Thursday, April 1, 2010

Matzah Pizza, and Musings on Cooking Alone







My two previous posts, in an effort to distract myself, did somewhat gloss over the fact that last Sunday Zach had to depart on 5 months of out-of-town clinical rotations. While we're hoping - at least during the first two months, when he is located within reach of an afternoon's drive - that he may be able to come home on the weekends when he's not on call, but for the length of the weekdays, and the entire months when he's forced away (thanks to his medical school and the military) to places such as Texas and Ohio, we find far too many miles between us. Even though I know the time will speed by, and he'll be back home again soon, I still miss him oh so much.

On the culinary front, much as when Zach was on base in Alabama for Officer's Training last year, I once again find myself faced with the issue of cooking and dining alone. Before I met Zach, cooking for just myself seemed purely natural, comfortable, unhindered. Even when I moved out of the college apartment I shared with 4 other girls and purchased my first house, finding myself completely solo in my living arrangements, cooking a leisurely, carefully prepared supper at the end of the day seemed perfectly normal, whether I was cooking for a large group of fellow grad students or co-workers, or whether I was cooking for simply myself. Only now, after I've discovered and become accustomed to the delights of cooking with, and for, someone you love deeply and with whom you share a home and a kitchen, does the absence of that joy stand out in sharp relief as you face the stove at the end of the day. Once again, I find myself contemplating how to nourish my singular self over the next few months until Zach returns home again. I could have oatmeal for dinner every night (tempting, but lacking sorely in variety or adequate vegetable content), or steam a large bowl of broccoli every night (an improvement on the vegetable content, but still inadequate in terms of nutritional variety), or, perhaps, I could approach the task at hand like a problem to be solved, rather than a sorrow to be borne, and attempt to relearn how to cook for myself - just myself. (and the good friends who will surely keep me company in the days to come, including you, my wonderful blog-friends!)

(The kitties, of course, are doing a wonderful job of keeping me company as well... :-)





So, have I conquered the challenge yet? Heavens no. In the four long days since Zach has been practicing his family medicine skills in South Georgia and I've been pulling weeds and reading books on the back patio here in Atlanta, I had mazah ball soup for one nights' supper - an easy solution, thanks to Passover - and I then came down with a torturous stomach bug that has prevented me from eating anything at all. Tonight, though, feeling much improved and ready to reconsider foods beyond water and bananas, I've settled happily upon matzah pizza: A simple combination of whole wheat matzah, with ample tomato sauce and plentiful spinach, a gentle sprinkling of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, and lots of Mrs. Dash seasoning to make everything just a bit spicy, all toasted in a 375 degree oven for just a few minutes. Definitely far from gourmet, but yet still comforting, nutritiously balanced, Passover-friendly, and totally delicious.

We'll work on the singular gourmet tomorrow night...







(Kosher for Passover tomato sauce, all the way from Israel! I know, I know, I should make my own tomato sauce, and I usually do, but tonight I worked in the garden instead... and this sauce gets a pass for the nostalgia factor, and for being completely scrumptious, wonderfully thick, and packed with oregano and basil!)





On the blog this time last year... Peanut Stew!

14 comments:

Happy Me said...

Cooking and eating alone really is much more difficult once you've shared it with someone you love!

Hopefully Zach's rotation passes quickly so you are together again soon!

Your Matzah Pizza looks delicious!!

Bellini Valli said...

You will find that blogging about your food while you are cooking for 1 will make your meals more interesting.This is what works for me.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Your kitties are so cute! Matzah pizza is a very good idea!

Beth said...

Awww, cooking alone is no fun, and I'll admit when I have to do it, I normally end up eating something sad. Way to keep it happy with the pizza!

sophia said...

Aw, it must be hard...esp with missing Zach...but solitary moments are really sweet and nice, too! I sometimes like cooking for myself better, because I dont have to worry about making it look good, or suit the person's tastes.

Jennie said...

You might want to take a look at Judith Jones's new book The Pleasures of Cooking for One, especially if you're feeling like going gourmet. (I have to admit, many of her recipes were a bit too ambitious for me.) Most of her recipes are scaled down to serve one, or to provide leftovers that you can transform into something else for another meal. Good luck, and in the meantime, you can't go wrong with pizza!

The Diva on a Diet said...

Cooking for one is definitely a challenge. Personally, I find it difficult to invest the same about of time and care in cooking when I'm just doing it for myself. But if you stop to think about it - why should that be? Don't we love ourselves enough to nourish ourselves properly? Even when its just us alone? We should! I have to remind myself of that every now and again ... because left to my own devices for too long, I'd exist on a diet of cold cereal. :(

I do hope Zach's rotation will pass quickly - 5 months seems like a long time - and that you'll find ways to meet in the middle.

Will look forward to your solo cooking explorations and, as always, love those beautiful kitties!!!

xoxoxoxo

Anonymous said...

Um, what I am most interested in is--did you Kosher the microwave before making this matzah pizza? ;)

MelindaRD said...

Oh matzo pizza, how I love thee!

stephchows said...

i had no clue there was kosher pasta sauce! lol. good luck girl cooking solo! At least you have the kitties :)

mangocheeks said...

oh Astra you have written how I would feel if my DH was to go away and I'd have to cook just for myself. I just wouldn't cook with for myself in the same way. It would be junk and lazy food all the time.

The matzah pizza sure looks good and a new one to me.

Kitties look great sprawled all over your bed.

Kerstin said...

Aww, I'm sorry you guys are going to be apart :( But I'm sure the 5 months will fly by quickly.

I think your pizza sounds so tasty! I make mini pizzas on bagels sometimes when I'm cooking for just myself.

Allie said...

Aw... I totally feel you on this. P is leaving in May until August and I'll be cooking solo right along with you!

Johanna GGG said...

oh I am so behind and just catching up with your life - that is sad to hear zach is so far away from you - I bet you spend a lot of time on the phone and email as well as the blog to keep in touch!

I haven't spent much time living alone but when I did I enjoyed it and found myself doing a lot of roasted vegetables which would then go into warm salads and soups. In warmer weather it was lots of simple salads - there is a certain freedom in cooking solo - hope you enjoy lots of sweet potatoes and cucumbers while you can!