Monday, August 26, 2013

Excellent Project Time

We have Project Time every Sunday.  The deal is that you work on a project, and it can't be for your job.  This week, we had a lot of pickle-sized cucumbers in the vegetable box, so I spent Project Time making cucumber kimchi while everyone else was making webpages and such.  Now I have to think of a dinner that will go well with kimchi.  I suppose we could just have rice and a fried egg if it comes down to it.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Excellent Salad Variation: Citrus Basil

I just mentioned my new salad technique and a couple of the flavor combinations I've been enjoying with the chickpeas and kale, right?  Well, I just invented a new one.  We have a lot of oranges lying around (I think it takes too long to peel an orange when we have all this summer fruit), so I wanted to put them in the salad.  Here's what I came up with:

  • Chopped kale and a double-size can of chickpeas, as usual
  • Two oranges, sectioned
  • A handful of chopped fresh basil
  • A quarter of an onion, chopped
  • Crumbled feta cheese
  • Lemon juice, black pepper, and olive oil for the dressing
I imagine it would work just as well to use mint in place of the basil, and/or grapefruit in place of the oranges.  I'm packing this in lunches with plain (but not low-fat) Greek yogurt, a chunk of chocolate, and another orange (we still have too many).

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Excellent Chunky Salad

It has been a year since I posted.  Oops.  I'd say that's partly because I've been repeating lunches a lot lately.  I do want to share one of my current go-to lunches, though.

You remember that we get Boston Organics, so I don't have a lot of control over which vegetables we get every week.  This salad (it's more of a salad "style" than a true recipe) is pretty flexible and reliable.  The only constants are that we usually get a big bunch of either kale or chard in the vegetable box, and I always put in a giant can of chickpeas to make it filling enough to be a real lunch.  Here's the salad:

  • Wash and chop 1 bunch of chard/kale.  Put it in a very large bowl.
  • Drain and rinse 1 large can (or 2 normal size cans) of chickpeas, and add them to the bowl.
  • Add your "decorations."  Options include:
    • Pears/apples, cheese chunks, chopped nuts, dried cherries or raisins, and a kind of sweet vinaigrette
    • Whatever vegetables you have, like carrots, roasted beets, and radishes; garlic and/or onion; and a lemon & olive oil dressing.
  • Consider adding salt & pepper.  Partition this into lunch-size servings (this usually makes 5 for me, unless I add a lot of kinds of vegetables).
  • If you haven't already put cheese on it, you can do that.  Feta works well.  Or you can eat some yogurt on the side.
This salad keeps for the whole work week, because kale and chard salads are ok if they're a little wilted (in fact I often make them ahead so they'll wilt on purpose).  I still pack snacks and sides, of course -- usually a few fruits, chocolate chunks, and nuts.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Excellent Quiche

Recently I've been making a lot of variations on this crustless quiche recipe.  It's wonderfully forgiving and will take whatever orphaned vegetables I want to throw in.  We're hungry people and each quiche makes four lunch-size servings, so I usually make two or three so there will be leftovers.  I need a bigger mixing bowl.
  • 4 cups of sliced or shredded vegetables
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 cup cooking oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder (the original recipe had Bisquick instead of flour, so I put in the baking powder.  I'm not sure it makes a difference)
  • salt and pepper
  • herbs if you have them
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
Just mix everything, transfer it into a greased pie pan, and bake for 50 minutes at 350 degrees. I've made 50% larger quiches in a large cast-iron skillet -- they just need to be baked slightly longer.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Tomorrow's Lunch Tonight

We signed up for Boston Organics, which is not quite a CSA. It's similar, though, in that every week a random assortment of vegetables is delivered to the house. Last night I made a delicious seasonal dinner out of them:
  • Throw some quinoa in the rice cooker.  Remember salt.
  • Medium-finely chop ~8 small carrots and ~6 large cloves of garlic.
  • Slice 2 normal-size summer squashes.
  • Chop the carrot greens like you would parsley.
  • Chop as much basil as you can pick off the plant out back.
  • Melt about 2 tablespoons of butter and begin to cook the garlic and carrots in there.
  • Once they've had their moment in the sun, throw in the summer squash and the herbs.  Add another 2 tablespoons of butter.  Cook until the squash is translucent.
  • Add salt and pepper.
  • Top the quinoa with the vegetables.  If you like, fry an egg and put it on there.  Or consider having some Greek yogurt on the side, or feta cheese on top.
I'm having the leftovers for lunch today with some yogurt.  Last night we went the egg route.  Everyone loved it (we had some friends over), and I would definitely make this again.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Pho Sure

Pho is delicious, no doubt.  But I'm vegetarian, so the usual beef broth is a no-go at our house.  However, I've had two great developments on that front:
  1. First, I impulsively bought this pho "soup starter", to which I added my own noodles & veggies.  It was delicious.
  2. More importantly, while eating the soup I made from that, I had the leisurely tasting-and-eating time to figure out that if you add Chinese five-spice powder, ginger, garlic, and maybe some lemongrass to regular old veggie broth, it's a pretty good approximation to pho broth.
When packing pho and other brothy soups (especially noodle ones) for lunch, I prefer to pack two containers: one contains the broth and cooked or semi-cooked sturdy vegetables, the other contains cooked noodles and raw or semi-cooked wimpy vegetables.  I just combine everything when I'm ready to eat and then microwave it. That way the noodles don't get soggy and the vegetables don't get overcooked.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Excellent Salad Technique Update!

Unfortunately, I have been too busy eating delicious lunches to post updates here.  I was reminded of that when I talked to my friend L. at the office about food you can make ahead.  "Holy crap," I thought, "I have a blog!"

The big news is that my salad technique has changed.  I've been packing bigger leaf-based salads, and it was taking two or three sauce piggies to hold enough salad dressing for them.  Those guys are hard to fill up and hard to wash.  Instead, now I just pour a little salad dressing in the bottom of a tupperware and pack the lettuce in on top.  When I'm ready to eat, I shake the container until the salad is dressed.  It's easier, faster, and doesn't involve filling up & washing sauce piggies all the time.  I think I got this idea from Lifehacker.