JANE DOERFER is the director of Going Solo in the Kitchen, a cooking school for solo cooks in Apalachicola, Florida. She has written, collaborated on, or produced four other books: The Pantry Gourmet, The Victory Garden Cookbook, The Legal Sea Foods Cookbook, and Crockett's Tool Shed. A former food columnist for Horticulture magazine and food editor for New England Living magazine, Doerfer has taught cooking for more than twenty years.
Doerfer, who publishes a travel newsletter called Going Solo, also runs Going Solo in the Kitchen, a cooking school for cooks on their own. She provides more than 300 single-serving recipes along with the tricks and strategies she has devised to make cooking for oneself appealing, efficient, and economical. Many of the recipes include two or more variations, and there are ideas for leftovers as well. Just about all are quick and simple to prepare, and they are also tempting enough to lure "solos" used to depending on takeout or microwave dinners into the kitchen for some real food. Recommended.
Eating alone need not be a dispiriting experience of takeout containers and stand-up ``sink cuisine,'' suggests Doerfer. She transforms the solo meal with strategies for food shopping, preparation and storage. Use a freezer as a cold-storage pantry for flavorful ingredients like bacon, herbs and ginger root, she advises; use smaller utensils for single servings. More than 350 recipes emphasize flavorful, often seasonal foods and include nods to ethnic cuisines (Sauteed Cucumbers with Lemongrass), vegetarian dishes (Red Beans and Rice) and old-fashioned favorites (Berry Pie for One). Most recipes are ready in less than 30 minutes: Watercress with Pork Soup takes considerably less time. Doerfer, who runs a Florida cooking school with the same name as the title, offers Southern specialties like Gumbo and Sweet Potato Corncakes; the co-author of The Legal Sea Foods Cookbook, she also details Baked Hake with Scallions and a simple Sole with Browned Butter. Noting that a meal chosen and prepared with care nourishes body and soul, Doerfer makes such meals possible for solo cooks. (May)