Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Next Food Network Star

Hi everyone, I’m Chef Daustin and tonight I’m going to share with you a style of cooking that often gets overlooked, but with the right recipes and the right tools, is guaranteed to make some knockout meals! A lot of people think that to be a great chef they have to be able to perfectly chiffonade fresh herbs, brunoise leeks, simmer a mirepoix, create a silky béchamel and somehow combine these techniques to produce a meal that sounds more French than any of its parts. But no, ce n’est pas necessaire. Sure, if you’re running the kitchen of a Michelin-starred restaurant, you’re going to need to know how to parler la langue de la cuisine. And if you’re having a dinner party and cooking for 10 other people, you might want to at least see what Julia Child videos YouTube has to offer. But for most of us, these fancy-shmancy recipes are just plain out of touch. Let’s be realistic – you’re not cooking for 10 people very often. Maybe you cook for 5 people once every couple of months. Maybe. But you – and don’t take this the wrong way, I’m in the same boat – cook and eat most if not all of your meals alone. Sometimes with the refrigerator door still open.

Cooking for one gets almost no attention from today’s cookbook publishers and celebrity chefs. People assume that real cooking entails elaborate preparations for multiple diners whereas cooking alone entails eating halfway thawed hot dogs over the sink; but in reality, cooking for one can be just as elegant, refined and delicious as any multi-serving meals – and I’ve got the recipes to prove it! Read more for a few of my favorites. Bon appétit!

Crostini Digionese con Aioli
Tuscany or Burgundy? “Si, signore” or “Oui, monsieur”? Luckily, you don’t have to choose. This recipe offers a French twist on a timeless Italian appetizer. Take a bite, close your eyes, and make up your own mind on whether you're lounging on the Left Bank of the Seine or floating through the canals of Venice.

- Slices of French or Italian crusty bread
- Dijon mustard (substitution: any other mustard)
- Mayonnaise

Directions: Begin by placing pieces of bread on a plate or serving platter. If a platter is not available, you may rest the bread on the top of the fridge door while retrieving other ingredients. Also, I doubt you already have any “crusty bread” (Crusty? Really? Sounds kind of gross) on hand, so you can do what I usually do and just use a piece of regular, pre-sliced whole wheat. Mine’s usually kind of crusty anyway because I always forget to use the little twist-tie to close up the bag. Oh and if you’ve got extra time you could toast it, I guess, but no one else is going to see you eat this, so it’s kind of like “why bother?” Spread a thin layer of mayonnaise that just barely covers one side of the bread. Next, apply approximately twice as much mustard on top of the mayonnaise. Spread evenly if possible, but if you’ve got a squeeze bottle and it just sort of comes out in globs, what’s the difference anyway. Eat directly from fridge door (admit it, there was never a platter).
Serves 1

Southwestern Tuna Panini
Why settle for a simple tuna salad sandwich when a few easy additions can bring it to another level? In this recipe, turn up the heat on a lunchtime classic with some common spices and some crazy delicious toppings. ¡Muy bueno!

- 1 can of tuna
- A healthy pinch each of cayenne, ground cumin, and paprika
- Hot sauce to taste (I recommend Cholula or Sriracha – don’t hold back!)
- A dab of mayonnaise
- Thinly sliced bread of choice (I like rye)
- Pepperjack cheese
- Sliced avocado
- Sliced tomato

Directions: Open can of tuna into a small mixing bowl. Add spices, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste, and mayonnaise. Oh shit, out of mayonnaise. All right, well it’s not a big deal; just add more hot sauce until the texture is right. Put tuna mixture on one slice of bread... are you kidding? OK, well apparently I'm all out of bread. I knew I shouldn’t have made the crostini. Well, just keep the tuna in the bowl and then put the cheese on top of that. You could put the tomato and avocado on too, but at this point that kind of seems like overkill. And to be honest I can’t even tell if the avocado is ripe or not. If you want to toast it in the oven for a few minutes to melt the cheese, then go right ahead, Bobby Flay. But really, who are you trying to impress? Eat directly out of mixing bowl.
Serves 1

Classic German Bratwurst in Beer
Nothing says summer like gathering around a grill with some cold ones and some meat, but rarely do you get to combine the two into one dish. Grilling alone can be just as fun, and you don’t have to worry about “that guy” poking at your food and giving unsolicited advice! And if the weather outside isn’t ideal for firing up the grill, just move it inside and heat up a skillet on the stove.

- Fresh bratwurst
- 1 small onion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- Spicy mustard
- Buns or rolls
- Dark beer

Directions: Well, you could sauté the onion, garlic and bratwurst together, but it’s actually kind of a hassle – I mean, yeah, if you were having people over you’d definitely want to do that, but it’s just you, so… And you don’t even have bratwurst, do you? You’re just going to use hot dogs anyway, so why get all fancy? It’s not really worth it. I'm pretty sure "bratwurst" is German for "hot dog", so it's not a big deal. So yeah, get your hot dogs warmed up -- I like to just thaw 'em out under running water in the sink. You do have beer, though, right? OK, good. This recipe really doesn't work without beer. It does call for dark beer, but I find that your typical domestic lager goes down much easier, and is a hell of a lot cheaper. Get your beer, get your mostly-thawed hot dogs, get your mustard, park yourself over the kitchen sink. Don’t bother with a plate or fork or anything. Just dip the hot dogs into the mustard and wash it down with six to eight Bud Heavies, and voila, dinner is served.
Serves 1

Note: Be careful not to get any tears of shame or loneliness on your hot dog or it will be too salty, you pathetic crybaby.

Chocolate Chip Cookies
No meal is complete without dessert, and that's true whether you're eating with a crowd or by yourself! This is a classic recipe for chocolate chip cookies, and it might not technically be a "meal for one", but it's so good that you wouldn't want to share any of the cookies with anyone else anyway!

- 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 egg
- 2 ounces milk
- 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 sticks unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions: Preheat oven to 350. Let your butter warm up to room temperature in a mixing bowl. Once soft, cream your butter and sugar together by mashing with a fork as you slowly add the sugar into the bowl. After all the sugar has been added, taste the mixture to make sure the texture isn't too granular and that the sugar has been thoroughly incorporated. Oh, that is really creamy. It's soooo good. It's like, why even bother with adding flour and baking it and all that? It's not going to taste any better -- how could it? This is seriously insanely delicious. Sure, it's just butter and sugar, but isn't that basically what cookies are anyway? No need to get all pretentious about it. I mean, look at you -- you're in your pajamas and it's 9PM on Friday. Might as well dump in the chocolate chips to the creamed butter and sugar, no reason to hold back at this point. Eat it straight from the bowl, preferably with a big wooden spoon. Bring the bowl over to your TV, turn on the Food Network and try not to think about what you look like right now. Enjoy!
Serves 1

1 comment:

  1. Here's another shameful cook-for-one recipe to add to your repertoire:

    1 slice turkey cold cut
    1 string cheese

    Reach into cheese drawer of fridge. Or, if we have not yet designated areas for types of food, reach into corner of fridge behind the half-empty bottle of apple juice and grab a string cheese. String cheese unwrapped and in hand, grab packet of turkey cold cuts. Now here's where it gets tricky. While balancing the package in one hand, open and pull out a slice of turkey with the hand your string cheese is in. You could get a plate, but this way there's less dishes in the sink. Final step is to wrap your string cheese with your turkey slice and there you have it! Enjoy fast or slow. Make sure to wipe hands on pant legs.

    by Brot!