The Instant Pot cult

I admit that I’ve succumbed and now have an Instant Pot (IP).  I’m pleased with everything I’ve done in it so far, but I think I’m cognizant of what its capabilities are so I’m not going to ask it to do things that just aren’t realistic. I don’t expect the same results from a braise done in the Instant Pot as I would from a braise done in my Le Creuset enamel cast iron dutch oven over hours in the conventional oven, and to be perfectly frank, I’ll not quit doing braising in that conventional oven even though the results from the IP can be very good but definitely not the same.

I’ve been looking at cookbooks oriented to cooking with the instant pot–and I find that a lot of them need a healthy dollop of skepticism about what the IP should–not can–do. The IP is, after all, a kitchen tool. There is no such thing as one-tool-does-it-all. My expectations of the IP are based on what I know about the cooking environment inside that appliance–just as were my expectations of what my Krups multifunction cooker would do.

The article from Taste titled “Don’t Cook With an Instant Pot Just Because You Can”  (a discussion of Melissa Clark’s IP cookbook titled “Dinner in an Instant“) has that healthy bit of skepticism–no one tool does it all. The book confines itself to recipes which the IP does really well making it a good addition to the library if you are learning about an IP–it will help with a realistic expectation about what this kitchen tool does really well.

The other cookbooks that I’ve added to my library since acquiring the IP are “The Essential Instant Pot CookbookThe Essential Instant Pot Cookbook” by Coco Marante and “The Instant Pot Miracle” (authorised by Instant Pot). These two books provide a good introduction to the IP and to pressure cooking, as well as an array of recipes that have been tested in the IP.  So, good additions.

I guess my point in this ramble is that the IP is an expensive kitchen gadget and you don’t want to be disappointed and relegate it to a dusty corner somewhere to be with the “fry baby” that also never gets used. So far I think it is well worth the price so long as I have realistic expectations of what it does well.

I know that it’s not going to put out anything crispy or crunchy, and I haven’t really figured out why I’d want to use it to cook fish. I do like steaming some vegetables in it, and I love the way hard-cooked eggs peel when cooked in it. Rice was fine too, although I did mine with the pot-in-pot technique which is wonderful for cooking for one–so far a very happy addition to the kitchen!

 

 

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Spring is here?

20170307_115628

Mertensia virginicia

Here in NC it’s beginning to feel a lot like spring! The maple outside my house is well into bloom; on my deck there are Virginia bluebells or cowslip (Mertensia virginica) blooming, and other green shoots (including the sorrel) are starting to peek out of the ground.

The birds are acting like it’s springtime, too; the Pine, and the Yellow-rumped Warblers that suddenly appeared (just in time for the Great Backyard Bird Count) seem to have disappeared as quickly as they appeared, and as I write I’m listening to a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk calling close by . Other harbingers of spring, catalogs from Johnny’s Selected Seeds, Brushy MountainBailey Bee Supply, and Dadent, have arrived, too (and I’ve ordered my package of bees to restart by beekeeping career).

I’ve been happily indexing with the doors and windows open on some days (like today) when the temperature rose into the 70s, and my cooking thoughts have turned to more spring-y things–like shad roe, fresh garden peas, and asparagus–instead of things like pot roast, chicken and dumplings that are so comforting in cold, winter weather. That was until I looked at the weather forecast this morning while I was imbibing my morning quota of caffeine. On my second cup of café au lait, doing my Facebook catch-up, I spotted a post from a friend about possible snow on Sunday–that’s right on 12 March 2017–after days of warm weather and blooming flowers!

Ever on the lookout for “fake” news these days, I pulled up the Weather Channel, and WRAL for local forecasts–sure enough–after daytime temperatures of 70 to 75ºF until Friday the forecast highs plummet to mid-40 to 50ºF for the weekend–and freezing (to below freezing) nighttime lows for the weekend and Monday. Yes, there were those cute little snowflakes in the graphics with the raindrops!  Here’s hoping that whatever we get, it’s not one of the infamous “ice storms” with freezing rain and all its complications.

That shifted my cooking thoughts in a rather abrupt manner: one last fling of winter food before we get to the kind of weather that makes me cringe at the thought of things like beef stew, pot roast, or beef and barley stew just because it hot and humid.

