Tuesday, April 20, 2010

An Inspired Lunch

Last week I was catching up on blogs and read Lara's post over on Good Cook Doris.  She made this amazing potluck dish with stuff she had in her pantry.  I left a comment saying that I should learn to do the same when I'm making my lunch for work - since I sometimes punk out and buy a sandwich.  Then Monday night rolled around and I was tired from the marathon, totally lazy, and about to resign myself to the deli sandwich when I rememberd my comment.  It pounded in my ears the same way that my mother's voice sometimes hammers at me when I'm about to buy a too-expensive accessory, or wear a dress without a slip, or leave the house with wet hair.  It's that voice you hear when you're doing something you know you shouldn't.

That comment really nagged at me.  I couldn't get a sandwich.  I had food in my fridge and my pantry.  I couldn't be a hypocrite, not on the blogs and not to my foodie friends.  They're the only ones that let me ramble on about that amazing cheese I had last week, or how that olive oil definitely tasted lemony.  And they don't judge me for it.  They ask me where it came from, where I ate it!  I owed it to Lara, and Megan, and Katie and Pam, Susie & Chelsea - and all the other food bloggers I rely on for inspiration and recipe recco's....I couldn't have them all think that my comments were B.S.!

So I opened the pantry looking for quinoa, rice, a grain...How did I run out?  This didn't make sense.  OK, barley.  I could make some barley.  And I had some arugula - I always have cheese, beans....

So here it is - my lunch from today.  Incidentally, it was so tasty filling and healthy that I made it again tonight for tomorrow's lunch.  Thanks for the inspiration Lara!

Arugula salad with chickpeas, barley, red pepper, and pear.  Curls of manchego cheese on top.  On the right is a simple vinaigrette made with a little dijon, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper.

Why don't I make barley more often?  It's very chewy and filling!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Marathon Monday!!

I am very excited for Marathon Monday tomorrow.  It is one of my favorite days of the year.  To me, it signals the real start of spring - tourists come to Boston en masse, the Red Sox play a morning game, and thousands of athletes run their hearts out.  Even better, I have no work tomorrow....and I have a few friends running in the race this year!! 

I'm going to be hanging out with Katie from Once Upon a Small Boston Kitchen - and am anxiously awaiting the delicious brunch that she's making for tomorrow.  My champagne is chilling in the fridge!!

If you're curious about what we'll be dining on tomorrow - surf on over to The SBK for the rundown of Katie's menu!!

One of my good friends/coworkers, Jenny, is running for the American Liver Foundation Run for Research team!  Look for bib 22262 and cheer for Jenny if you're in town!

Good Luck to all the runners!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Banh Mi with Pork Meatballs

One of my favorite things about visiting Rafe at the home he shares with his mother, is perusing her years of Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Cooks Illustrated archives.
Lee has had a Bon Appetit subscription for at least 10 years (as far as I can tell from her magazine library.)  And between her status as a long standing subscriber, and likely also due to the end of Gourmet magazine last November (R.I.P. old friend) - The publisher's gave her the option of renewing, and giving a free gift subscription! (JACKPOT).
One of my first issues of the magazine boasted 5 amazing meatball recipes.  I was very eager to try one - and when I saw that one meatball recipe depicted a meatball in sandwich form (I LOVE SANDWICHES) I decided that the Pork Meatball Banh Mi would be the most exciting and different from any other meatball sandwich I've eaten before.

The recipe seemed daunting at first because it did require that I buy some new pantry ingredients.  To be honest, I was also concerned that my grocery store would not stock ground pork.  It did - but I would be willing to try this recipe using turkey or beef in the future.  The meatballs were made with a combo of cilantro, basil, garlic, fish sauce, chili sauce and some other delicious Asian ingredients...
After assembling the meatballs and letting them rest in the fridge they were fried in sesame oil....

To make the sandwich, the meatballs are layered onto a baguette accompanied by some sriracha mayo and lightly pickled veggies.  Rafe doesn't do mayo (he's actually horribly put off by mayo and cannot stand it in any application) so I subbed some plain yogurt mixed with sriracha for him, and he loved it.
The recipe calls for carrots and daikon radish, but I couldn't find daikon, so I subbed cucumber because I thought it would hold up well in a quick pickle....and add some additional CRUNCH!
Rafe was in charge of the pickled veggies and did a fabulous job.

This sandwich was delicious - and definitely earned its spot on The Clean Plate Club...the recipe makes 4 sandwiches, there were 2 of us....and no leftovers.

Try the recipe here: Bon Appetit

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Orangette inspired Swiss Chard

Monday night I trekked out of the Boston downtown, out to Coolidge Corner (its not very far at all actually) - to the Brookline Booksmith.  Molly Wizenburg, of Orangette blog fame was there as part of the book tour for the paperback release of her book "A Homemade Life".

I must admit, I felt like a bit of a poser amongst the tried and true fans.  Some of these folks had been reading her blog from the beginning, and I felt a little out of place since I had just discovered the blog this summer (gasp!)!  In my defense it was immediately added to my feed reader, and I can't get enough - I also love her writing in Bon Apetit....

I assure you though, that she is a total delight in person.  It was fantastic to meet yet another person through the blogs who shares a similar love, not just for food and cooking, but for the experience of sharing meals, and food with other people.  Food is a conduit for sharing experience and building memories.

Reading the first two chapters of her book on my T-ride home I was struck with a bit of inspiration, and immediately came home to make myself a quick dinner.  The orange is most definitely a tribute to Molly's blog, its a vegetarian dish (she was vegetarian for a time) and I ate it with a fried egg.

1 small onion, thinly sliced
1 orange, sectioned and chopped (with the juice from the cutting board)
2 cups roughly chopped swiss chard
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup water

Heat the tablespoon of oil over medium heat in a medium sauce pan.  Once the pan is warm add the onion and orange.  Cook the orange and onion stirring frequently, until the onion is softened, the juice has evaporated, and orange pulp is just starting to stick to the pan.  Add the swiss chard and 1/4 cup of water, cover the pan and allow to steam for 5 mins.  Remove lid, stir greens, plate and enjoy.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pestos With Panache - WINNERS!

Good Morning!  I'm very excited to announce the winners of the Pestos with Panache giveaway!
Since we only had five entries -  Lauren at Pestos with Panache has agreed to give EVERYONE WHO ENTERED a sample of the delicious pesto of their choice! THANK YOU LAUREN!

So Small Boston Kitchen, Megan, Lara, HC11238, and Shoops - Please email me (afidalgo12@gmail.com) your mailing address, and the flavor you want to try and I'll forward them to Lauren - she will send you the pestos directly!

Congratulations Winners!! I'm so glad you get to try this awesome product!
I'd love to hear about the flavors you receive and how you enjoy them!