Cover image for Solo : a modern cookbook for a party of one / Anita Lo ; illustrations by Julia Rothman.
Title:
Solo : a modern cookbook for a party of one / Anita Lo ; illustrations by Julia Rothman.
Author:
ISBN:
9780451493606
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Alfred A. Knopf, [2018]
Physical Description:
xiii, 236 pages : color illustrations ; 24 cm
General Note:
"This is a Borzoi book."

Includes index.
Contents:
Vegetable-focused mains -- Noodles and rice -- Fish and shellfish -- Poultry -- Meat -- Sides and basics -- Sweets.
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641.5611 LO Book Adult General Collection
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Summary

Summary

EATER 'S COOKBOOK OF THE YEAR

From the Michelin-starred chef and Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters contestant--a hilarious, self-deprecating, gorgeous new cookbook--the ultimate guide to cooking for one. With four-color illustrations by Julia Rothman throughout.

The life of a chef can be a lonely one, with odd hours and late-night meals. But as a result, Anita Lo believes that cooking and dining for one can, and should, be blissful and empowering. In Solo, she gives us a guide to self-love through the best means possible--delicious food--in 101 accessible, contemporary, and sophisticated recipes that serve one.

Drawn from her childhood, her years spent cooking around the world, and her extensive travels, these are globally inspired dishes from Lo's own repertoire that cater to the home table. Think Steamed Seabass with Shiitakes; Smoky Eggplant and Scallion Frittata; Duck Bolognese; Chicken Pho; Slow Cooker Shortrib with Caramelized Endive; Broccoli Stem Slaw; Chicken Tagine with Couscous; and Peanut Butter Chocolate Pie--even a New England clambake for one. ( Pssst! Want to share? Don't worry, these recipes are easily multiplied!)


Author Notes

ANITA LO is an acclaimed chef who worked at Bouley and Chanterelle before opening the Michelin-starred restaurant annisa in the heart of Manhattan's Greenwich Village in 2000, which she ran until it closed in 2017. Food & Wine named her one of ten Best New Chefs in America, and The Village Voice proclaimed her Best New Restaurant Chef. She has appeared on Top Chef Masters, Iron Chef America, and Chopped; in 2015, she became the first female guest chef to cook at the White House. She lives in New York City and on Long Island.


Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this marvelous debut cookbook, Lo, who was chef and owner of the restaurant Annisa in New York City for 17 years, recalls, "I've been dumped almost as many times as I've been in relationships," then lays the groundwork for a clever compilation of recipes fit for anyone, not just for the lonely-hearted. Single-serving, one-dish meals include a Japanese-inspired ochazuke made with leftover cooked rice and Korean jap chae noodles that Lo learned to make while training as a chef in Seoul. Recipes include New Orleans-style barbecued shrimp, and grilled chicken breast with cumin, limes, and served with chilaquiles (a Mexican breakfast dish of leftover tortillas). Along the way, Lo entertains with sometimes self-deprecating stories, like the one about the Icelandic artist who broke up with her after they found a dead body on a date (and the Valentine's Day dish the experience inspired-roasted arctic char with lentils and dates). "Don't Waste It!" tips suggest ideas for leftovers (the unused coconut milk from Thai curry chicken can then be used in caramelized bananas), and a chapter on desserts includes cakes and pies, as well as fresh grapefruit enhanced by elderflower syrup and mint. A section on ingredients and equipment provides a form for logging ingredients and dishes kept in the freezer. Lo's quirky tone and charming illustrations make this a winner. (Nov.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


New York Review of Books Review

A FEW WEEKS ago, I received a crowd-source-designed cutting board with a phone dock carved into one corner. The message: The internet's place is in the kitchen. True/ not true. While it's miraculous to have instant access to all chocolate chip cookie recipes at once, people still want to own a bound collection of recipes from someone they trust to give them the chocolate chip recipe. More than just an imprimatur of taste and talent, cookbooks offer us narrative and vision. A good cookbook is a trusted friend. Try sticking that in your cutting board, interwebs. This season brings us new books from some of the food world's best-selling BFFs. ft also offers a welcome range of accents and insights that will expand your pantry - and your mind. The London chef (and New York Times contributor) Yotam Ottolenghi is celebrated for his modern spin on eastern Mediterranean cuisine. So celebrated that grocery chains in the United Kingdom now stock za'atar and sumac. But his recipes have rarely been of the breezy, Ttiesday-night variety. Along with his co-authors, Tara Wigley and Esme Howarth, he remedies that with ottolenghi simple (Clarkson Potter, $35), in which almost all the recipes have fewer than 10 ingredients, and many can be made in under 30 minutes. (Other dish categories include "LazyDay" and "Easier Than You Think.") While some of those ingredients are head-slappers for those of us without, say, nigella seeds and rose harissa (!) in our cupboards, recipes like watermelon, green apple and lime salad; lamb and pistachio patties with sumac yogurt sauce; and Nutella, sesame and hazelnut rolls are worth the trip to Amazon or the local spice shop. Every recipe has a brightness, a twist and a unique layer of flavor that you rarely get at home on a weeknight. My friend the food writer Charlotte Druckman - the kind of person who ordered Ottolenghi's first book on Amazon.co.uk long before it was published here - tipped me Off to CASABLANCA: My Moroccan Food (Firefly, $35), insisting that it had the potential to Ottolenghi-fy North African fare. Written by the British-based food blogger Nargisse Benkabbou, who was comforted by her mother's tagines while growing up in Belgium, this book has the friendly, approachable mien - not to mention the familiarity with the limitations of British grocery stores - of her fellow London blogger Meera Sodha's "Made in India." While Paula Wolfert acolytes might scoff at some of Benkabbou's modern interpretations, the rest of us will gladly use spaghetti in place of vermicelli in a cinnamon-laced chicken and chickpea soup that's transformed with a last-minute whisking of lemon juice, egg yolk and parsley. And we'll find authentic happiness in the results of marinating short ribs in ras el hanout, peaches, ketchup (!) and a few other things before roasting them into something intoxicatingly new. Benkabbou has you making your own ras el hanout spice blend and harissa, and you'll be the better for what's in those jars. Because after cooking from "Casablanca," you'll want to eat everything over couscous. Cal Peternell's pantry (and sly humor) is right there in his title: ALMONDS, ANCHOVIES, AND PANCETTA: A Vegetarian Cookbook, Kind Of (Morrow/HarperCollins, $25.99). The author of "Twelve Recipes" opens the almond section with a quote from President Barack Obama and the line "1 miss President Obama" before free-associating about, among other things, horny Greek gods, Chez Panisse (where he cooked for nearly 22 years), Gabriel García Márquez and Mom's kitchen. In short, it's an extremely good read, with recipes that have a charmingly loose-limbed sophistication and range of references, be it the Aleppo pepper flakes in muhammara that trigger a line from Nabokov's "Ada," Caesar-leaning gougeres that Peternell developed for a friend in need of a killer morning-after egg dish or a baconwrapped potato gratín that's his attempt at "pushing the bacon envelope by actually making a bacon envelope and stuffing potatoes inside it." And the story behind those pork meatballs with farro, hazelnuts and sage His failure is your gain. Like the Chez Panisse alumna Samin Nosrat, Peternell explodes the formulaic recipe format, speaking directly and affectionately to his readers to help them use every sense - and every last anchovy - to become better, more instinctive cooks. Anita Lo, who was the chef-owner of New York City's Anissa for almost two decades, also has humor in her wellstocked arsenal. Dry, self-deprecating, sometimes shocking humor. (One of the recipe headnotes involves a dead body ... followed by a breakup.) She pairs it with her Michelin-starred chops in SOLO: A Modern Cookbookfor a Party of One (Knopf, $28.95). Rather than writing a cheffy book for entertaining, Lo - who says she put the "Lo" in "solo" and the "A Lo" in "alone" - wants those who cook for themselves to do it with (self-) love. Fans of the Franco-Yankee dishes in Judith Jones's "The Pleasures of Cooking for One" will be jazzed to spin the globe with Lo, whose travels and culinary background have made her fluent in Chinese, Korean, Thai and Japanese cuisines, among others. Lo never stints on flavor, often