9780393081084Those specific things came to mind because I’ve just been reading  The Food Lab: Better Home Cooking Through Science by J.Kenji Lopez-Alt. Yes, food science with attached recipes (and experiments to demonstrate his points)–a good book to get you started with cooking by understanding the science (without too much science detail to bore you).

Considering that my freezer is already pretty well stocked with pot roast to get me through the damp, drizzly spring weather, I decided that wasn’t my option for my last winter cooking fling.

(So you’re asking why I’m doing one last bit of winter cooking instead of just pulling some pot roast out of the freezer? Well,  for me, part of the satisfaction of winter cooking is all about the the aroma of whatever is cooking in the oven (that’s also helping make the kitchen warm and cozy). It’s not all about putting stuff in the freezer for later although that’s good–it’s about the immediate experience, too. That’s what I mean by “comfort food”!).

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I’ve decided that I’ll try the recipe for Beef and Barley Stew. This may be the first time that I’ve ever used a recipe for it but this one looks interesting, and maybe, an improvement on my usual throw-together version. So–from The Food Lab (Kindle location 3875), here’s what I’m going to try (though I’ll adjust the quantities since it’s to serve only me–and the cat). The recipes in this book are very easy to follow–instructions complete, and the science explained before the recipe, thought it’s easy reading and not so tedious as some food science can be. The recipe below is a good example of what’s in this book.

Beef and Barley Stew

from The Food Lab (Kindle location 3875-3896)

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds boneless beef short ribs, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, split in half lengthwise and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 2 medium stalks celery, split in half lengthwise, and sliced into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1-1/2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Marmite
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 2 medium cloves garlic, minced or grated on a Microplane [grater/zester] (about 2 teaspoons)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 4 cups homemade or low-sodium canned chicken stock
  • one 14-1/2 ounce can whole tomatoes, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups loosely packed roughly torn kale leaves

Preparation/assembly

  1. Toss the short ribs in a large bowl with salt and pepper to coat. Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over high heat until smoking. Add the beef and cook without moving it, until well browned on first side, about 5 minutes. Stir and continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until browned all over, about 10 minutes total; reduce heat if necessary to keep from scorching. Return the meat to the bowl and set aside.
  2. Return the pot to medium-high heat. Add carrots, celery, and onion. Cook, stirring frequently, until the vegetables begin to brown, about 4 minutes. Add the Marmite, soy sauce, garlic, and tomato paste and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Add the stock and scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, barley, and bay leaves, then return the beef to the pot, increase the heat to high, and bring to a boil. Reduce to the lowest possible heat and cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the beef is completely tender and the barley is cooked through, about 2 hours.
  4. Stir in the kale and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted, about 2 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, or, for best flavor, cool and refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 5 days before reheating and serving.

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Why did I decide to try this recipe? Well, in a word, umami. Good food is all about flavor–and I’m investigating an ingredient that I’ve never tried before: Marmite. I’ve read that it’s a love-or-hate thing with Marmite, but it’s supposed to enhance umami. I don’t think I’ll hate it–after all I’m not going to eat it straight, and I do use anchovies and nam pla (fish sauce) so why not try this one?

I’m not dissatisfied with my usual beef and barley stew or soup (which does contain most of the ingredients here except for tomatoes and Marmite), but I’m feeling adventurous–my ever-present curiosity about ingredients that I haven’t tried rears its head.

However, I’m thinking of one modification here–depending on my work schedule for Sunday. If an anticipated manuscript arrives for indexing, ending my hiatus of goofing off and spending quality time with the cat–meaning I’ll actually be working–the 2-hour cooking may take place in a slow (275 ºF) oven–with the lid slightly ajar as suggested in this recipe since it reduces the watching necessary with stove-top cooking; it’s usually my preferred method because it eliminates the possibility that I’ll get involved and not give the pot proper attention; nothing worse that a scorched pot to clean up–not to mention ruining good food!

There’s one other deviation that I’ll use with this recipe–because I’m only cooking for one and bunches of greens tend to be a bit overwhelming (read just too damn much of even a good thing), I’ll be getting my kale out of a freezer package (my usual  Stahlbush Island Farms chopped curly kale) so that I don’t have to deal with the excess. Since I’ve got a few “winter” veggies in the crisper that need to be used I’m planning  different vegetable sides for the week–something with rutabaga, and kohlrabi.

