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Marissa Lingen

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Lunch. [Jul. 29th, 2010|12:05 pm]
Marissa Lingen
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Nausea levels have been high and food correspondingly fraught. But! We have entered into that beautiful part of the year, and that is the part where markgritter's garden makes decisions for me.

Today, for example, I peeled two tiny cucumbers--one of them barely bigger than my thumb--and washed lo these many tiny currant tomatoes, and I put a little Asiago Caesar dressing on that, and I ate it, and it was good. And while I was eating that, I had in the oven two halves of a little slender eggplant, face down, rubbed with just enough olive oil to make them not stick to the pan, and they got a little crispy along the edges, and I put lemon juice on them and that was it, just lemon juice, and oh, they were perfect, soft in the middle and crispy along the edges. And then I thought about it and decided that this was a lovely lunch except for the protein, so I had some hazelnuts and some milk. And then I thought as how maybe one of the little dark-chocolate sea-salt caramels markgritter got me for my birthday might do, and so I ate that. And that was lunch.

There are a great many things in this world more complicated. But this one was extremely fine, and I thought I'd say. And people maybe sometimes think that eating more vegetables is complicated even if they have the kitchens and the time, and it isn't. It isn't complicated at all. You wash the eggplant, you whack it in half, you stick it in the oven with a little olive oil, you pull it out again and there is lemon juice, and there doesn't even really have to be lemon juice. But there could have been basil. Or there could have been oregano. Or there could have been rosemary. Or salt. Or fine-chopped tomatoes with all of these things. But there didn't have to be. Just lemon juice would do.

So little depends on the damn red wheelbarrow, but it's an awfully fine red wheelbarrow anyway, is the thing.
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: buymeaclue
2010-07-29 05:18 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a wuuunderful lunch
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[User Picture]From: dd_b
2010-07-29 05:50 pm (UTC)
I'm not really arguing -- that's not a terribly complicated lunch to prepare. But it used a knife or two and a cutting board and a baking sheet that have to be cleaned up, all in addition to the plate and fork or spoon or whatever a simpler lunch would take. And the oven had to go on. And there were a few minutes of prep and some more minutes of cooking before the eating.

So -- not "a lot of trouble" by any reasonable measure, no. But "more trouble than I'm used to" for a lot of people, I think.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-29 05:53 pm (UTC)
That's why I specified for those who have the kitchens and the time--I think that putting a frozen pizza on a pizza stone or baking sheet wouldn't involve less time or clean-up, for example, but there are plenty of people for whom that would be beyond their situation for whatever reason.
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[User Picture]From: dd_b
2010-07-29 06:02 pm (UTC)
Yes, about the same as a frozen pizza. (On the other hand the last one I did said to put it on the bare rack.)

Even about the same as soup and sandwich and fruit -- though these days you could get single-serving soup in a microwaveable container, I guess, instead of using a saucepan and a bowl (makes less and less sense the more people you're serving lunch to).
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[User Picture]From: adrian_turtle
2010-07-29 07:58 pm (UTC)

way beyond drinking milk from the carton to save dishwashing

What escalates it for me is the use of the oven. No a/c means I do not use the oven in this weather. (After a few weeks, I'm really getting to miss cookies. I can buy bread, but not cookies worth eating.) I don't know if I would think of it as a simple meal in winter.

On the other hand, I suspect most people think of scrambled eggs as a very simple dish. Even though it calls for washing the container one breaks the eggs into, and the pan.
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[User Picture]From: mamculuna
2010-07-29 06:28 pm (UTC)
I love your lunch. When I decided to eat less meat, I thought I'd feel deprived, but just the opposite--so many possibilities opened up, where before there had been only turkey vs ham sandwiches. Today I had an avocado, two tomatoes (full-sized) and a golden mango. I did have to use a cutting board and knife, but a sandwich takes that much work!

But your eggplants beat me by a mile. Next time!

Edited at 2010-07-29 06:30 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: reveritas
2010-07-29 06:29 pm (UTC)
How long did you cook the eggplant and at what temp? TY, Too much produce in CA
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-29 07:57 pm (UTC)
400 degrees F, 20 minutes. It was a very slender eggplant. For a fat one, probably more like 25-30 minutes.
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From: thoughtdancer
2010-07-29 06:38 pm (UTC)
I have home grown basil I could share, but no veggies. By the time I had settled in and could see how little sun I would be getting in my tiny plot of land, I didn't have time to do veggies this season.

So, your version of lunch would include a trip to the farmer's market, but that itself is a very good thing. For next to it is a consignment shop with, lo, wonderfuls and wackeys.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-29 07:58 pm (UTC)
I love farmer's markets. But they seem to be less worth the energy with tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, tomatillos, beans, and herbs outside the door, and maybe a few blueberries from time to time. (We have blueberry bushes because we like the bushes rather than because we expect a monster blueberry harvest.)
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From: thoughtdancer
2010-07-30 09:22 am (UTC)
We had raspberries for a while, about four homes ago. And yeah, I think I saw about three of them.

