Bena Mae's Kitchen: Living alone and liking it, or not
There are several pro and con factors to consider on living alone. I am on the fence regarding the subject. I like my privacy. But I miss the presence of a warm body in the house.
One of the benefits, among others, is the freedom of being yourself, of doing what you want to do when the mood strikes you. Like dancing around the house al a Tom Cruise in “Risky Business.” Admit it, you would be too inhibited to do this for fear of embarrassing yourself if there were others in the house. And it is good exercise. Plus, it is virtually impossible to stay depressed or angry while dancing. But close the curtains if you do this or the neighbors will be calling the men in the white coats.
You don’t feel like cooking supper? Then don’t. Cereal is not only breakfast food, it can be eaten any time of day. And without a significant other to cook for, you can make-do with a bowl of oatmeal that takes only a minute to fix. Since it is good for you, you can eat it free of guilt. With raisins, maybe, but no guilt.
Then there’s no fighting over the TV remote. You want to watch Bridezillas? Or Dancing With the Stars? No problem. And you can put something in the fridge without putting your name on it....no, “hey, who drank my coke?”
Getting up at 7 or 11 a.m. Your choice. And using the bathroom with the door open. Not so high on the list, but a luxury, nevertheless.
On the other side of the coin, there is the downside to living alone. You have to keep your memory sharp since you have no back-up in a significant other. No one to help you find your misplaced car keys, your checkbook, your magazine, your eyeglasses. You have to program yourself to put them in a certain place so you can find them when you need them. There have been times when searching the house over for my eyeglasses, I find them on my forehead. It happens, folks, as I’m sure you are well aware.
Cooking is no fun if you don’t have someone with whom to share a meal. Or a joke. Or a newspaper article. Or a movie. Or TV. I could go on all day.
I’ve only recently begun filling my own gas tank. Always before, the gas magically appeared in my tank without my doing. But being a hold-out on this pesky chore had to come to an end with no more, or very few, full service stations around. So I’m forced to accept the computerized, non-personal gas tanks that were meant for the “customers’ convenience”...a misnomer if I ever heard one.
And last, dear reader, and it’s a biggie...living alone makes it harder to find someone else to blame.
Thin and tender, these pancakes are rolled around a strawberry pink filling. You can make the strawberry sauce and cream cheese mixture (steps 1 and 2) up to 2 days ahead; cover separately and chill.
Fresh Strawberry Rollups
1 1/2 quarts fresh strawberries, rinsed and hulled
6 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup milk
Thinly slice 2 cups strawberries. In a blender or food processor, whirl remaining 1 quart strawberries until smooth. Press through a fine strainer into a bowl, extracting as much liquid as possible with the back of a spoon or a spatula; discard residue. Whisk 1/4 cup sugar and the lemon juice into strawberry purée.
In the blender or food processor (no need to rinse), whirl cream cheese and 1/2 cup of the strawberry purée until blended and smooth.
In a bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar. In another bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and milk just to blend. Whisk milk mixture into flour mixture just until evenly moistened.
Place a nonstick griddle or a 12-inch nonstick frying pan over medium heat (350°); when hot, coat lightly with oil and adjust heat to maintain temperature. Spoon batter in 1/2-cup portions onto griddle and cook until pancakes are browned on the bottom and edges begin to look dry, about 2 minutes; turn with a wide spatula and brown other sides, 1 1/2 to 2 minutes longer. As pancakes are cooked, transfer to baking sheets and keep warm in a 200° oven. Coat pan with more oil as necessary to pan to cook remaining pancakes.
Spread each pancake with about 2 tablespoons cream cheese mixture and roll up. Set two roll-ups on each plate, top evenly with sliced strawberries, and drizzle with a little strawberry purée; serve with remaining purée to add to taste.
Makes about 8 roll-ups; 4 servings.