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Addendum to “Hard copy or Digital”

Aside

Addendum to Hard-copy or Digital?

I’ve admitted being an addict, so I do buy lots of cookbooks. It’s lovely to have the books where you can pull them out anytime and fondle them,  but don’t forget about your public library.

I have an OverDrive app installed on all my electronic stuff so that I can check eBooks out of the library!  It’s a great way to explore lots of book without needing extra shelf space, or spending money!

Oven-braised lamb and garbanzo beans

It’s another grey day–unseasonably warm, but at least not hot, sticky, and terribly humid today–the kind of day when you need to smell something cooking–long, slow, and tantalizing.   I found lamb shoulder chops on special (2-1/2-pound package) at the grocery store, I decided to try the lamb/garbanzo slow-cooker thing in the oven since it’s not too hot (and I’ll use the oven to prepare a second dish for reheating tomorrow (acorn squash stuffed with Sicilian sausage).

Book coverThe slow cooker version of this concoction was really good, but I thought it could be improved by doing it in the oven. Even after reading the Cook’s Illustrated Slow Cooker Revolution (volume 1), I am still not a wild fan of the slow-cooker.  I use it because it does some things well, and is necessary at times to fit cooking into a working schedule.  The Slow Cooker Revolution has improved my slow-cooker results immensely, mostly because I’ve discovered some unusual ingredients that can improve flavor.

My impression was that many of these recipes required more preparation time than I would be able to put into a slow cooker recipe, given that I use it for utter simplicity.  I’m interested in seeing what comes from volume 2 of the Slow Cooker Revolution.  If I have to do a lot of preparation for the recipe, then I might as well not use the slow cooker.  I still find that I like over-braising when possible; however, I do find I’m using the slow cooker even more since I read the first volume of this book. That said, I still prefer oven braising, especially if I’m working at home.

Romertopf clay baker (oval)I had intended to do this in the Romertopf, (one of my favorite things for roasting and baking hearty, peasant-style comfort food in the winter) but by the time I had boned the lamb and added other ingredients, it wouldn’t fit in either of my small ones (great for single-serving cooking), and was not enough to fit in my large Romertopf (for roasting whole chicken, for example)–so it was the Dutch oven for today.

(Shoulder chops are reasonably priced, and the boning doesn’t take long if you use a boning knife rather than trying to do it with a paring knife or chef’s knife.  Those bone went into a saucepan with a tad of salt and some bay leaves to make stock.  After boning out, I had about 2 pounds of lamb, so that’s what I started with.)

Oven-braised lamb and garbanzo beans

lamb from chopsIngredients

  • 2 pounds lamb (from boned shoulder chops)
  • 2 14.5-ounce cans of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 large onions, chopped
  • 1 14.5-ounce can of fire-roasted, diced tomatoes with juice
  • 2 tablespoons of Hatch chilli powder (used for the slow cooker), but more added after tasting this halfway through cooking
  • 2 teaspoons of salt, or to taste
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Mexican oregano, minced
  • 1 cup water

PreparationIMG_7667

  • Put everything in pot
  • Cover
  • Pop it into the oven, and check for liquid in an hour
  • Go get laundry or whatever, then check liquid again

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In order to be as much like the slow-cooker, I did not brown the meat or cook the onions separately–just combined everything, covered, and put in a preheated, 300-degree Fahrenheit oven.  I added 1 cup of water to start, and checked in one hour but there was plenty of liquid.

On tasting, I found it needed more than the 2 tablespoons of chili powder so I added about 1 tablespoon more, stirred, covered, and let it continue to cook. There was plenty of liquid, so next time, I’ll not add any water–just rely on the juice from the tomatoes, onions, and meat.

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The stock made with the bones smelled really good–if more liquid had been needed during baking, I would use some of the stock.  There was some meat from the bones in the stock, but I not enough to spend time picking off, although I’m not compulsive about trying to get every bit off when I bone meat like these chops. Since I started the stock in cold water, the meat that was left was pretty flavorless, but the stock was good.