Next year, I'm going to see about growing veggies. I'm hoping for zucchini, peppers, that sort of thing.
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[User Picture]From: matociquala
2010-07-29 07:24 pm (UTC)
<3
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[User Picture]From: magentamn
2010-07-29 07:43 pm (UTC)
Sounds delicious! I love your food writing.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2010-07-29 08:03 pm (UTC)
I went out and looked at the tomatoes, but they are all green. It's my fault; I failed to get the seedlings a friend promised me and ended up with rescue plants weeks after the Proper Tomato Planting Time. They will get there, however.

The bit about the eggplant is just poetry, that's all. I am glad you are getting to eat such lovely fresh vegetables.

P.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-30 02:29 am (UTC)
Our big tomatoes are still all green also. It's just the wee ones that are ready.
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[User Picture]From: pameladean
2010-07-30 09:30 pm (UTC)
Mine are intermediate between wee and big, so I figured it was worth checking.

P.
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-07-29 10:57 pm (UTC)
Having a dishwasher (and no longer living with somebody who thinks dirtying half the dishes and leaving them to sit for a week is okay) has made a huge difference in this for me. I mean, I've always loved to cook, but there are days when I just can't. And while I still have those days, the threshold for how much I can now accomplish before I hit my limit is different and therefore doesn't preclude as much cooking.

My new favourite thing is satuéed asparagus. Take frying pan, heat on high, add minced garlic (which I buy in a jar rather than doing myself, because it's one aspect I can make easier) and maybe one teaspoon garlic-infused olive oil. Take five slices of thin-cut dried cured Pamplona salami round, cut (takes six passes of a knife, max), toss in once the garlic is browning. Cut up some asparagus (cut off the ends of the stalks with two passes of a knife, then cut all the stalks in half crosswise with two more passes of the knife), throw it in too. Add one teaspoon lemon juice. Stir. Turn down heat to medium-low, cover with lid, ignore for five minutes. Stir. Cover again, ignore for five minutes. Remove, plate, sprinkle with parmesan, consume.

Takes fifteen minutes, very little effort, and is delicious. Dishes that need to be cleaned: one plate, one fork, one paring knife, one cutting board, one frying pan. Or, in my case, thanks to the awesomeness of the dishwasher, none if I don't feel like it! Though usually I do wash the frying pan because I'll be using it again the next day and the dishwasher usually only gets run every three days.

For me now, that is a nice super-easy meal, and I am terribly glad to be able to do it, even if there are still days where the most I can manage is sticking a box in the microwave and sitting down until it's done. (And those days are why I have set up a system of cooking a lot on days when I can, and then freezing most of it. Because then I have decent microwave dinners instead of boxed crap!)

Though now I am craving eggplant. If I could manage the five-minutes-either-way-plus-maybe-five-minutes-inside walk to the grocery store, I would totally make it happen. Where are the pneumatic tubes when you need them?!

Edited at 2010-07-29 11:00 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-07-29 11:03 pm (UTC)
Okay, I give up trying to fix the typos and errors in this comment. I am sorry for spamming your inbox. Facepalm.
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[User Picture]From: snickelish
2010-07-30 12:29 am (UTC)
I am absolutely trying this recipe. I discovered the wonders of asparagus last year - my family never ate it - and this is totally different from an other recipe I've seen.
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[User Picture]From: moiread
2010-07-30 12:51 am (UTC)
I can relate! My family thinks "cooking" mostly involves Hamburger Helper and Shake 'N' Bake chicken and maybe microwaved frozen peas as the side dish. Now that I've figured out how to make real food instead of bland hockey pucks, they keep mysteriously showing up around meal times. :)

Anyway. Asparagus is AWESOME! It is one of my favourite vegetables, along with brussel sprouts. Mris has many clever ways of doing yummy things with asparagus that require equally low effort (if not less!) and perhaps would share some with us. *halo*
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-30 02:35 am (UTC)
Low-effort asparagus! Very simple! Break or cut off the woody bits. Put some pressed or diced garlic over top. Drizzle on a little bit of olive oil. 450 degree oven, 12 minutes. Almost no effort. Very yum.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-30 02:32 am (UTC)
The difference between "this is not complicated" and "this is not hard" is important. Sometimes with health issues even the not-complicated things are damnably hard. So yay for the dishwasher, and yay for the freezer.

The asparagus thing sounds just lovely.
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[User Picture]From: redbird
2010-07-30 01:10 am (UTC)
Eating more vegetables in midwinter may be complicated, or boring; in high summer, it's not.
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[User Picture]From: mamapduck
2010-07-30 01:59 pm (UTC)
Tiny salad FTW!
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[User Picture]From: columbina
2010-07-30 06:54 pm (UTC)
I had someone ask me "But what do you DO with all those cherry tomatoes every year?" the other day.

(Big tomatoes grow unreliably in our garden due to direct-sun considerations and a short season, but the cherry tomatoes and the cucumbers never let us down.)

Why, you eat them. Cutting them in half beforehand, for example if you're going to put them in a salad and want to reduce their tendency to escape, is optional.

I think the implication was that I could get BORED with eating fresh, warm-from-the-garden-sun cherry tomatoes more or less nonstop for two months. Um, no.
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[User Picture]From: mrissa
2010-07-30 08:08 pm (UTC)
And they go with so many things in salads and pastas and risottos and the like. It's not like "a salad" is just one thing.
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