Irreverent Vegan: Cooking For One – Pt 1

My sincere apologies to readers who visit IV for recipes. It’s been a bit scant lately, because of all the “arts & culture” posts. But think of it this way, if they ever release Trivial Pursuit: Vegan Edition, you’ll be golden. The pink/brown pie will be yours!

Whoa…that sounded kinda gross.

With Amy gone in Reykjavik, it’s time to nestle in for a few weeks of solo-cookin’! Unlike the usual “Mark finds weird-and-occasionally-delicious things to do with leftovers” posts you’ve come to know and love, for the next few weeks I’m going to try to focus more on menu/lifestyle. This is because (a) we ate all of the leftovers before we left, so nothing would go bad and (b) as a culinary dynamic duo, we frequently neglect the often-disparate experience of cooking for yourself. I generally find I’m more inventive and am willing to put more time into a meal I’m making for other people. While I certainly love to eat, I also like to help other people love to eat. The more people, the more time and energy I’ll typically spend. But by myself, it’s easy to get into a pattern of making a giant meal every several nights and just living mindlessly on leftovers.

So, since getting back, I’ve been trying to cook more frequently, but to make quicker, easier dishes. So here’s the rundown:

Night 1

I got home from work and started pressure cooking 2 cups of chick peas. I let them cook for 45 minutes while I took care of other biz, and then proceeded to cheat by going over to Amy’s brother Joe’s place and eating his culinary masterpiece, Spicy Ramen (I will post this soon! You shall wait with baited breath.). I did bring over some fresh local broccoli and tempeh to round out the ramen (it’s especially awesome with seitan chik’n). And, with very little effort, I cooked up a mess of chick peas (more on this shortly).

Night 2

I made hummus with 2/3 of the chick peas, and saved the rest on the chick pea water. I also whipped up a batch of smoky tempeh and made smoky tempeh hummus wraps, including lettuce from our garden.

Night 3

Using the remaining chick peas and some tomatoes that were on the verge of going bad, I made a chick pea, tomato, and quinoa dish. I just cooked 1.5 cups of quinoa in veggie stock, then added the chick peas and tomatoes, salt and pepper to taste, then garnished with sunflower seeds and almond slivers for a little crunch and pizazz. I told you I learned something from that last Reykjavik supper. I served it (to myself, of course) with steamed sesame kale–from our garden! Huzzah!

Brunch 4 (and 5)

I made the world’s most standard tofu scramble for brunch (well, I did add in poblano pepper that was starting to resemble a gigantic raisin), knowing that this would provide me a good 3 meals. 1 and 2, down.

Night 4

As many of you know, it’s asparagus season, so I’ve been cooking the hell out of some asparagus recently. I feel like I missed a week, and now I have to make it up (I don’t know what this is going to mean for strawberries…). In keeping with my recent Keep It Simple approach, I just sauteed a head of garlic in olive oil, then tossed in some chopped asparagus and cooked briefly, then covered. I boiled up some noodles, then tossed the noodles, asparagus, and garlic in more olive oil and tossed in fresh chives, oregano, and thyme from the garden, along with a few dashes of crushed red pepper (and salt & pepper, to taste, of course).

Night 5

We made chick patties about a month back, and did a double batch and froze the rest. Sunday was the ideal kind of day to pop one on the grill along with more asparagus (brush both the grill and asparagus in a little oil–I used a blend of olive of sesame oil). This took almost zero effort to make–and was all made from fresh local ingredients. Thank you past self!

Night 6

Remember the hummus from earlier? Remember the smoky tempeh? The lettuce from our garden? Well, it’s been 4 days, so it was time to enjoy another wrap. I’ve also got a stash of local broccoli and tortilla chips, should the wrap prove insufficient and the hummus too tempting.

The moral of the story, my friends, is that all of this has been really easy to prepare, healthy, and satisfying. I don’t feel like I’ve been “bogged down” by cooking (though it’s pretty unlikely that I’d ever feel that way), but also feel that I’ve eaten relatively well without having to rely on any pre-made (except by me) or processed foods.

Stay tuned!

4 comments ↓

#1 Jo on 06.14.10 at 10:31 pm

Um, can you please come to my house and be my personal chef? 🙂

#2 amey on 06.15.10 at 12:54 pm

nice work! it’s definitely different cooking for yourself vs. cooking for two (or more!). In some ways I feel more motivated to cook when there are other people involved… but cooking for myself has a special quality of ease and comfort. I like making whatever I make, whenever I make it, and eating it up – even if it’s just a simple little mediocre dish. And I’m definitely with you on “make a big batch of beans” as the important first step to an extended period of solo cooking time. Bon appetit!

#3 Courtney on 06.15.10 at 5:59 pm

Sounds great! I live alone and so cook for myself every night…I love your ideas 🙂

Courtney

#4 N.I.K. on 06.16.10 at 12:08 am

While I haven’t been vegan in several years, I still enjoy cooking, and these recipes for the sad-sack solo contingent are mighty helpful. Thanks so much for sharing!

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