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There will be a next time for this–and unless I’m really pushed for time, or can’t leave the oven while I’m out, I’ll opt for the oven method to cook this–a much more complex flavor with the same ingredients, likely attributable to the bit of evaporation that takes place in the oven but not in the closed slow-cooker.

Getting this added flavor lead me to consider the energy used in the various cooking methods–the energy required for cooking is certainly part of the energy required to make that food edible–the energy  of production and transportation, and the cooking is all part of the picture: the footprint of feeding me. We cannot ignore the energy used for cooking when we talk about other energy costs associated with our food so I spent some time browsing to find information on different cooking methods.

In trying to research this issue, I’ve perused many different sources–and the gas/slow cooker comparison is difficult, and I get the feeling that the answer to which is more efficient is an “it depends” situation.

Interestingly, an article on slow cookers versus electric ovens from the University of Connecticut Sustainable Living suggests that there may not be a significant difference in energy use.  SFGate discusses gas versus electric energy use, which gets more complicated, but I’m not sure that there difference is significant enough to make me give up oven braising, even though I’d like to minimize my “carbon footprint” as much as possible. If my slow cooker requires eight or so hours of cooking, and my oven braise requires only two or three hours on low to medium heat, then it may be a toss-up, since the slow cooker doesn’t cycle, and the oven (gas or electric) does.

Oven braising in the wintertime helps warm the house so probably cuts my heating use some, but I’m certainly NOT going to oven braise in the summer and increase the use of air-conditioning.  There is lots of conflicting information out there on the ‘net.  The “best” I found was from the Consumer Energy Center (California Energy Commission)–from that information, I’m not going to give up oven braising for the slow cooker anytime soon, but I’ll still use the slow cooker for some things.

Cover, pressure cooker perfectionOne comparison that I’d really be interested in is slow cooker versus pressure cooker energy use, and taste of the same dish prepared in both. Most data that I found suggested that the slow cooker wins on convenience, and the pressure cooker on energy saving. A taste comparison would certainly be interesting.  I’m almost certain that a pressure cooker can’t replace a good old-fashioned slow braise in the over.

I’ve recently started playing with a pressure cooker–it’s a lot different than what my mother used. The recipes in Pressure Cooker Perfection have been a good starting point. I suspect that I’ll be using a pressure cooker more  in the future, as well as the slow-cooker. Climate, air conditioning, and heating, are all things that will enter into my decisions. I’m also trying out an portable induction unit which is supposed to be ore energy efficient.

So many options for energy efficiency–but what about taste?  I doubt that any other method is going to come out tasting like an oven braise, no matter how many umami-enhancing ingredients you add.

A son goût!

Dutch oven with lamb and garbanzos

very simple, very tasty

Gift ideas 2012….

STILL doing holiday shopping?    If you’ve got some last-minute shopping to do for your favorite foodie (that includes yourself, too), here are some of my suggestions based on some of the things that I use a lot.

Let me insert a disclaimer here and now–I do not receive any remuneration, discounts, or any other consideration for any products that I recommend on this website–it’s all based on my satisfaction from my use in my home kitchen! 

1.  Rice cooker, steamer, and slow cooker all in one

Krups rice cooker, steamer and slow cookerSomething that never gets put away is my Krups rice cooker–that is also a steamer (even while cooking rice), and a slow cooker.  It even cooks pasta! I’ve used all it’s features and once you understand that it quits cooking when water evaporates and the temperature begins to go above boiling point, you can get away from recipes and get it to do what you want it to do.

The recipes that came with the instructions will do for a start–but it lends itself to cooking things without much attention.  One of the recipes in the booklet that I do find useful is one for mac ‘n’ cheese (one of my favorite comfort foods).  I was really skeptical the first time that I tried this, but it’s become a go-to for quick comfort foods.   One of the rather neat things about this is that when the water has evaporated and the temperature starts to rise, you do get a brown crust on the bottom (that’s normal in rice cookers) which really makes the mac and cheese (with or without the ham).  I’ve even tried using cheddar to do this (adding some extra) and it doesn’t get stringy.  I think that it must be the starch from the pasta in the water that does that.

