I fall into the former category. I like feeding other people, hence this whole dinner party blog thing. When I'm alone, I tend to make things like fried eggs, bowls of cereal...and fried eggs. For some reason, cooking for myself doesn't excite me. When I was single, I went through a gross phase where I ate quesadillas for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I eventually threw away the bag of tortillas just to break the cycle. Thankfully, solo dining isn't an issue for me anymore. I always have someone to come home to and have dinner with, which is one of the best things about being married.
But Dan was out of town last weekend, leaving me to feed me, myself, and I. There was this guy too, but he's on a strict all-kibble regimen.
I won't lie. I ate a quesadilla. Okay, two or three quesadillas. I made them with pepper jack cheese, sauteed onions, and roasted butternut squash and they were delicious. And then I felt a little ill. Flashbacks, I guess.
Why do I spend so much time and effort making food for other people, only to slap together the most basic, mindless meals for myself? I love to eat and I actually really enjoy being alone (no offense, Dan) but for me, food is best enjoyed in the company of others. I think about special meals eaten with my friends and family almost every day. Those single-girl quesadillas, hurriedly wolfed down after work? Not so much. But maybe there's hidden pleasure in eating alone, eating whatever you want. You can eat stinky food, messy food, dishes that other people don't like, drink all the wine, sit on the floor in your pajamas (although I do that all the time).
I resolved to do better, to eat better. And so I made a dinner fit for watching the Oscars by myself. In my pajamas. I thought about what I would make for my usual Sunday night suppers--roast chicken and vegetables, a hearty soup or stew, a big chopped salad. The thought of buying one chicken breast kind of made me sad, so I went for something different, a recipe I've had bookmarked for awhile: roasted broccoli with shrimp.
Yes, I've waxed on about roasting's power to transform vegetables, especially broccoli. It really is the best way to cook it in my book. But this recipe added shrimp to the mix. And chili powder, and cumin, and a hefty dose of lemon. It was roasted broccoli times a thousand. I ate it with a side of steamed white rice and a significant amount of white wine. It was delightful. Although washing all the dishes by myself sort of sucked.
Roasted broccoli with shrimp
By Melissa Clark via the New York Times. I divided the recipe in half to feel little old me.
(serves 2 to 4 people)
2 lbs. broccoli, cut into bite-size florets
4 Tbsp. (1/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. whole coriander seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 tsp. whole cumin seeds (or 1/2 teaspoon ground)
1 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp. hot chili powder
1 lb. large shrimp, shelled and de-veined
1 1/4 tsp. lemon zest (from 1 large lemon)
Lemon wedges, for serving
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a large bowl, toss broccoli with 2 tablespoons oil, coriander, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper and chili powder. In a separate bowl, combine shrimp, remaining 2 tablespoons oil, lemon zest, remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Spread broccoli in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for 10 minutes. Add shrimp to baking sheet and toss with broccoli. Roast, tossing once halfway through, until shrimp are just opaque and broccoli is tender and golden around edges, about 10 minutes more. Serve with lemon wedges, or squeeze lemon juice all over shrimp and broccoli just before serving.