Last year, I went to this event at BU called "An Evening with Judith Jones" For those of you who don't know her, Judith Jones was the woman who published Julia Child's first cookbook, "Mastering the Art of French Cooking". So I went to this event where she told stories of her adventures in Paris, talked about her book "The Pleasures of Cooking for One", and cooked for us. She made Corn and Salmon Pancakes with Sauce Gribiche, Braised Shoulder Lamb Chops, and Panna Cotta with Maple Syrup. It was fabulous. I don't use that word often, but that's what it was. Oh, and we got to take home a copy of her book...
A lot of the women at this event were empty nesters, or older widows. It was a little sad. But Judith (a widow herself) said that food should be treated with respect, and every meal should be savored and enjoyed. Just because you are eating alone doesn't mean you have to do it standing over your stove, off of crappy plastic plates and paper towels. She said that she always uses a cloth napkin and a napkin ring, even if she's just having a salad. Why shouldn't you treat yourself? Because your single? NO! She also encouraged us to tell our grocers that we want smaller portions in the produce department. "I don't want a big bundle of broccoli, I want to buy a small branch!" I think she's my hero.
|don't you just love her?|
Here's a great article about her ideas on cooking for one: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/10/AR2009111000761.html
ANYWAY... While we were waiting for our onions to caramelize, I wanted to have something to eat as an appetizer. I immediately thought of Judith Jones's Steamed Eggs Nestled in a Bed of Greens.
You need a couple handfuls of fresh spinach, a clove of garlic, olive oil, and an egg (or in this case, two). Important note before you get started: This moves REALLY fast, so you will definitely want to be prepped and ready to go. I didn't do this, and was running around the kitchen like a crazy person. Even more so than usual.
First, slice your garlic clove into fancy little slivers, and cook them in the olive oil on high heat.
Now QUICK! Before it browns, toss in two handfuls of spinach, stirring it for 1 minute.
Then add 1/2c water, and cook until almost tender.
Make indentations in the spinach and carefully crack the eggs into them.
Cover with a tight-fitting lid and let steam for about 3 minutes, until the eggs are perfect and the liquid has boiled away. You still want the eggs to be a little runny in the yolk, so keep an eye on it.
Add a little salt and pepper, and, with a slotted spoon, carefully put on a plate.
I love this because its so light and fun and I feel like a grown-up when I eat it. It's really quick and easy; the perfect prequel to your dinner.
Ms. Jones also has a killer cheese souffle recipe that I've almost mastered. Maybe we'll try that sometime?
What do you think of Judith Jones's theories on cooking/eating alone? How often do you set the table? Would you do it if it's just you? Have you ever gone to a restaurant by yourself? I want to hear your opinions on this one, so speak up!