This eve I had a mini panic attack because I couldn't remember the last time I cooked for just myself. Like a meal. Of course, I make toast and an enormous amount of cottage cheese with grapes, but I cannot remember the last time I took ingredients and made a dish that was solely for the belly of Dani Bryant.
Why is this? Well, I just like cooking for other people too damn much. And I've just gotten used to cooking for others so much that when it's time to do it for just me, well, I get a little blue.
I think I also sometimes equate eating alone with sadness. Unfortunately, we ladies have plenty of food issues and a lot of them rear their ugly heads whilst in solitude. (Quick off-topic ranty side note:I say "we" as a collective group, because the more and more I have recently began to open up about my food issues/eating disorders the more I discover EVERY woman I know has them or has dealt with them or some form of them in the past. Which frankly is scary and alarming and I hate(hate, HATE!) that food is such a struggle for women.)
Here's what I do know.
I love, love, love having people over, nibbling on leftovers while I cook for clients. I love a full kitchen of my friends laughing, debating, and having a blast-- all sweaty and hot in my tiny darling kitchen.
They sit on the stools, we pick a Pandora station and spend a few hours together. These kitchen memories are so dear to me and I know they will stick out years in to come when I think back on this time in my life as a 20 something with 8 random jobs, a pretty spare bank account , and a circle of fabulous foodie friends who I adore.
So what did I make? Oh yes, I did make something. I didn't just whine and eat cashew butter like I sometimes do. I wanted some sort of comfort food and my father and his skillets popped into my head. He was famous for his skillets, when he wasn't being a crazy-pants. This is for you Papa Cornbread.(Another side note: In Tennessee my father was know as Cornbread. He won the nickname off some guy in a game of pool. I swear to God. People sometimes called me Corn Muffin. Yep.)
I healthified this skillet.
Ingredients: A Small Sweet Potato
Chicken Sausage, or Veggie Sausage, or Pork if you are feelin' porky.
Salt and Peppa
Chop, chop, choparoo!
Get the Peppers, Onions and Potato started in a med-high pan with about 1 TLBS of Olive Oil or Butta, or BOTH!... for richness says Paula Dean.
Get the veg going real good before you add the Chicken Sausage. It will probably already be cooked and you are just browning it. We are also caramelizing the onion and peppers so after you add the Sausage put in on med-low and let it go for a good long while. Stir in every once in a while, but let the taters get brown and the onions get gooey.
After this skillet of dreams is sufficiently cooked we shall DEGLAZE!!!!Which is always fun. Just give the balsamic a few turns around the pan. Watch out that your face is not right over the pan. Evaporating vinegar can be intense for your nose and eyes. You could deglaze with anything. Wine, chicken stock, juice, juices...Practice your deglazing kittens. Shake, shake, shake on some S&P.
Now plate it up ,crack open a somethin' (For me it was a yummy root beer!), go sit outside and eat with the fireflies and Chicago bunnies--which are like rats. Oh, and watch the people walking by bein' all jealous that you made yourself dinner and all they eat is Lean Cuisine.
And then frolic off to play with your friends, Austin and Tiffany. Everyone should have an Austin and Tiffany. Maybe they'll let me bake them something...
Update: We totally baked. We made Healthy Oatmeal Amaretto cookies. They were more like breakfast scones. Hearty...not so treaty.