Don’t Forget the Sauce!
Last month I started a new category for this blog: Cooking for One (or Two). Lots of circumstances leave us in a position that we are cooking for just ourselves. You might be a new graduate in your first apartment and living on your own for the first time. You might have recently gone through a divorce or lost your spouse and now find yourself solo once again. Or perhaps it’s the two of you now that your kids have finally flown the coop. Cooking is the best way I know to control what you eat, make healthier food choices, and save money. And, at least for me, cooking is cathartic and provides a creative outlet during times I might feel lonely.Today’s tip is all about sauces. Sauces are often what take our food from boring and bland to flavor filled and exciting, but it can be a challenge when cooking for one or two. How are you going to make a single serving of Béarnaise Sauce? Who wants to go through the effort of making compound butter in a one or tablespoon portion? The answer is to make sauces in a regular recipe size, but to preserve them – either canned or in the freezer – in small portion sizes.If you are canning, use half pint jelly jars so the jarred sauce, like this Rhubarb BBQ Sauce, doesn’t go bad before you use it up. Although sauces like my Spicy Plum Mustard Sauce don’t spoil very quickly, it’s still wise to process them in smaller jars rather than a single large one.Many sauces work well to freeze. Basil Pesto, Sundried Tomato and Almond Pesto, Garlic Scape Pesto, Arugula Pesto or really any kind of herb based pesto can be put into ice cube trays to freeze. Other sauces also work well to freeze like this – Romesco Sauce, Sicilian Pesto, Poblano-Yellow Pepper Sauce, or Pistachio Pesto. When frozen, pop the cubes into a plastic bag to store. Usually 1 or 2 cubes is the perfect portion for a single serving.Many pasta sauces, like this Bolognese Sauce, can be made in large batches, then frozen in half quart plastic containers. You can thaw and reheat the sauce in the microwave while the pasta cooks and have dinner on the table in about 15 minutes flat.Sometimes it’s just not possible to store sauces in single servings. Anything that is thickened with cornstarch will lose it’s thickening quality when frozen. Delicate sauces like Hollandaise or Béarnaise will break if frozen. So I create workarounds like the Béarnaise-Style Compound Butter above. It tastes just as yummy on a steak, and you can store this in the freezer. Make a big log of it and wrap it well in plastic wrap, then just slice off a piece when you want to use some. I hope this post inspires you to get cooking, and always remember, just because you’re cooking for one or two doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice the sauce!