Basically pseudo-fasting, which basically means eating über light and healthfully, in advance of dinner tonight which will probably breeze past 1,200 calories with ease … Gonna be epic.
This wasn’t what I intended to eat for dinner tonight, but isn’t that just what happens sometimes when you find yourself with good company at some post-work social event at Arctica Bar that involves $4 pints?
I might take just a quick moment to ruminate on the craft of nachos. At the time of this photo, we’d eaten a good half of them, only to reveal a pile of chips. I hate that. Because chips alone are not nachos. Don’t get me wrong. I love chips. Just don’t try to trick me into thinking they’re all nachos when they’re not.
Anyhow, good nachos don’t necessarily need to be huge. What’s key is that the toppings are proportional to the volume of chips, so you can have a different sort of savory bite every time, and not wind up with a pile of chips and nowhere to go (not quite the same as being all dressed up with nowhere to go, but not so different).
There’s more to nachos, but I’ll save that for another post … it’s inevitable there will be another nachos post.
COST: $8 nachos, $4 pints
PREP TIME: A lovely few hours
Now that’s a steak salad.
As promised, a how-to guide to make the most brilliant salad in the most uninspired settings: at the office.
First, prep the night before: Cook the steak. Slice the steak. Slice the red onion. Boil, peel and slice the beets.
Second, package separately everything which will bleed, taint, or otherwise blur with the smells, tastes and textures of others.
I wrapped up the sliced beets and onion in the same saran wrap, but still separately, folding in the onion first and the beets second. Blue cheese? Definitely separate. I placed the steak right on the greens because a) spinach is sturdy and I knew it could handle it and b) I wanted those flavors to “get to know eachother” as much as possible. Fraternizing encouraged.
Third, anticipate dressing needs at work. No one likes a dry salad. I keep a bottle of not bad olive oil (white truffle infused at the moment) in my desk drawer. Yes, I’m that much of a food geek.
Fourth, assemble at work just as you would at home, none of this dumping everything in at once. So in this case, first toss the lettuce in the olive oil/dressing. Second layer the onions and beets. Third, bleu cheese and fourth, steak.
Fifth, utilize the microwave, if you so desire. I micro’d the steak for about 20 seconds just to take the chill off. Give it a little glisten. I guess I could have thought ahead a little more and just pulled it out of the fridge to let come to room temperature.
One thought I had, maybe next time I’ll throw the whole finished salad in the microwave for 20-30 seconds. Nothing wrong with giving the spinach a little wilt or the bleu cheese a little soften.
Sixth, presentation counts. Make it pretty and it’ll taste pretty damn good.
PREVIOUSLY: If you’re just going to eat something small, it may as well be … (Dinner: Tuesday, April 28, 2009) Steak salad prep
What’s that say about my pizza consuming habits? Well, in these last years since living in NYC, I almost never order pizza delivery, which is where the leftovers of my past mostly came from.
Here, I mostly eat it by the slice, often on-the-go, and on the occasion I take part in eating a whole pie, well, by the end of the night there’s never any left over …
If on some off chance there was leftover pizza, it mysteriously disappears between the hours of midnight and 5 am. Turns into a pumpkin or something, I guess.
COST: n/a (brilliance of leftovers)
PREP TIME: 30 seconds micro
If you’re going to have just a little something to eat, it may as well be a salad of greenmarket spinach, beets and red onion, plus the fringe of a prime cut of steak from Whole Foods (saving the rest for basically a larger redux of this meal tomorrow), plus some blue cheese and balsamic vinigarette.
It’s the miniature salad of the one I *think* I’m taking to work to eat tomorrow; that’s the tentative plan. The only variation might be that I tossed the greens I used tonight in the hot, fatty cracklings in the pan I fried the top loin steak in for just that little extra bit of goodness. Mmm … goodness.
I realized I have some very nice before and after pictures from the prep. Here are the ingredients as I first laid eyes on them yesterday:
Below: After I got my hands on them this evening. Could be a scosh pinker, but overall not a bad pan-fried steak. I seasoned with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and olive oil and gave it a good rub before throwing it in a really hot pan. I don’t cook protein much and was vaguely worried I might somehow mess it up, but it ended up being fairly intuitive. For someone who likes her meat on the rarer side of things, there really isn’t too much of a worry of pulling it off too soon.
Coming up tomorrow: Steak salad at the office. How to make the most beautiful of salads in the most unglamorous setting. Hint: It involves prepping for travel.
COST: Market vegetables (spinach, beets and red onion) $3.75; steak at USQ WF $8.49; cheese and dressing I had on hand.
PREP TIME: I spent less than an hour in the kitchen. But let’s not talk about the line at Whole Foods last night at about 7 p.m. That place is a cash cow.
Lunch post, the CliffsNotes version. I’m just going to bomb this one:
Pizza. Lazzara’s. Dark, cool and cozy even in the middle of the hottest, steamiest afternoon of 2009 (so far). I dined alone, unawkwardly I might add, at a three-stooled bar and did some line revisions and took more pictures of condiments — a handsome condiment bin, that one — while waiting for my half-pie.
How was it? Good. Loved the sauce, the broiled cheese, the generous toppings, the stature of the slices (thin-crusted and square). The only “meh” moment was the end of the crust, which I don’t get along so well with ends of pizza crusts in general, so this wasn’t such a surprise.
And while I enjoyed the presentation of three gorgeous, full, slices of proscuitto, I ended up enjoying the slices much more once I’d shredded it a bit and threw on some hot peppers. Alright, I’m out.
COST: $9 + tax and tip
PREP TIME: I’ve been waiting and waiting to go here …
Bonus photo of the cutest doggie bag ever after the jump: