast hash: a simple mix of potatoes, spices, peppers, onions, sharp cheddar, and a fresh egg all baked in a single ramekin. If I’m being honest, I typically prepare two for myself — purely because they’re so tasty. Does that defeat the purpose of a “solo” recipe? Probably.
If you’re interested in an easy, waste-free breakfast for one, I hope this one hits the spot. Happy solo cooking!
Solo Breakfast Hash
1 small potato, rinsed and diced. (I prefer Yukon Gold potatoes for this recipe, but other types certainly work!)
1/2 tsp. vegetable oil
1/8 cup chopped red onion
1/8 cup chopped bell pepper
1 clove minced garlic
Small pinch crushed red pepper
Salt and pepper, to taste.
1 large egg
1/8 cup sharp white cheddar cheese, shredded
Chopped green onion, to taste.
Preheat oven to 425º. While it warms, lightly spritz single ramekin dish with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl, combine potato, oil, pepper, onion, garlic, and spices. Lightly toss to coat evenly, then add to ramekin dish. Bake for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove ramekin from oven. Crack egg over hash mixture, sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper, then top with shredded cheese. Return to oven and bake for another 5 minutes (until egg white appears solid but yolk is still soft).
Remove from oven and top with chopped green onion. Dig in immediately!