When she has the kitchen all to herself, Phyllis Grant of Dash and Bella cooks beautiful iterations of what solo meals were always meant to be: exactly what you want, when and where you want them.
Today: A satisfying lunch for one that you'll want to eat with your fingers, straight out of the pan.
Start your weekly freezer excavation.
Find pastries from 2013. Let the oven transform them into something gooey and brand new for your kids. Sigh with nostalgia as Pandora spits out “Sweet Jane” by the Cowboy Junkies. Google when this song came out.
No way that’s crazy. It came out the year I graduated from high school.
Nothing, my love.
Reaffirm your goal not to be that mom who complains about being so fucking old.
When is daddy coming home for good?
Wish you didn’t have to let this information land.
Go back to the freezer. The homebase. Search for your kind of comfort. Something involving peas, bacon, carbs.
Find frozen peas.
Hold your breath, hold your tongue, and watch Mr. Perpetual Accident Waiting to Happen stand up on his chair -- water glass stacked on top of napkin on top of fork on top of pastry scraps -- and jump to the floor. High five his success as he safely reaches the dishwasher and abstractly inserts the dishes.
Hand over a glass of kefir to protein him up.
Google peas and start gathering some parenting arsenal: Dash, did you know that peas are a fruit?
Think about it. Is there any kind of fruit you don’t like?
Well, yes. Now there is. PEAS!!!
Come on, dude. Open your mind.
No way, mom. Parenting. Fail.
Send him to Legoland.
Scratch at your chest. Wish you could remove your heart, set it in a dish for the summer, and not feel it ache anymore.
Find a frozen braid of bacon and a bag of croutons underneath five pounds of pizza. Know you are close.
Re-toast the frozen bread. Dress the peas in brown butter. Seal it all together with a shallot garlic vinegar potion. Eat half the bacon. Crumble the rest on top.
Look down at your panzanella. Feel incomplete. Ask yourself: What would Nigella Lawson do?
She would put on a bra. She would throw some mint on top of the panzanella. She would eat it by herself, with her fingers, right out of the pan.
Makes a large lunch for 1
4 slices stale white bread, yielding about 2 cups bread cubes
Large pinch kosher salt (about 1/16 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices bacon
1 small shallot, peeled and diced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 large clove garlic, diced or grated or pressed (about 1 teaspoon)
1/4 cup sherry vinegar
1 teaspoon creamy Grey Poupon mustard
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons unsalted butter
1 cup frozen peas
1/16 teaspoon kosher salt
6 sprigs mint
Photos by Phyllis Grant