Tag Archives: lunch

Everybody Eats Lunch

Everybody Eats Lunch Cover72

Before the crazy holiday season began, I was given the opportunity to review Everybody Eats Lunch  by Cricket Azima with pictures by Titus V. Thomas.    I wanted to test out some of the recipes  before reviewing so I could give you a better idea of what the book has to offer.  🙂

This wonderful children’s cookbook, which is charmingly shaped like a lunchbox,  cleverly touches upon concepts of cooking, geography, time, language, AND has great, easy recipes.

Five kids from around the world (Mexico, Japan, Brazil, South Africa, and Jamaica) share with the reader what a  typical lunch from their country is like– what it is called in their language, what time they eat lunch, and what kinds of dishes might be in their lunch.

The book is constructed out of sturdy cardboard and at the beginning, there is a map of the world and lift-the-flaps which also show each character in their respective countries.  It’s a nice way to connect the place with each child that we meet later in the book.

map

The contents of the lunch are laid out on one side of each spread, and each part can be removed to reveal a recipe behind it. So cute!

mexico

Jamie and I loved exploring Everybody Eats Lunch and learning about the  different lunches in each of the cultures.

I decided to try making three recipes in no particular order.  First up was the “Beef Patty” (it really looks like a sort of filled bread pocket, like an empanada, rather than a beef patty) from Jamaica.

beef patty blue 1

The recipe is simple — you just saute beef with onions and spices, then fill crescent roll dough pieces with the filling and bake.  The only thing I changed was to reduce the amount of oil because I used a non-stick pan to saute it in.  I also drained some of the fat after browning because I used 80/20% beef — not the leanest choice for ground beef!

beef patty blue front

The verdict:  They were heavenly!

The second dish I made was the Brazilian style rice and beans.  I had some extra chicken stock in the fridge that I had to use up, so I used that in place of the water.  I have to say that this dish will become a regular in our house.  It was so delicious and comforting!  We had it the next evening with quesadillas.

rice and beans 1
Since the first two dishes that I tried out were savory, I decided to make a sweet one for the third slot.  Jamie wanted me to make the Caramel Sandwiches from Mexico (graham crackers filled with dulce de leche).  I’m sure they are amazing!  But with all the holiday indulgences we’ve been partaking in, I decided to go with something less decadent, and I made the South African rusks.  I’d never heard of these, but apparently they are quite popular.

rusks

They are kind of cross between a biscuit, crunchy scone, and fat biscotti.  They would also be great at breakfast and perfect for dipping into hot chocolate or coffee.  They are not too sweet — but delicious with a hint of cinnamon and almond extract.  This one was another winner!

I’m excited to make more of the recipes in the book with Jamie since they all seem interesting, easy to make, and most importantly, flavorful!

Check out Everybody Eats Lunch for yourself at Glitterati Incorporated.  You won’t be disappointed. 🙂

Here are the recipes reproduced with permission of the publisher:

Jamaican Beef Patty

beef patty blue side

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 white onion, diced

1/2 pound ground beef

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1/3 cup bread crumbs

2/3 cup beef stock

1 8-ounce package crescent rolls

1 egg, beaten

1/4 teaspoon tumeric

1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2.  In large frying pan, heat oil over medium heat and cook onion for 5 minutes.

3.  Mix in ground beef, thyme, curry powder, salt and pepper, stirring to break up beef.  Cook until beef is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes.

4.  Add breadcrumbs and stock, reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until most of liquid is evaporated, about 5 minutes.

5.  Place crescent roll triangles on ungreased baking sheet.  Place generous tablespoon of beef mixture in center of each and fold over.  Seal edges with fork.

6.  In small bowl, combine egg and turmeric.  Brush tops of each patty with egg mixture.

7.  Bake until golden brown, about 15 minutes.

Serves 4

beef patty cut

Yum!
Note:  I did have extra filling leftover.  This wasn’t a problem, however — it was good plain!

rice and beans 2
Brazilian Rice and Beans 

1/4 pound bacon, diced

1 onion, diced

1 15.5-ounce can pinto or red beans, drained and rinsed

2 cloves garlic, minced

3 bay leaves

2 cups rice

4 cups water

salt and pepper to taste

1.  In large saucepan, cook bacon and onion over medium-high heat until browned, about 8 minutes.

2.  Stir in beans, garlic, bay leaves, rice and water nad bring to boil.  reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until rice is cooked.

3.  Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

Serves 4

Note:  I halved this recipe and still had leftovers.  Also, I used brown rice, so I had to add in more liquid and cook it longer.

rusk square

South African Rusks

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour

1/4 cup sugar

3 tablespoons wheat germ

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup buttermilk

1 egg, beaten,

1/4 cup melted butter (note: this is about 3/4 stick of butter)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 teaspoon almond extract

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In large bowl, combine both flours, sugar, wheat germ, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.

3.  In separate bowl, mix buttermilk, egg, butter, vanilla and almond extract.  Pour over dry ingredients and stir until combined.  Shape into log about 4 inches by 8 inches, and place on baking sheet.  Bake for 25 minutes.  Allow to cool for about 15 minutes, and cut into 1/2-inch slices.

