Chat Leftovers Make Good Lunch
A bunch of questions from yesterday's What's Cooking chat was left remaining at the bottom of the pot, begging for attention. Below, a few to whet your appetite for leftovers.
Silver Spring, Md.:
I have two different friends who recently had babies, and I'd like to bring them a dish they can eat now or freeze and have later. It's not really lasagna weather, so I'm a little stumped. I'm looking for something without red meat or (lots of) mushrooms.
Upon reading this question, I immediately wondered, "How would the Fonzes respond?" Aka Sarah and Alfonso, the Fonzes are our former neighbors who became parents for the first time in February. True warriors though they are, they were grateful for any crumbs I sent their way during the first few months, when baby Aaron woke up at all hours of the night (We know first hand; the walls are that thin!). The idea of dinner at 7 faded fast, and culinary donations from friends such as yourself are coveted.
So you've got an audience that is sleep deprived but also hankering for something tasty. The less work required to get food into the mouth, the better. I wouldn't recommend a dish that needs assembling. Reheat or pull out of the fridge and eat is about as much as these poor souls can take on. I agree, it's not quite lasagna weather, but comfy and cozy should still be part of the equation. I might whip up a quick batch or two of hummus, which lends itself to sandwiches and the 'snack plate,' a perennial of Mister Mighty Appetite. This time of year, there's nothing more refreshing than a quick cup of gazpacho, which will keep in the fridge for about five days.
As you can see, I'm choosing meatless items for their longevity in the fridge. Look at the many ways you can whip up lentils and the little time it would take to make your pals a bowl of Asian-style seat-of-your-pants cold noodles. If meat is on your friends' wish list, I'd do a whole roasted chicken, that they can pick on throughout the week.
Finally, don't forget dessert. New parents need rewards and love, too. Consider a homey blueberry buckle or
equally cozy fruit cobbler, and right now, you've got peaches, cherries and blackberries to chose from. Yowza. Ah, yes. If you really love your friends, fix them a batch of granola because for new parents, breakfast is the most important meal of the day and somewhere in the 3 a.m. haze, it gets kicked to the curb.
Falls Church, Va.: Hi Kim, are there any cookbooks geared toward singles? Almost all the recipes in most cookbooks are for serving four people or more.
My question back to you is: Does this mean you don't like leftovers? A little extra in the pot means lunch the next day or dinner deja vu. If it's a time management issue or finding ways on making leftovers interesting, you may want to consider "Cooking for the Week" by Diane Morgan, Kathleen Taggart and Dan Taggart. But back to your original query. Yes, indeed, there are cookbooks for singles. My vote goes to "Solo Suppers" by Joyce Goldstein and "Cooking for Two: 120 Recipes for Every Day and Those Special Nights" by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough because you never know when you might want company. I've used Goldstein's other titles focusing on parts of the Mediterranean and Weinstein's ice cream and candy books, so I think you'd be in good hands.
While sleuthing around online, I came across two more titles that intrigue: "Vegan Cooking For One" by Leah Leneman and "Serves One: Simple Meals to Savor When You're on Your Own" by Toni Lydecker. I'm particularly interested in checking out the vegan title, as a vegan diet lends itself to solo venturing, particularly if your partner doesn't share the same palate.
North Carolina: Renting a house at the beach in July for a week with my extended family. Since we don't want to spend the week cooking, we are each going to bring the fixings for two dinners. I am thinking some sort of chicken enchiladas and then lamb for souvlaki. How do I do it? Do I cook everything and then freeze it? Cook the enchiladas but take the lamb raw? Can I freeze a marinade? How do I transport -- in a cooler with ice? Dry ice? And here's the kicker: It's also my daughter's first birthday, and I would like to find a recipe for a nice cake with natural ingredients. Any recipes? I'm thinking just plain whipped cream for frosting. Can I whip the cream at home and freeze that too? Ack!
I'd do a little homework first. How long is the drive to paradise? And what's available when you arrive in the way of grocery stores and markets? With that information squared away, you can make a game plan. If your drive is five hours or more, I would minimize perishables, particularly at this steamy time of year. A big cut of meat such as a leg of lamb I'd take in an uncooked, frozen state. And that brings me to another really important point about handling: Keep all meat products together, separated from all other non-meat perishables. Dry ice is the least messy option, but you may also want to explore some of the fancier insulated coolers and bags as extra protection. And please, do yourself a favor and refrain from freezing whipped cream for frosting. You'll be very sorry. If you're unsure about how well stocked the kitchen will be with tools and equipment, I'd pack an electric beater just in case, as well as your favorite knife and a large roasting pan.
Now it's your turn. Got advice for the single cook, the traveling gourmand or the nice friend of new parents? Share your luv in the comments area below.
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Posted by: Southern Gal | June 20, 2007 12:54 PM
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Posted by: One parent who still remembers the chicken-broccoli casserole with a newborn | June 21, 2007 3:49 PM
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