adapting restaurant- techniques for the toaster oven (amen). She also teaches memorable lessons in eliminating food waste, such as a panroasted chicken breast with roasted broccoli panzanella recipe that's accompanied by a "Don't Waste ft!" tip that recommends buying a basil plant so you'll have something to take care of. Not alone Even the recipe for "a single, broken egg on a bed of torn, wilted, bitter greens with blue cheese" can be doubled. Lo's book aims to avoid leftovers. Julia Ttirshen's celebrates them. NOW & AGAIN: Go-To Recipes, Inspired Menus and Endless Ideas for Reinventing Leftovers (Chronicle, $35) provides seasonal menus - be it a summery birthday lunch for her wife, Grace, or a wintry steak house dinner for vegetarians - each followed by "ft's Me Again," a page of great ideas for the day after ... and the day after that. The book concludes with seven thoughtful lists: for what to do with takeout leftovers, cooked rice, not-so-new produce and so on. Ttirshen, who developed recipes for early-stage Gwyneth Paltrow and whose previous cookbooks are "Small Victories" and "Feed the Resistance," is at the forefront of the new generation of authentic, approachable authors aiming to empower readers who might be newish to the kitchen. Are her "card night enchiladas" going to move the needle on 21st-century home cooking No, but opening up readers' minds to the idea of turning that leftover kale salad into a delicious Spanish soup or Persian frittata just might. Food waste: so last decade! The cooks at Noma in Copenhagen know a lot about making scraps into Michelin stars. The hyperlocal, hyperseasonal restaurant has a long winter to slog through. The Noma chef René Redzepi's secret for building tremendous flavor when he's on month four of root vegetables is fermentation, so much so that he built a lab dedicated to the study of what enzymes do to food. As overseen by the Canadian chef David Zilber, the lab's vinegars, kombuchas, pickles, garums, black fruits and vegetables and inculcated legumes stealthily launch little flavor bombs on every plate. There have been plenty of excellent fermentation guides in the last decade - all leading back to the work of the master, Sandor Elix Katz's "The Art of Fermentation." But Redzepi and Zilber's the noma guide to fermentation: Foundations of Flavor (Artisan, $40) IS the scientifically geekiest, the most modern and the most radical. It's also one of the most illuminating. I'm someone who has all manner of Ball jars and mothers bubbling under her kitchen sink, but this book helped me to finally understand the processes involved, spurring me to dream of making crazier and crazier things. By detaching ferments from their cultural history (Why does sauerkraut have to be made from cabbage Miso from soybeans), they inspire you to think differently, be it kombucha made not from tea but from leftover coffee grounds or blitzed rose petals, or vinegar made from whiskey or butternut squash. Each recipe is accompanied by ideas for what to actually do with the stuff, bending the mind further to open new food pathways. Will I be making coffee-kombucha tiramisu and even braising parsnips in the stuff Yep. And I'm going to try my hand at hazelnut miso and roasted chicken wing garum. The guy living on the other side of my kitchen wall might not appreciate the fact that I've been blasted into another bubbly dimension of flavor, but my guests certainly will. SEASON: Big Flavors, Beautiful Food (Chronicle, $35) IS, like many of the books included here, highly personal. The San Francisco Chronicle columnist and photographer Nik Sharma began his food blog, A Brown Table, as a creative outlet while working as a medical researcher at Georgetown University. The blog was also a means to explore his identity both as a newly out gay man and as an Indian immigrant taking in the many flavors and cultures around him. His recipe collection is a moodily photographed affair, with black backgrounds putting Sharma's brown hands - a welcome sight in the food world - and vibrant food in chiaroscuro relief. Many of the recipes require a trip to Kalustyan's for Kashmiri chile, makrut lime leaves and jaggery sugar, but dishes like a spiky green-chutneyrubbed roast chicken, sweet potato fries with basil yogurt sauce and steak with orange peel and coriander offer both immediate satisfaction and cool new ideas. Not all of the recipes worked as written - that chicken is roasted at 400 degrees for two shriveling hours (!!!) - but since this is a book for experienced home cooks looking to broaden their palates, one can, as they say, work with it. The pizza trend isn't slowing down, in restaurant or home kitchens. While I loved Joe Beddia's "Pizza Camp" when it came out a year or so ago, Marc Vetri currently has my full attention. The Philadelphia chef spent time in Italy - bless him for his sacrifice - embedding with the masters of several styles to help us ace floppy Neapolitan pies, puffy-edged Roman crusts, rectangular pizza al taglio and more. MASTERING PIZZA: The Art and Practice of Handmade Pizza, Focaccia, and Calzone (Ten Speed, $29.99) goes deep each style, starting with the fundamentals. (Let's