From the Krups booklet that came with the rice cooker, here’s mac ‘n’ cheese:

Ingredients

  • 200 gm or 1/2 pound macaroni (small penne or other hollow pasta also works)
  • 30 gm or 1/4 cup butter cut in small pieces (I’ve use less and it works fine)
  • 1 slice ham (or not, or more as you choose)
  • 20 gm or 1/4 cup Gruyère cheese (I like a bit more, or use another cheese that melts well)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (adjust according to the saltiness of the ham)
  • 500 mL or 2-1/4 cups water

Assembly & cooking

  • Cut ham into small pieces (if using)
  • Place the butter, macaroni, ham, Gruyère, water, and salt in the bowl and mix.
  • Close the lid, select the Rice cooking mode and press Start.
  • When the cooker switches to keep warm mode, let stand for 5 or 10 minutes, then dig in.

The rice cooker automatically switches to keep warm after about 20 minutes of cooking. You do need the stand time for the pasta to finish cooking.  But…how much simpler can you get?  I’m still playing with variations on this recipe, but it’ a keeper.  Admittedly, this is not a stocking stuffer, but it’s a useful addition to the kitchen and I don’t say that about many stand-alone appliances.

2.  Home espresso machine for the coffee lover

Krups home espresso machine with carafe

espresso in the making

No, I’m not talking about a huge price tag that you see in the Williams-Sonoma catalog.  I was wandering through Bed, Bath & Beyond one day and I saw this small espresso machine on display–with a very reasonable price tag.  It just had to come home with me (with the rationale that Frankie, the cat, needed to give me a Christmas present).

I’ve used the stove-top espresso pot for a long time, but it wasn’t an every morning thing–a little too demanding for my early morning mental state!  But this is simple, and you can froth milk with it, too!

It’s been used evey day since it arrived in the kitchen, to make plain unadorned espresso, cappuccino, or latte, or just a cup of regular strength flavorful coffee.  Since I’m not wild about very dark roasted coffee, I continue to use the Jamaica Blue Mountain Blend that I buy at Costco, grinding my own.

The only down side is that if you want to grind your own coffee, the whirligig-blade spice/coffee grinder won’t do it–you do need to have a burr grinder–but those are not that expensive.  So, if you’re a coffee fiend, this might be a good gift.

3.  Clever coffee dripper

drip-style individual cup coffee ffunnel

Clever Coffee Dripper

Until the espresso machine arrived, this was my gadget of choice for morning coffee.  It has the advantage of not requiring much effort–but making coffee that is close to that of a French press. (I decided to try this after it was recommended in Cook’s Illustrated–and was very pleased.)

This is in the stocking-stuffer range of gift, but does improve the quality of coffee over the usual drip machine or funnel-and-filter apparatus.  It uses the readily available filters from the supermarket, and it’s not demanding in terms of how the coffee is ground.

4.  The proper-size pan

petit brasier with lid

petit brasier from All Clad

If you, or the cook in your life, often prepare meals for one or two, an appropriately sized pan will make life easier and the food better.  One of my most often used items is the “Petit Brasier” from All Clad.

It’s definitely a useful addition to the kitchen.  It can go from stove top to oven; it can function as a skillet, too.  It has the same shape as what is sometimes called an “everyday” pan, but it’s sized for cooking for one or two.

5.  Cookbooks

cover of The Science of Good cookingFor serious cooks,  good cookbooks are always welcome!  We’re always looking for new ideas–especially those that get us away from feeling that we need a recipe for anything that we cook.

One of the stand-out cookbooks for this is The Science of Good Cooking from Cook’s Illustrated. This one supplies food science in a low-key useful way to go along with some great recipes.

For some great recipes and thought on cooking for one are in order, then here are two books that are likely to titillate that favorite foodie who cooks for one.

Cover of Serve Yourself

 

Serve Yourself is delightful reading with recipes for lots of condiments that make dressing up that second serving (also known as left-over) for a rerun–or just for dressing up any meal.

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Another for the cook who does single-serving cooking is The Pleasures of Cooking for One by Judith Jones.  It includes not only recipes but JonesFC9780307270726some food philosophy and thoughts on dining alone–from someone who does not view dining alone in a negative way.

…and just in case you’re wondering, giving serious cook a cookbook, no matter whether they are just beginning or are accomplished is not insulting…we LOVE cookbooks.

