I mentioned a few posts back that I’m “in training” for my first half marathon. While I’m not doing a crazy high mileage training schedule, I am now having a couple of evenings each week dominated by running. So, no time to cook, but a definite need to do some post-workout recovery eating.
My latest solution to this challenge is to prep ingredients for some kind of dinner bowls on the weekends for reheating and assembly during the week. When a running evening rolls around, it’s just a matter of how fast I get myself through the shower before sitting down to eat. Since we’re in the middle of a drought, the shower part is fast 🙂
This particular bowl was inspired by the beautiful bibimbap bowls you can get at most (okay, probably all) Korean restaurants. My take uses a mix of freekeh, black beans, and sauteed cabbage as the base, which I realize is not at all the same as the usual base of rice. An array of vegetable toppings rounds out the upper layer of the bowl. I like to get in a few different colors and a mix of cooked and raw vegetables to keep things interesting: zucchini and eggplant stir-fried with ginger, garlic, and tamari; blanched broccoli, a little raw carrot, and a few bean sprouts. For some extra protein, I also added a a sliced up egg pancake, but you could also use tempeh or a few fried tofu cubes for vegan alternatives. A handful of scallion slices, a sprinkling of black sesame seeds, and a nice dollop of my thai basil sauce finish things off and makes it all look (and in the cast of the pesto, taste) a little less “I threw this together while wearing a towel” and a little more “this is a legitimately awesome dinner, thank you”.
Ever since Mark Bittman got on the less-meat bandwagon a few years back, I’ve been following his writing with interest (before that, I’ll confess, not so much). I don’t always agree with what he has to say, but who do you always agree with? But back in August he penned an article that I completely and wholeheartedly agree with, on the topic of packing lunch from home. While I don’t always manage to bring a packed lunch with me to the office, I do try to make it a regular habit. Lately I’ve been making more of an effort to make lunch more of a workday high point, packing a little bento box and hunting out new outdoors spots for eating. Since I’m sure I’m not the only person who occasionally wants to bust their lunch out of a rut, I thought I’d start a little series to share some of my lunches. I’d love to get some comments on your favorite lunch ideas too!
Getting ready to tuck in: Lunch and reading (a vintage Phillipa Gregory, Earthly Joys. Gregory is a guilty pleasure of mine, but this one didn’t catch me as much as her Tudors and Plantagenets books).
As bento boxes go, mine is fairly simple, a stainless steel Lunchbots Duo with two compartments. The box looks quite small compared to the collection of plastic containers that have held my lunches in the past, but it actually holds plenty of food. I like having the divider so that I can pack a multi-part meal like the one above. For this meal, I started with two leftover dinner dishes: half a twice cooked eggplant in spicy ginger sauce, and a small serving of coconut cauliflower rice. Then I added some ingredients I had made on Sunday and earmarked specifically for lunches. The eggplant was chopped and mixed with steamed kale and a small spoonful of spicy peanut sauce, while the cauliflower rice got a protein boost from a cupful of chickpeas. I finished it all off with a black plum (I keep thinking stone fruit season is about to end, but the market delivered these as the latest delicious proof of my wrongness).
How did it all go down? The cauliflower rice and chickpeas were good, but would have been better served at room temperature rather than very recently removed from the fridge. Something to remember for another day, right? On the other side of the box, the eggplant and kale mixture was fantastic, perfect for eating cold. I can definitely see the eggplant becoming a lunchtime star in the future, with the potential to dress up all manner of plainer vegetables and elevate salads to a whole new level.
And now, I’m off to pack up tomorrow’s lunch. Hope you enjoyed this little snapshot!
Weekend mornings are the best. First, I get to sleep in past 5am. Second, I get to eat breakfast at home, not in front of a screen, usually with sunlight streaming in through the window and M. facing me across the table.
Continue reading What we ate: weekend brunch
This past weekend was a pretty homebound one for me. Mr. C&V was working, and I had a big craft project I wanted to make some headway on. I spent most of Saturday immersed in yarn, but I did manage to come up for air sometime mid-afternoon to eat:
Continue reading What I ate: weekend lunch-ing
Dinner in five: minimalist salad + freezer soup
After getting off to a cool start, August slowly heated up. It’s only a few days in, but September seems to be maintaining the trend. One result? We’re both less inclined to want a big meal in the evenings (it just feels too heavy). Fortunately, we have a nice little stash of soups still squirreled away in the freezer, so dinners most nights involve throwing together something vegetable-y and reheating whatever our soup of the moment happens to be.
Continue reading What we ate: Peanuty Kale Salad and Tom Kha soup
Most of our dinners follow a fairly simple formula: entree plus one or two sides of vegetables. This Suday, however, I wanted to put something a little more exciting on the table. It’s Sunday, right? Traditionally, you should be sitting down to a big roast dinner with all the trimmings. This week, I decided it should be a “Sunday dinner” night a little late in the game (say, Sunday afternoon…), so I didn’t have the opportunity to go all out. Instead, I took a rummage around the fridge and started thinking about how to combine what I had on hand into something a bit different.
I decided the best approach would be to go for variety, rather than focusing on a single complicated dish. I started with two sets of leftovers from a previous evening: sauteed kale, and chickpeas seasoned with the Chile Ginger Garlic Lime Sauce from our August batch cook.
Using the flavoring of the chickpeas as the pointer for where to go next, I decided we’d be having an Asian inspired Sunday dinner this week. I pulled some spicy peanut sauce out of the freezer (another batch cook creation), and let it start thawing while I chopped some squash, peppers, and eggplant and started them cooking in the skillets. When the vegetables were almost done, I added the peanut sauce to the skillet and let it cook for a minute or two more.
I used the time between mixing around the vegetable medley to do the prep work for the last part of the plate, stir-fried cauliflower rice. Mr. C&V loves this dish (I’m pretty partial to it as well) and it seems a little fancier than our usual fare, so it was an obvious choice for rounding things out. I used our food processor to quickly grate a head of cauliflower, then chopped up a few other little vegetable odds and ends to add some flavor and color to the dish:
Overall, this meal had a lot in common with our regular weeknight meals (lots of vegetables, some of the same sauces and flavorings), but it still felt fancier because we had more flavors than usual, plus something we hadn’t eaten in a while (the “rice”). Oh, it probably also helped that we had that peach and blackberry tart from earlier in the week for dessert. I’m going to be trying to make Sunday dinner more of a thing for us, now I just have to think up some other options for meals worthy of the designation!
Question: Do you have a Sunday (or Friday or Saturday) dinner tradition? What foods do you make or eat?
Wednesday’s dinner was a favorite of mine, a bowl full of curry and greens:
Keeping it simple
In general, we eat solid meals off of plates around here. Our dishwasher will take more plates than bowls, and of course some things just work better on a plate. But I still like eating dinner out of a bowl from time to time, it feels very cozy and comforting.
Continue reading What we ate: curry and greens bowl