26 August 2010

The Pleasures Of Cooking For One

If you read this blog because you love cookbooks, then Judith Jones needs no introduction. Best known as an editor who found and nurtured some of our favorite cookbook authors, including Julia Child and James Beard, she also co-authored several cookbooks with husband Evan Jones.

Jones died in 1996, and Judith Jones found herself bereft and food lost its flavor for her because there was no one to share a meal with from day to day. She wrote:

“I was not sure that I would ever enjoy preparing a meal for myself and eating alone. I was wrong, and I soon realized that the pleasure that we shared together was something to honor. I found myself at the end of the day looking forward to cooking, making recipes that work for one, and then sitting down and savoring a good meal.”

After cooking for "one" for a time, she decided to impart her wisdom to others and she wrote The Pleasures Of Cooking For One. While it is a cookbook, it seems like so much more. Lest you think that the recipes are for grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup, think again. There are single servings for Beef and Kidney Pi, Boeuf Bourguignon and this...

Osso Buco With Gremolata

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 (2-inch) veal shank, cut across the bone
1 small-to-medium onion, chopped
½ carrot, peeled and chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped
1 small leek or 1/2 large leek, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 cup chicken broth
Freshly ground pepper
Small sprig of fresh rosemary or a pinch of dried rosemary
5 or 6 fresh parsley stems

1 small garlic clove, peeled and minced
About 2 strips lemon peel (without pith), minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

Heat the oil in your small pot. Rub salt over the veal shank, and put it into the sizzling oil. Brown lightly on one side, then turn and brown the other. Turn the veal on its side to make room for the onion, carrot, tomato and leek pieces. Sauté them for a minute or two , then flip the shank over so it is bone-side down, and pour in the wine. Stir to get up any browned bits, and reduce the wine by half. Pour in the broth; add several grindings of pepper, lay the rosemary and parsley stems on top, and cover. Let cook for 1 3/4 hours at a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, put together the gremolata – the tasty, garlicky topping – by simply mixing the minced garlic, lemon peel and parsley together.

When the meat is very tender, remove it to a warm plate, discarding the parsley stems, and sprinkle the top with as much of the gremolata as you like. Eat with some crusty bread to sop up the sauce. And don’t forget the marrow. Use a little coffee spoon to scrape it out and extract the last precious morsel.

And now, as Jones' most famous editee might say, Bon Appétit.

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