Confessions of a Culinary Queen!
I have a secret to share with you. I love spending a few nights each month alone…completely by myself.
I know. I am newly married. This doesn’t mean that I don’t adore my husband; but these are the evenings that revive me and replenish my spirit so that I can lead my crazy busy life. Time alone allows me to be a better partner. I love the quiet and peace of a night alone, and what do I love doing most of all? You can probably guess since you know me…I love cooking for myself. I Flirt with Flavors, of course.
Cooking for Myself
I hear people say all the time that when they’re home alone they don’t cook for themselves. They don’t want to take the time. It’s only for one person, and they don’t want to go through the effort. Cooking for myself is such a simple pleasure! I put on some tunes and pour a glass of wine. It reminds me of when I first came to New York and lived alone in the West Village, in a studio apartment with a tiny kitchen. I didn’t know many people, and I was lonely. I fell in love with cooking in that kitchen. I enjoyed the pleasure of first grocery shopping, and then the simple tasks of cutting, chopping, sauteing, or simply composing a beautiful salad.
All those things filled my time and taught me so much about myself–plus I made some pretty impressive meals in that tiny kitchen! I would set a beautiful table just for myself, and really savor every bite of the meal that I prepared. If you tend to grab some take-out on your solitary nights, I encourage you to treat yourself next time to a home cooked meal. You will feel healthier and happier the following day.
A Solitary Evening
Last week I had one of those quiet nights at home. I go to so many events and dinners, and I often splurge on rich food, so when I’m home I tend to create healthier meals for myself. On this night, I decided a flavorful vegetable soup (with a side salad) would be a nice Fall meal. Plus, I made enough so that I had leftovers for lunch the next day. This soup is a reminder of when I studied cooking in the South of France. I’ll never forget one of the meals that I ate at a small restaurant in an ancient hill town in Provence. We started with Soupe Au Pistou. The combination of the light broth with fresh vegetables and the flavor of the basil, parsley, and parmigiano was perfection. I have been making it ever since.
Lazy Woman’s Soupe au Pistou
Makes 4 servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 cups homemade chicken stock or store bought (32 oz box)
1 box or 1 can organic cannellini beans 13.4 oz, drained
1 cup cauliflower florets, lightly steamed
1 cup broccoli florets, lightly steamed
1 handful haricots verts, stemmed and halved
Homemade pistou (recipe follows) for garnish
Fresh basil for garnish
In a medium sized saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat. Add onion and garlic and saute for 4 minutes.
Add the chicken broth, beans, cauliflower, broccoli, and haricots verts.
Cook for 5 minutes on medium heat just until soup is heated through.
Ladle into bowls and garnish with 1-2 tablespoons of pistou and a fresh basil leaf.
1 cup Italian parsley
1 cup fresh basil, basil for garnish
1 clove garlic
½ cup parmigiano reggiano cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until combined.