Dinner: Tuesday, April 28, 2009

photo-45If 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: 

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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. 

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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.

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Lunch: Friday, April 17, 2009

photo47Trick of the lunch trade: If you have to eat something boxed/canned/frozen, add something fresh. Plus, you’ll get in a serving of vegetables (good for you!).

Chunky guacamole and grilled chicken from Amici 36‘s huge sprawling hot-and-cold lunch buffet — the photo below is just one third of the offerings — made this photo216Whole Foods “Whole Kitchen” bean and rice burrito taste, well, not authentically Mexican, but pretty delicious anyway.

And with the rest of the guac sort of coated the greens below, I didn’t even need salad dressing. Mmmm … avocado…

COST: >$5
PREP TIME: Stroll to Amici 36 and back, plus 2 minutes in the micro

Dinner: Thursday, April 16, 2009

The appeal of a BLT is: crisp, sizzling, thick-cut bacon; ripe, juicy tomato slices (preferably fried in bacon grease), leafy greens with some structure, and a pair of sturdy slices of bread (your choice) shmeared with a legitimate doil of mayonnaise. I’ll let the pictures speak the rest of the words: 

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photo44So I discovered the most incredible pepper bacon at Whole Foods — and it’s not any more expensive than any pound of bacon I’ve ever bought, at least not significantly. 

Dry-rubbed, peppered, all-natural, uncured, nothing artificial, (ingredients: pork, sea salt, raw sugar and spices), a family reciepie from Wellshire Farms out of New Jersey (!!). It makes it.

COST: >$5
PREP TIME: 2 days

Saturday, April 11, 2009

photo-25photo-16                                                                                                                            I am beginning to live for weekend posts because there’s less of them and, frankly, they’re just fun

The big (food) goal for today was to get prepped for tomorrow when I’m semi-spontaneously hosting soup and smeeps: Polish Easter Soup (an Easter tradition in my family) and Smeeps, a smores/peep hybrid a la toaster oven (that’s about to become a tradition. I can feel it.) One enormous, double-smoked kielbasa sausage from the Polish delicatessen above is boiling away for the soup base. 

photo20But before I hit up Whole Foods on Bowery — going there hungry is a terrible idea — I detoured for what turned out to be an unexpectedly amazing meal at Thailand Cafe: The ambiance cozy, the food well seasoned and the beer good and cheap. For $21 pp the group of us split several appetizers, two pitchers of Stella, and each had our own entree. Fantastic

(That’s my Kee Mao, early-to-mid progress, at left.)

I was also on the lookout for pickling goods, and found this stray, unnamed, unpriced basket of what looked to be Kirby cucumbers … but I wasn’t about to buy 18-20 cucumbers at Whole Foods (also known as “Whole Paycheck” in certain circles) without knowing for sure either that they were the ones I needed or the price photo-33per pound. So the pickle project remains in pickle prep mode. 

Overall, as Ice Cube says, “Today was a good day.” 

COST: Who the hell knows
PREP TIME: Basically the whole day, between planning, procrastinating and execution.

Breakfast: Tuesday, March 24, 2009

b032409I miss toast.

You know, bread’s warmed, browned, slightly-crispy alter ego that emerges from a session in a toaster hot enough to liquefy peanut butter and reduce fridge-cold butter into a molten spread? That so sturdily cradles fresh avocado dusted with cracked pepper and sea salt, or a smashed, crumbled smear of blue cheese?

I can’t make toast at the office, so I’m trying out creative alternatives. Unfortunately, this morning’s “toast” experiment of crunchy peanut butter (Whole Foods 365 brand) on a brown rice cake (Lundberg) was uninspiring. Sigh …

COST: minimal
PREP TIME: 30 seconds