Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do you brown bag it?

Well, DH does. Though his employer provides a large break room complete with sandwich and snack machines, he prefers to pack his lunch every day. One reason is he's a thrifty guy and would rather not fork out a minimum of 5 bucks a day to eat a day-old sandwich, a handful of chips and a soda plus the closest restaurant is almost 4 miles away. But the main reason is he's envious of me and DS.

Yes, that's right. He's driven by jealousy. He thinks of us, at home, doing our usual chores, homeschooling, stretching out with a book and then enjoying home-cooked meals without him. He can handle it all right up to the point when DS describes some great tasting dish we cobbled together for dinner. Then, especially if the meal included fresh garden produce, he turns green.

Now for me, having to cook and preserve almost all our food, I sometimes dream of being served a meal I didn't have to prepare. Just goes to show, one man's bane is another's pleasure. And it's not even that DS and I dine on exotic dishes or seek out little known recipes to enjoy when DH is at work. I think it's just the idea that we're enjoying the fruits of his labor without him.

So what does he pack for lunch? Usually leftovers. Yep, all this fuss and the man eats leftovers. But since I usually cook extra chicken with the idea of making tortilla soup from the remains or turn a few slices of ham and boiled potatoes into a fritta with the addition of eggs and onions, it's not always traditional leftovers. More of the cook once, eat twice or plan-ahead cooking style.

One day this past week, I realized he'd packed a totally local meal to take to work. Here's what he packaged up: ruby red beets, steamed and sliced, zucchini and yellow squash in browned butter, sugar snap peas with garlic-soy sauce, Harvey House slaw, sliced cucumbers in vinegar and a slice of locally raised and smoked ham.Except for the ham slice (the last of a fellow homesteader's delicious Christmas basket), DH grew everything from beets, cabbage, cucumbers, garlic, onion, sugar snap peas, yellow squash to zucchini. The dried and crushed hot red pepper on the peas came from last year's garden.

The butter came from Burnt Chimneys, the soy sauce from Richmond, and the honey in the slaw came from an apiary on the next county road over. The apple cider vinegar was more of the batch we made last fall from (non-pasturized) local cider. Non-local ingredients included in the meal were celery seed, dry mustard, kosher salt, a teaspoon of brown sugar and salad oil.

Sugar Snap Peas in Garlic-Soy Sauce

1 pound sugar snap peas, ends clipped, strings removed
2 tablespoons garlic-infused olive oil (OR sub plain olive oil and 1 minced garlic clove)
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
dash of crushed cayenne pepper

Toss olive oil with peas to coat. Broil 2"-3" from heat for 5 minutes. Mix soy sauce and brown sugar together and pour over peas in broiler pan. Toss to coat. Season lightly with pepper. Serve.

These are good hot or cold.


Anonymous said...

I always bring my lunch to work, and it always reinforces that the taste of the fresh food I bring myself is miles above the standard side-corner sandwich. And like your DH, its often leftovers, but I love it all the same.
Minus the meat (I'm a veg), I'd love to have had that meal!

Carolyn said...

DH comes home from work lots of days telling me of offers to buy his packed lunch so I know there have to be others out there who prefer leftover "fresh food" to over-processed "fast food." Good to hear it here, too! Thanks for the note.