my name is lulu. i love to cook. i love to share my cooking with friends and family and as a working girl, i know how important it is to save money. one of the easiest methods of doing that is by bringing lunch to work. but after week three it seems you are eating another sandwich that doesn't quite taste as good as the one you bought at the deli a few weeks back. and you being to think "that 8 bucks was worth it". well, it wasn't. hopefully, this blog will inspire you to create some new and exciting lunches, that will keep your wallet - and your palate happy. lulu.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Wednesday - you are no fun...

Wednesdays have never been my favorite day. You start to see the light at the end of the tunnel, but realize that light is farther away than you thought. Ugh, Wednesdays. You always inspire me to grab something out of the freezer and just stick it in the toaster oven. Like last Wednesday.

Last Wednesday went down in the books. I had gone to work in jeans and a suit jacket, thinking I didn’t need to wear a full suit to work. Once I figure out that my computer calendar did NOT sync with my iphone correctly, I figured out that I needed a full suit – big corporate meetings in midtown requires a full suit.

I grabbed my wallet, sunglasses and best friend and walked to j.crew at the south street seaport. I got distracted at the over-priced, underwhelming shirts at Abercrombie, but then slowly heard my aunt’s voice in my head, telling me about the bed bug problem at Abercrombie store. Cut to me walking out empty-handed.

I digress.

So, I make it to j.crew, my best friend gets bored and leaves. Even gay men are bad shoppers. I find a pair of pants I half like, but need to buy because I’m out of time. I try them on, zipper in the back, decent looking, and decide this is it. I turn my head around to try and finagle the zipper down and realize it is stuck. It is really stuck. I keep trying to get the zipper down but I can’t. Finally, I realize the zipper is fully zipped into my bright pink underwear. I can’t call a sales person because I am practically naked trying to figure out how to get my underwear out of the zipper. Sweating and panicked, I pull as hard as I can creating a huge hole in my underwear but freeing the zipper and my anxiety. Relieved and out of breath I decide to put the pants back on CAREFULLY and wear them out of the store.

By the time I got back to the office, I just grabbed a pepperoni frozen Red Barron pizza out of the freezer and microwave it for 2 minutes then stick it in the toaster oven. It was delicious and totally what I needed, but not this Wednesday. No holey underwear or panicked suit purchasing.

This Wednesday will be a lunch with a desert, just because it’s the middle of the week. This Wednesday will be a sandwich and one that caters to vegetarians. Morningstar makes a buffalo chicken patti (obviously not real chicken) that, for this carnivore, is quite tasty. I always thought the only reason I would eat anything like that is if I had no choice, but I was wrong. After living with a vegetarian, my lunch box opened to a million new items.

Back to lunch:

· One (or two if you are really hungry) morningstar patties

· A piece of romaine lettuce

· A toasted multi-grain English muffin

· A piece of muenster cheese

· One sliced Nathan’s pickle

· A slice of tomato

· Mayo and grainy mustard mix on the English muffin

I like to put the cheese on one side of the bread so it melts when it comes out of the toaster, and the mayo mustard mixture on the other side. The pickles cuts though the heat of the patti, and the lettuce and tomato – well they just make me feel American!

The patti is delicious in the toaster oven, it gets crispy that way. The microwave instructions work but the patties don’t get as crispy as they could.

Four patties come in a box and they last forever in the freezer so this is a last minute lunch that Sandra Lee would approve of.

Oh and don't think I forgot about dessert. It is three, count em, three Mallomars. some fun facts about mallomars (also known as my favorite cookie) -

Hearts Aflutter and Freezers Full

Indeed, Mallomars appear almost magically each October and almost exclusively in New York. In fact, 70 percent of the Mallomars distributed by Nabisco end up in New York, presumably because it had its origins in the New York-New Jersey area.

The yellow cellophane wrapped boxes begin appearing on the end-of-aisle displays in my neighborhood grocery store, piled high in an iconoclastic display that sets consumers’ hearts aflutter and reminds us to make room in the freezer for the boxes we hoard to get us through the warmer months.

October Through March

Mallomars are re-introduced by Nabisco to salivating consumers in October and then usually disappear in mid-March. To keep Mallomars from going soft in warm weather, the Canadian factory that makes them halts production in March and resumes in September.

Some Mallomars aficionados love the limited availability, while others say the seasonal schedule is way behind the times. Nabisco, meanwhile, apparently enjoys the public’s anticipatory fascination with Mallomars so much that it has kept the cookie seasonal for years.



ps - As a suggested musical selection, I am eating while listening to the dixie chick's "Wide Open Spaces" cd. In my opinion, it might be their best.

Tuesday - First cold of the fiscal year

Its ironic that my first blog ever is actually from my apartment - not from my job. Lunch was prepared in my kitchen, not the company kitchen. And the cherry on this irony sundae is I can't taste a thing...my senses are all off, but it didn't stop me from whipping up something delicious. My dog, chuck, can attest, as he dove for the tiny morsel of food that accidently spilled over the top of the bowl as I aggressively mixed and mixed.

My original "go-to" today was a tuna sandwich. When i was a kid and had to stay home sick from school with a cold, my mother would call this woman named Aunt Estelle to come and take care of me. She wasn't MY aunt, but she was definitely someone's aunt as she wore a long gold necklace adorned with small gold charms of her nieces and nephews and great nieces and nephews names. She would park me on the couch turning the television on to the "Price is Right" and go into the kitchen to prepare the tuna sandwich. I would ask for it, loved it, and knew it tasted different and better than any other tuna sandwich. But for years i couldn't figure out why. As I got older i would watch her in the kitchen preparing the sandwich. I don't know if she did it purposefully, but she would always sneak in that secret ingredient. Finally, when I was 11 I got a glimpse of what it was. Simple. It was so simple. Vinegar. White wine vinegar. A splash. Who knew!! Well, I knew and have never had simple tuna again.

As the years have gone by since my Aunt Estelle days I have traveled and tasted many different combinations of food. Some I never would have imagined. My most recent trip to Italy in August sparked this newest tuna creation. And just like Aunt Estelle's it is SIMPLE. White beans, Cannolini beans. They come in a can, you know.

So today, with a sandwich in mind* (though i looked at last week's bag of bread - saw the mold - and went with more of a tuna salad), I grabbed a medium-sized bowl, put a can of bumble bee tuna (in water) in it, added a healthy portion of mayo, salt and pepper and in a separate bowl, put the can of beans. Before I put the beans in the bowl, I dumped them into a colander and washed them off. Then I put them in the bowl, added about 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a pinch of kosher sea salt and pepper and then tossed them around. After that, I took about half a lemon and squeezed the fresh juice on the beans. Once that was done, I put about half the can of beans into the tuna and mayo mixture and tossed it all around.

*If this were a sandwich I would use the beans as a spread and line one piece of toast with this yummy mixture. Then taste each ingredient in every bite!

I hope you enjoyed today's lunch suggestion...i couldn't quite taste it but thank God my memory served me well, because i was right back there on the couch with Bob Barker and Aunt Estelle.