Saturday, November 07, 2009

Cooking for One...Chore or Fun?

A question I get asked all the time: how on earth do you cook for just one person and why would you take the trouble to when you can just get lunch/dinner (dabba) catered in.
Well, my answer is and has been: I love cooking and cooking for just one actually allows me greater freedom to make whatever I want, experiment all I like, not have to stick to set meals and menus.
I have been cooking for one for the last 5 years now, there have been many experiments, most of them successful; some had to be revised and a few ended up in the rejects bin--even I did not have the guts to sample those. But, what I enjoy most about cooking for just me is the varieties that I can play around with, cuisines that permit exploration and when something is successful the reactions of friends when dishes are reproduced.
Fortunately for me, most of the stuff that i rustle up is appreciated by friends and co-workers alike, which of course, is just the right encouragement needed to experiment some more.
With everyone getting health conscious these days, eating right and healthy has become quite the buzz-word everywhere. Like anybody else I love my salad greens but sometimes I like to spice up things are bit, make them more interesting with dips and the like.
One of my absolute eternal favorite dips is made with low-fat curd (it is a staple for me and ever-present in my fridge--keeps for over a week), so here is how it is made
Low-fat curd: 400 gm
Garlic cloves: 3-4
Green Chillies: 1 medium sized (if desired add 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
Oregano: 1/2 tsp (dried)
Balsamic Vinegar: 1 tsp
Salt to taste
Put the curds into a strainer to drain all the water out; once all water is drained, spoon about 2tbsp of the waterless curds into the mixer's chutney jar, add peeled and chopped garlic, green chillies, oregano and vinegar, blend well, until all garlic and chillies are not to be seen.
In a separate bowl, gently whisk the remainder of the waterless curds, add blended part to it, add salt to taste, whisk in salt and blended portion. Scoop into a bottle or bowl. Refrigerated, the dip can last for about a week or it might not depending on the number of people dipping into it :-)
Use with salad greens, kebabs, on toasted breads, cream crackers, anything you would like to combine it with.
Ah, yes, one absolute essential ingredient: lots and lots of love for the food that you are creating.