In My Lunchbox: Lox and Avocado

Lox and avocado, you say?  Sounds kinda yucky.

More for me then.

For a quick breakfast in the morning, I lay out half of a sliced avocado over two pieces of toasty pumpernickel bread, then top each one with an ounce or so of smoked salmon.  If you think about the avocado as cream cheese, this should make more sense.  But it's tastier, not to mention prettier.  Three ingredients, a couple minutes for the bread to toast, and you're good to run out the door and forget everything you meant to pack last-second (nah, I don't need my sunglasses anyway, it's not like I wanted to avoid staring straight into the sun on the drive to work).

But wait, there's more!

In my lunchbox, behold one of the most yummilicious salads of all time.  For some reason it occurred to me to call this the Big Green Fatty Salad because it's amusing and has a lot of ingredients with healthy fats.  But mostly because it's funny.  Okay, now that you've rolled your eyes, and I've had a good laugh, let's talk ingredients.

For one serving:
Couple handfuls of soft/buttery lettuce (I used a baby lettuce mix with herbs, but you could use bibb lettuce instead)
Half of an avocado, cubed
2 ounces smoked salmon, torn into bite-sized pieces
Handful green grapes (just trust me, okay?), if they're pretty large go ahead and cut in half
2-4 tablespoons shelled pistachios
Freshly ground black pepper
Squeeze of lime juice
(Drizzle of olive oil if you want, I thought it was just delightful without any extra oil though)

You may notice that I haven't included any pictures.  Turns out, I don't have my life together enough in the morning to take nice pictures of my breakfast/lunch, and the lighting isn't so great at night for pictures.  I will try to get my act together so you can have stellar visuals of my Big Green Fatty Salad (hehe, so funny, gets me every time) and other goodies.

Other meals I've made and packed for my lunch over the past couple weeks:
Udon noodle soup
Roasted beet salad
Spinach and eggplant steamed buns (post forthcoming)
Lime and soy chicken
Baked beans

Pastries I've been bringing to work so I'm not tempted to crush a pan of brownies by myself or something:
Maple cake
Fig and mascarpone tart (post forthcoming)

Otherwise, I've been bringing Amy's brand frozen meals on the days when I don't feel like toting tupperware all over Hyde Park.  The Mexican Casserole Bowls are actually scrumptious.  For the meals I do make myself, most of the prep work happens over the weekend, usually on Sunday.  That way, all I need to do is pack up what I want for the next day, rather than having to make it when I get back to the apartment at 8, pack it up, and clean the kitchen before watching another episode of The Wire and going to bed.  Whew.  It's too much.

So, for example, with the udon noodle soup, I knew I was going to make 4 portions.  I brought ~4 cups of water to a boil, added in ~4 tablespoons of white miso paste, and boom, broth done.  I set that aside to cool, then brought more water to a boil and cooked the udon noodles separately from the broth.  After draining them, they were tossed in just a smidge of canola oil and sesame oil, and also set aside to cool.  I portioned my block of soft tofu into 8 thin slabs for marinating (more surface area = more flavor).  In a long rectangular tupperware, I zested and squeezed the juice of 2-3 limes and 1 lemon, and grated in ~1 inch of fresh ginger.  I laid the tofu into the marinade, and once the udon noodles were cool, I put 1/4 of the noodles into each of 4 plastic baggies.  The miso broth was divided into 4 different tupperwares also.

All I had to do to pack my lunch at night was a) take out 2 slabs of tofu, cube them, and put them into the tupperware with the miso broth and b) stuff a handful of snow peas and spinach into the baggie with the udon noodles.  Done.  When lunch time rolled around, I heated the broth and tofu for 1 minute in the microwave, dumped in the noodles and veggies, then heated for another 2 minutes.  I even tried putting dried seaweed (wakame) in with the noodles, and they rehydrated perfectly in the microwave.  For the beet salad, I just roasted them on Sunday, peeled them (they skins come off so easily after they've been cooked, just push them off with your thumbs), and stored them in baggies to be chopped up and tossed onto some greens.  The baked beans were more of a challenge to put together - I soaked the dry beans overnight on Saturday, then boiled them and made the sauce before combining them and baking - but were readily available for a quick trip to the microwave.

So, as you can see, all you need is a little prep work to make weekday lunch-packing relatively easy.  Or just keep an avocado and some lox around, and you'll be all set.

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