If you find yourself dining alone at home quite often, which I personally do, there are joys and drawbacks. A joy is getting some alone time. A drawback is repetition. For non-freezer-friendly meals, a party of one can lead to repeat dinners for an entire week. And said repetition can turn into lack of enthusiasm for cooking or not cooking at all. It’s a slippery slope.
It’s not only those who live alone experiencing the cooking for one conundrum. There are moments of culinary solitude for us all, and occasionally you want to treat yourself to something special in these moments.
After reading this Washington Post article “The most American thing there is: eating alone;” this A Cup of Jo post “Cheers to me,” on drinking alone; this Globe and Mail article “Why I don’t mind eating alone when I travel;” and listening to this NPR radio clip, and reading this NPR article “Party of 1: We are eating a lot of meals alone;” I, consequently, have a feeling I’m not alone on this alone thing. A big takeaway for me was the NPR radio clip stating 46% of Americans eat meals alone, and even when eating with others, are taciturn due to use of technology. I believe The Strokes said it best way back in 2001 with their song “Alone, Together.”
To cater to this section of the population, which apparently includes nearly half of American adults (and presumably a similar percentage of the remainder of North America, as well as Australia and Europe where the balance of my readership comes from), I’ve decided to begin posting a selection of recipes serving one or two on the blog. It won’t be every post, but a few here and there.
As a whole––and I’m part of this––we’re searching the web for healthy dinner recipes for one or two, as well as quick and easy meals for one, so why not make this experience as tasty as possible? Not to worry if you enjoy leftovers; the recipes I’m planning to share won’t necessarily make just one serving like today’s, but enough for lunch or dinner the next day, too. This means more time to do whatever you want out of the kitchen (ironically, I’m looking for a tennis pal for a bit of extracurricular activity, but that is neither here nor there).
Even if you don’t live alone, you may live with a roommate, partner, spouse, entire family, or some other domestic setup that I’ve missed, and there are always mealtimes when they’re gone and you’re left to your own devices. Relish those moments.
For this new blog series, “Treat Yourself,” I’m kicking things off with what could be lunch or a light dinner. Simple, unfussy, and uses what’s in season right now. You’ll notice I’ve taken a few liberties with the standard caprese salad, replacing mozzarella with avocado, and adding roasted beets and a hardboiled egg. The brilliant thing about eating alone: there’s no one to complain about the authenticity of your creation.
I will leave you with this late-summer, simple, delectable, and truly very pretty salad for one. Go on, you deserve it.
- 1 large beet, quartered
- 1 large egg
- 1 large tomato, sliced into wedges
- ½ cup loosely packed fresh basil (about 15 to 20 leaves)
- ½ large avocado or 1 small avocado, sliced
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Roast Beet: Preheat oven to 400ºF. Add beet quarters to a sheet of parchment-lined foil. Crunch into a ball. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until tender when pierced with a knife. Use immediately or refrigerate until chilled.
- How to Make Hardboiled Eggs: In a small saucepan, cover egg with ½-inch of water. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, cover, and let sit for 10 minutes. Drain and run cold tap water over egg for a minute or two. Peel, halve, and use immediately or refrigerate unpeeled until chilled, peeling and halving before serving.
- Assemble Salad: On a plate or in a shallow bowl, arrange slices of roasted beet, tomato, and basil. Top with egg and avocado. Drizzle with oil and balsamic, and season with salt and pepper. Serve.