6.  Other miscellaneous stocking stuffers

Still undecided, or just need something small how about:

  • a gift certificate from Penzeys Spices–a chance to try some wild and wonderful herbs and spices that you won’t find in the grocery store.
  • a subscription to Eat Your Books–a search engine for cookbooks.  Yes–the ones that you or your favorite foodie have on the shelves.  You enter titles, and then you can search those books for recipes.  No more frustrating moments trying to remember just which book that recipe was in.
  • A new knife to complete or add to the set in constant use would always be welcome.
  • If you are still undecided see Kitchen equipment for small-time cooking, e.g. immersion blender, or other cookware alternatives for cooking for one or two.  There are other suggestions in posts from previous year’s gift suggestions.
  • You’ll also find some of my favorite books in the Bibliography.
  • If you love planning meals to showcase a great wine, then there’s a gift possibility–a special bottle of wine to anticipate and plan a great meal around.  Price doesn’t necessarily dictate whether a wine is special–there are lots of great wines just waiting for a meal to happen.  It’s always been my treat for myself on my birthday to go to my favorite wine shop (Wine Authorities) and buy a special (not necessarily expensive wine) and then plan a meal around it.  (If you’re from Durham NC it’s the Wine Authorities–and are awesome in helping coordinate food and wine.  Not local, they do ship.)
  • I’ll leave you with one final suggestion–a gift certificate for Kindle books.  A number of the books mentioned here are available for the Kindle, including The Science of Good Cooking.

I do hope that I’ve helped with any last-minute shopping dilemmas, and wish you and your favorite foodie (and the cat) another year of pleasures from the kitchen–good food, good wine, good friends.

A son goût! 

orange tabby on kitchen counter with mixer and knives

the sous chef

Link

I’ve just spent some time browsing the web while cleaning out my email inbox.  One of those was from Epicurious–a website that I use for features like The Food Dictionary and recipes from some cooking magazines to which I like to have access, but to which I don’t want to subscribe or have hard copy (e.g. recipes from Gourmet, Bon Appétit, Self, and other sources) since many of the recipes don’t fit my cooking style.

The most recent email was about eCookbooks–whole cookbooks available for purchase online.  Being a cookbook addict, and short of space for another bookcase, I’ve looked at Kindle editions of some books (Mark Bittman’s Salted and Food Matters Cookbook) and I find this an appealing option.

In checking out relative prices, I used Salted since I have the Kindle edition of that.  The Kindle price was $18.99; the hardcover edition, $23.10 plus shipping; and $18.99 from the eCookbook service at Epicurious.com, so price is moot on Kindle or eCookbooks.

The preview on eCookbooks does not let you access the index to see how that functionality compares with what’s available on the Kindle edition. Obviously I’m not about to buy a second copy of something that I already have, but I’m seriously considering trying this service, especially to see if the indexes really work and are in a format that can be easily used.

As I am already a subscriber to Eat Your Books, I’ll be interested to see if the page references from that service can be “translated” to the eCookbook as well.   I’m sure I’ll have more information for you on the service shortly!

Another cookbook for single-serving cooking

Cover of Serve YourselfI’m always browsing cookbooks–especially those that appear to deal with single-serving cooking.  A friend recently mentioned Serve Yourself: Nightly Adventures in Cooking for One to me. True to form, I immediately went in search of it–and was pleased to find it available in Kindle format.

I really identified with a statement made in this book: “…we solo artists deserve just as varied a diet as anyone.  While I love having some leftovers around that can morph into new dishes, I also appreciate the beauty of starting and finishing a single cooking project on a given night.” (Kindle location 173)

One of the things that I find delightful is that there are suggestions and recipes that are incredibly helpful in allowing morphing leftovers.  These include condiments (to use not only on leftovers) but suggestions on using those extra ingredients that seem to be the bane of single-serving cooking–such as what’s left of that bottle of wine that you opened to go with dinner yesterday evening.  Personally I think that this is a book worth having in your library if you cook for one, but I suggest that, at least, you check the local library and peruse this one.

I’d also recommend his website for fun reading of his “Cooking for One” column for more thoughts on cooking for one, and more recipes.  Even cooking for one it can still be a son goût!