just say there is a full chapter on flour.) Vetri and his co-author, David Joachim, take every kind of pizza-maker into consideration. Whether you're using a wood-burning oven, a home oven or a Big Green Egg; conventional flour and storebought yeast or home-milled grains and natural sourdough leaven; whether you want an old-school Naples dough with 60 or 70 percent hydration, they've got you. Step-by-step photos and granular instructions ease fear and abet deliciousness, be it for a carbonara pie or an entry-level margherita al taglio, baked in a sheet pan for zero stress. I can't think of a better way to heat your home this winter. There are sweet new ways to warm up this season as well. Lisa Ludwinski's SISTER PIE: The Recipes and Stories of a Big-Hearted Bakery in Detroit (Lorena Jones/Ten Speed, $25) aims to warm the heart, too. The scrappy bakery has used pie, community engagement and employee #dancebreaks to transform a former beauty salon into a hub for all. The pies are of the bakers-in-cute-bandanna moment: seasonal, experimental and over-the-top delicious, with zero nostalgia. Why make pumpkin pie when you can serve cardamom tahini squash or buttermilk pumpkin streusei Apple So basic. Try apple sage gouda. Rhubarb meets rosemary, blueberries get balsamic and peach-ginger pie is topped not with crust but with cornmeal biscuits. The conversational instructions are steady guides: Even I, a lifelong crust-bungler, ended up proudly Instagramming the hell out of my lattice. There are also savory hand pies, altgrainy cookies and treats (the buckwheat chocolate chip cookies are exceptional) and pretty breakfast ideas like jasmine creme fraiche scones. Some "Sister Salads" of the barley and bulgur variety randomly pop up at the end. Both the book and the bakery are fun, earnest and succeeding in their mission: Pie is one of the few things that can still bring us all together. Ludwinski and her scarved sistren owe much to the success of Christina Tosi's Milk Bar bakery. Tosi tapped into sophisticated New Yorkers' secret craving for the sugary junk of their childhood, sanctioning cereal milk, cornflakes and mini-marshmallows. Her third book, all about cake (Clarkson Potter, $35), written with Courtney McBroom, lays bare just how much work - and boundary-zapping creativity - goes into each slice. There's no such thing as a dump-and-stir cake in Tosi's world. Wait, I take that back: She has recipes for a molten chocolate microwave mug cake and a banana-chocolate-peanut butter crock-pot cake. But if you want to make a birthday cake, you need to be up for constructing a "bailer birthday sheet cake" that, in addition to cake and frosting, involves a vanilla milk soak and something called birthday crumbs. The resulting cake makes people clap like 3-year-olds when they see it, and groan and/or squeal when they taste it. This is crazy, as in crazy-good. Should you work your way through the Arnold Palmer sheet cake and on to the popcorn cake truffles, which are hard to explain except to say that you can only eat one (happily) The capital-F fancy layer cakes are definitely something to aspire to. With their unfrosted sides revealing strata of filling, crumbs, cake and more frosting, they disrupt the cake space. As with taxis and groceries, we didn't know we needed a new cake paradigm, but we're so glad to have it. Food52, the website co-founded by Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is also a new cooking paradigm. It launched by crowd-sourcing recipes with a new twist: The most delicious ones were given an editorial stamp of approval to reassure visitors that they had clicked on the best salmon recipe in a sea of search results. Born of Food52 creative director Kristen Miglore's popular "Genius Recipes" column, GENIUS DESSERTS: 100 Recipes That Will Change the Way You Bake (Ten Speed, $35) IS sourced primarily from published bakers, chefs and bloggers. Each recipe offers a hack to make you a better baker - or at least provides the definitive recipe for, say, lemon cake (via Maida Heatter and Toni Evans, which, along with Maialino's perfect olive oil cake, is also included in the delightfully illustrated "Cake" by Maira Kalman and Barbara Scott-Goodman) or peanut butter cookies (the City Bakery recipe, as tailored by The Times's Julia Moskin). The best light-bulb moments come from the Genius Tips, be it a food-processor frosting made from whipped cream and freeze-dried fruit, a three-ingredient cookie from the baking guru Dorie Greenspan or how to give stale cakes a new life. "Genius Desserts" saves us a search, whether digital or analog. Because if it's one thing those of us still in thrall to cookbooks need, it's a trusted editor who's actively cooking her way through the ever-growing pile. Let's hope that Food52, which is also behind the aforementioned phonecradling cutting board, is also working on a version that keeps your cookbook open to the right page. CHRISTINE MUHLKE is a contributing editor at Bon Appétit and the creator of the Xtine newsletter. She has written cookbooks with Eric Ripert and David Kinch. ONLINE: WANT MORE INSPIRATION Check out 30 additional cookbooks at www.nytimes.com/books.


