I’m trying hard to remember to cut recipes in half. There are only two of us, and I hate throwing food away. Making potato salad for only two people with no leftovers may seem counterproductive, but just how often can you eat from that big bowl of potato salad before you don’t want to see potato salad again for a long time?
Tossing food is not only a waste of the food, but a waste of the time it took to prepare it. It’s nice to have leftovers but sometimes leftovers just make me tired.
I admit to borrowing recipes that sound good, and I have a hard time remembering to halve everything while cooking. So whenever I use someone else’s recipe, I immediately change the ingredients to half of what is called for and make a note that I did it. It’s really easy to ruin an entire dish by forgetting to cut something in half. Like the salt. And it’s a simple thing to convert a recipe back to feed four people.
Easiest pasta ever
Easiest pasta ever!
When all you can get in the grocery at this time of year are winter tomatoes that look pretty pathetic, don’t give up on tomatoes.
Quarter two tomatoes and toss with a few slices of onion, a smashed garlic clove, and a solid drizzle of olive oil. Roast in a 375 oven in a sided broiler pan or jelly roll pan for about 3-35 minutes. When cooled somewhat, roughly chop, season to taste with salt and pepper and toss with hot pasta. Top with fresh parmesan and serve with crusty Italian bread and a fresh salad for a tasty, easy meal.
A riff on the recipe: roast any other vegetables that sound good such as eggplant or summer squash.
Our weather is cooling a bit, putting a hint of autumn in the air. And soup is beginning to sound good. Even though the weather is changing, tomatoes are still ripening and I know that after the night temperatures drop into the forties, the flavor starts deteriorating quickly. So, to use the ones that are ripe now, I made a roasted vegetable soup for dinner.
Nothing fancy, just roasted vegetables pureed with cooked red lentils for some extra texture and fiber. It’s pretty fast and can be prepped well ahead of time when you have an hour for the roasting. You can add whatever vegetables are available – eggplant, summer squash, winter squash, okra, sweet potatoes.
Roasted tomato vegetable soup (for two)
6-7 tomatoes, any variety
2 cloves garlic
½ cup chopped carrots
2 sweet peppers
½ c. red lentils
1 good-sized sprig of basil
Cut the tomatoes into quarters and put them in a roasting pan. Smash the garlic cloves and add to the pan. Add the carrots to the pan. Drizzle with olive oil and roast 45 minutes at 375. Cool.
Cut the peppers in half, seed and flatten them. Put in another roasting pan and roast for about half an hour in the same oven. When the peppers are tender and the skins beginning to blacken, remove them from the oven and put in a bowl with a plate over it to let them steam further. Peel when cool.
Cover the lentils with water and simmer for about 20 minutes until tender. Cool.
Add everything to the blender with the basil and blend until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and a hint of sugar or agave syrup.
You can make this creamy by adding sour cream, yogurt or ricotta; make it Spanish by adding cumin and chile. Sriracha makes it spicy-sweet. And garlic croutons add another dimension.