January 6, 2009

Improv Lunch

So I mentioned that I received Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Everything book for Christmas. This book is a-m-a-z-i-n-g. I have had it for less than two weeks and have already gleaned a wealth of information from its pages. My favorite new recipe so far is a million times easier than pie: the Simple Yogurt Sauce. Of course, me being me, I couldn’t just use his recipe. I had to alter it in my own darn way.

His calls for a cup of yogurt and only one clove of garlic... In the interest of wanting to not waste any yogurt (just in case I didn't follow through on my goal to make the sauce), I purchased two individual 6-oz yogurt cups and surprisingly made two separate recipes right away.

For the first batch, I used 6 oz of plain yogurt (whole milk, cream top), mixed with one minced clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, salt and pepper to taste. I skillfully sliced half of an avocado (currently on sale at the grocer!) and smashed it in the best I could. What resulted was a creamy, tangy dip that pleased both me and my dear friend Ellen when coupled with chips and celery stalks. It even served as a nice spread for our sandwiches...on fresh homemade bread, might I add!

Batch two came into being last night when I craved ranch dressing to go along with the super-unhealthy pizza Ryan brought home (football watching food--Hook 'Em!). I had one more 6-oz container of yogurt, but this time I added two cloves of minced garlic, a whole mashed avocado, and plenty of garlic salt and pepper. Ryan played taste-tester, and we agreed it needed something but weren’t sure what. After trying a few bites with celery salt, chili powder, and extra garlic salt, we decided to leave it as it was.

This dip came in handy for lunch today. Did I mention my delicious-but-ugly loaf of cinnamon swirl bread? (I didn't photograph it, therefore I didn't blog about it I suppose...) Apparently I did not roll the dough thin enough when I dumped the raisins and cinn-sugar on top and rolled it up... Because what came out was a thick loaf of sweet bread with a fat L-shaped blob of cinnamon-sugar raisins in the middle.

The heel of the loaf was void of all sugar-coated fruit, and I packed it along with a couple of slices of Muenster, some turkey, a pear, blackberries, and celery for lunch. After a jaunt in the toaster, I topped the bread with the meat, cheese, and thin-sliced pear, and that was a deliciously sweet and savory compliment to the tangy yogurt dip and crisp celery stalks. The blackberries were my delectable dessert.

Don't tell anyone, but I pride myself on bringing lunches that evoke "oohs" and "ahhs" from my colleagues who are nuking canned soups or frozen dinners in the communal kitchen while I assemble my tasty towers. I waltz down the hall, lunch in hand, shoulders held high, and eat it at my desk while I read my favorite food blogs and dream up the next meal.

Ahh, food--it's all I can think about, really.


Lindsey said...

Oh Amber, you have the best ideas! I'm going to try that sandwich, because I too love strutting down the hallway, lunch in hand, while everyone else eats a bowl of Uncle Ben's. I miss you!