Library Journal Review

Lo believes being alone doesn't mean one can't eat well. In fact, sometimes it means eating better, with a little skill and preparation. Lo (a Michelin-starred veteran of Iron Chef America and Top Chef Masters) doesn't compromise when it comes to good food, and this accessible collection of 101 recipes for solo cooks delivers. Lo emphasizes full flavors and simple techniques, recognizing that home cooks get hungry and tired. Her goal isn't fast food, but you won't spend all day in the kitchen-unless you want to. The dishes are substantial and run the gamut from smothered chicken leg and a biscuit to kibbe with tahini sauce and japchae. Unlike some cooking-for-one titles, this volume doesn't expect the diner to eat the same thing for days in a row; the recipes are truly scaled for one, though they can easily be modified to serve more people if desired. Lo is also funny, noting how some dishes work better when you are heartbroken. VERDICT An excellent choice for anyone who cooks alone.-Devon Thomas, Chelsea, MI © Copyright 2018. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Excerpts

Excerpts

Introduction I put the "Lo" in alone. I've been dumped almost as many times as I've been in relationships--and I can count those on less than two hands. Spread over my 50 year life-span, that's a lot of solo meals! So if you take that--coupled with my many years working as a professional chef--it seems that I'm particularly well-suited to write this book. Those chefs who say they can't cook for less than 40 people? Not me--I can do math. It is my Asian birthright. I'm also fanatical about waste. Waste is what makes cooking for one, at least efficiently, so difficult. My parents were Chinese and my father survived the Cultural Revolution. Food, at least at some point during their lives, was scarce; as a result, I was taught never to waste one bit. In cooking school at the Ritz Escoffier in Paris we were taught to utilize every scrap, and at Bouley--my first cooking job--the sous chef used to look through our garbage cans to make sure we weren't wasteful. It is an economic issue, but also an ecological and social one. When I cook for myself, much of my food involves using the sometimes overlooked but just-as delicious parts of meat and vegetables. For example, I grew up eating broccoli stems as well as the florettes. Instead of discarding cabbage hearts, my mother gave them to me to snack on raw while we were cooking. We didn't use radish leaves, but they're virtually identical to turnip greens, so I generally cook those along with the root itself, which helps you include more dark green vegetables in your diet. And all those parts in the bag that comes inside of a chicken? If used properly, those parts are pure flavor - and another meal. Plus, cooking this way is important if you're working with fresh ingredients or off a budget. The hospitalitarian in me also dictates that meals should be balanced. (Yeah, chefs are neurotic.) There always MUST be a vegetable or two. And food should vary from day to day. It should be diverse in ingredients as well as in cultural provenance. Some days you'll want to eat light and healthy; on other days, butter is a perfectly good substitute for love. True hospitality extends to others and to oneself. Too often we forget about the latter. This book will help you to remember how to take care of yourself. When I'm cooking at home, I generally make ingredient-focused dishes that are fast and easy--I leave the more complicated recipes for my professional life. I'll buy a whole chicken from a local, humane farmer, which might cost a little more, but I make sure that I use every bit. The first night I'll break it down and place the legs and wings in a vacuum sealer bag in usable portions to freeze. If I'm alone I'll do the same with one side of the breast, and cook the other for dinner. The bones and neck and gizzard will go into a stock right away or into the freezer for a later date; and I'll either freeze the liver until I have enough to make a mousse or chopped liver, or I'll make a salad with it the next day, along with the heart, for a quick bistro lunch. Yes, dining alone doesn't mean you're misanthropic. Nor does it have to be depressing. Cooking and dining alone can be one of the most blissful and empowering experiences you can have. This book is for urban dwellers who would like to cook a fabulous, sophisticated meal for themselves, regardless of their circumstance. Although I have a soft spot for the depressed, jilted single, SOLO is also for those who are happiest on their own; or those who may be part of a fractured family in all its forms--quite often these days, even if we're not single, we are left alone due to our partner's work/family's social obligation. This book is also for those who may have different taste than their family or partner--why shouldn't they eat what they crave? I hope you'll find this book to be the ultimate guide to self-love through the best means possible--delicious food--and to celebrate the moments that you're alone. And if my reader happens to get a date or decides she or he wants to share, these recipes are easily multiplied by two. After all, they say the way to a person's heart is through the stomach. So far, it has worked for me. Excerpted from Solo: A Modern Cookbook for a Party of One by Anita Lo All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.