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Tailored for two: a chef extraordinaire shares delectable, scaled-down recipes.

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Whether as an empty nester, a newlywed, or a harried parent planning a romantic dinner while the kids are away, odds are you're going to find yourself cooking for two at some point in your life. Most recipes are designed to serve six people, so cooking the right amount can be challenging. "Scaling down recipes is not always as easy as simple division," says Christopher Kimball, host of PBS' America's Test Kitchen. "Many recipes require customization to make them work in smaller quantities." The chef extraordinaire shares delectable just-for-two recipes from America's Test Kitchen's Cooking for Two 2011 cookbook.

Stuffed Acorn Squash with Barley

"For this recipe, we used just one squash," Kimball explains, "which we split, roasted, and then used to bulk up the filling so there are no leftovers, and all you need is one squash for dinner for two. Plus, barley is a high-fiber, high-protein grain, which increases the satisfaction level and nutrient quotient of this simple supper. This is a hearty, satisfying, and delicious vegetarian dinner that will woo both veggie fans and meat lovers." Make sure to use pearl barley, not hulled barley, in this recipe-hulled barley takes much longer to cook.

Ingredients
    1 small acorn squash (about 1 1/2
      pounds), halved and seeded
    2 tablespoons olive oil
      Salt and pepper
  1/4 cup pearl barley
  1/2 fennel bulb (about 6 ounces),
      trimmed of stalks, cored, and
      chopped fine
    1 shallot, minced
    3 garlic cloves, minced
  1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  1/4 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
      or 1 pinch dried thyme
1 1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese,
      grated (about 3/4 cup)
    2 tablespoons minced fresh
      parsley
    2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
    1 tablespoon unsalted butter
      Balsamic vinegar, for serving

Directions

Adjust oven racks to upper-middle and
lower-middle positions and heat oven
to 400 degrees. Line rimmed baking
sheet with aluminum foil and spray
with vegetable oil spray.

Brush cut sides of squash with 1
tablespoon oil, season with salt and
pepper, and lay cut-side down on
prepared baking sheet. Roast on lower-middle
rack until tender (tip of paring
knife can be slipped into flesh with no
resistance), 45 to 55 minutes. Remove
squash from oven and increase oven
temperature to 450 degrees.

Meanwhile, bring 2 cups water to
boil in small saucepan. Stir in barley
and 1/4 teaspoon salt and cook until
barley is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.
Drain and set aside.

Wipe saucepan dry, add remaining 1
tablespoon oil, and heat over medium
heat until shimmering. Stir in fennel
and shallot and cook until softened
and lightly browned, 5 to 7 minutes.
Stir in garlic, coriander, and thyme
and cook until fragrant, about
30 seconds.

Off heat, stir in cooked barley, 1/2
cup Parmesan, parsley, pine nuts,
and butter. Season with salt and
pepper to taste.

Flip roasted squash over and scoop
out flesh, leaving 1/8-inch thickness of
flesh in each shell. Gently fold cooked
squash into barley mixture, then
mound mixture evenly in squash
shells. (Stuffed squash can be covered
loosely with plastic wrap and
refrigerated for up to 4 hours. Finish
and bake as directed, increasing
baking time to 25 to 30 minutes.)

Sprinkle squash with remaining 1/4
cup Parmesan. Bake on upper-middle
rack until cheese is melted, 5 to 10
minutes. Drizzle with balsamic
vinegar to taste and serve.

Per serving

Calories: 547

Fat: 31 g

Sodium: 375 mg

Carbohydrate: 52 g

Fiber: 14 g

Protein: 15 g

Diabetic Exchanges:
1.5 carbohydrate, 1 no starchy
vegetable, 1 medium-fat
cheese, 5.5 fat


Sauteed Pork Cutlets with Mustard-Cider Sauce

"This recipe goes from pan to table in under 15 minutes," Kimball says, "and has a rich yet brightly flavored sauce that makes it appealing no matter what the temperature outside."

Ingredients
 12 ounces boneless country-style
    pork ribs, trimmed of excess fat,
    cut and pounded into cutlets
    Salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
  1 tablespoon olive oil
  1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut
    into 2 pieces
  1 shallot, minced
1/2 teaspoon unbleached all-purpose
    flour
1/4 cup low-sodium chicken
    broth
1/4 cup apple cider
1/4 teaspoon minced fresh
    sage, parsley, or thyme
  2 teaspoons whole-grain
    mustard

Directions

Adjust oven rack to middle
position and heat oven to 200
degrees. Pat cutlets dry with paper
towels and season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle sugar evenly over each cutlet.
Heat oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high
heat until just smoking. Add I piece
butter, let melt, and quickly add cutlets.
Cook cutlets until browned on both
sides, 2 to 4 minutes. Transfer cutlets
to large plate and keep warm in oven
while making sauce.

Add shallot to fat left in skillet and
cook over medium heat until softened,
about 1 minute. Stir in flour and cook
for 30 seconds. Whisk in broth, cider,
and sage and bring to boil. Reduce heat
to low and simmer until slightly
thickened, 2 to 3 minutes.

Off heat, whisk in mustard,
remaining 1 piece butter, and any
accumulated juice from pork. Season
sauce with salt and pepper to taste,
spoon over pork, and serve.

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Per serving

Calories: 328

Fat: 24 g

Sodium: 171 mg

Carbohydrate: 7 g

Fiber: 0.3 g

Protein: 21 g

Diabetic
Exchanges:
0.25 fruit,
3 medium-fat
meat, 3 fat


For an additional recipe fit for two, visit saturdayeveningpost.com/ recipes-for-2.
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Author:Dalton, Corey Michael
Publication:Saturday Evening Post
Article Type:Recipe
Date:Sep 1, 2011
Words:895
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