5.  Reduce oven to 350 degrees.  Arrange slices cut-side down on baking sheet.  Bake 15 minutes per side, or until lightly golden.

Makes 12 rusks.

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Filed under Beef, Books, Children, Lunch, Vegetables

Crunchy Tabouleh and Savory and Sweet Breakfast Millet


I recently read Mark Bittman’s Food Matters: A Guide to Conscious Eating with more than 75 Recipes.  Along the lines of Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, it chronicles the many ways in which the way we eat is damaging to both our bodies and the environment.  But it also offers concrete advice in the form of easy, nutritious recipes that you can incorporate into your diet.  His mantra is basically:  Eat less meat.  Eat less animal products.  Eat very little processed food.  Eat a lot of plants.

I always enjoy his recipes because they are written to be experimented with — nothing is set in stone, and he always gives tips on how you can change things up to suit your tastes.

The biggest thing I took away from the book is that I was inspired to start cooking more whole grains other than wheat and oatmeal.

Looking in my pantry and refrigerator, I found that I already had bulgur wheat and millet from who knows when!  I actually use bulgur wheat semi-regularly to make tabouleh whenever I have extra parsley on hand.  Don’t you hate it when a recipe just calls for a “few sprigs of parsley”?  Then you are left with a bunch of parsley that you forget about that gets wilted and worse, slimy, in the vegetable bin.  To avoid this unfortunate situation, I try to wash all the parsley at once when I come home from the green grocer, use what I need, and then use the rest to make Tabouleh.  This time I decided to make it crunchy and add some nutty flavor and protein and threw in some almonds.  It was a really great combination.  You could also add cucumber, scallions, grilled chicken, grilled shrimp, chopped olives, other herbs, such as mint.

I made it my lunch and stuffed it in a pita pocket with a few fried slices of tofu and chopped olives.  The flavors actually worked well together!

As for the millet, I decided to cook up a batch and come up with a way to use it later.  Millet is high in protein and gluten free, so it’s a good grain choice for people who are gluten sensitive.  I like the texture — it is kind of like small rice grains.

I incorporated it into a couple of breakfasts — both savory and sweet, and also ate for lunch with some leftover vegetables and marinara sauce.  It is quite versatile!

For the savory breakfast, I scrambled an egg, heated the millet in the skillet with a bit of water to soften it, and then threw them together in a bowl.  I seasoned it with a bit of Japanese seasoning I had on hand, called Furikake.

It comes in different flavors. This one is just salt, sesame seeds and seaweed.  You could probably make your own if you have nori (dried seaweed) and sesame seeds on hand.

The sweet breakfast was heated millet mixed with a dash of agave syrup, thawed frozen blueberries, and toasted chopped pecans.  SO delicious.  Millet is a nice alternative to oatmeal in the morning — it is chewier and not “gloppy” if you are not in the mood for that texture for breakfast.
I’ll keep experimenting with it and try it out in different dishes.  There are also a wide variety of different grains to try:  amaranth and quinoa, pearl barley — there are so many I have never worked with before!

What are your favorite grains and grain dishes?

Mark Bittman’s basic recipe for cooking any grain is this:

Whole Grains Without Measuring

Adapted from: Food Matters:  Conscious Eating with over 75 Recipes

Makes 8-6 servings

2 cups brown rice (any size), quinoa, barley (any type), oat grats, buckweat groats, steel-cut oats, millet, cracked wheat, hominy, whole rye, farro, kamut, or wild rice; or 1 1/2 cups wheat berries

Salt

Olive oil or other vegetable oil (optional)

1.  Rinse the grain in a strainer, and put it in a large pot with a tight-fitting lid along with a big pinch of salt.  Add enough water to cover by about an inch; if you want the grains on the dry side, cover with closer to 1/2 inch of water.  Use 3 cupt water for pearled barley.  Bring to a boil, then adjust the heat so the mixture bubbles gently.

2.  Cook stirring once in a while, until the grain is tender.  This will take as little as 7 or 8 minutes for steel-cut oats, about 40 minutes for brown rice, and as long as 1 hour for more for wheat berries, hulled or unpearled barley, and other unhulled grains.  Add boiling water as necessary to keep the grains just submerged — don’t let them get dry.

3.  Every now and then test a grain.  They are done when they are barely tender and have some chew.  If the water is all absorbed at this point, cover and remove from heat.  If some water still remains, drain and the grains and immediately return to pot, cover and remove from the heat.

4.  Toss with oil if you like and refrigerate or freeze until ready to use.

Bulgur:  Pour 5 cups boiling water over 2 cups bulgur.  Stir once and let sit.  Fine bulgur will be tender in 10 to 15 minutes, medium in15 to 20 minutes, and coarse in 20 to 25.  Strain using a fine mesh straining, pressing down with a spoon to remove excess water.  Return to bowl and fluff with fork.

Couscous:  Put 2 cups of couscous in a pot with a tight-fitting lid and add 3 cups of water and pinch of salt  Bring the water to a boil, then cover and remove from heat.  Let steep for 5 to 10 minutes (10 minutes for whole wheat), or up to 20.  Fluff with a fork and serve.

Crunchy Tabouleh

About 2/3 cup bulgur wheat

One bunch of flat leaf parsley, chopped

About 2 tablespoons minced onion

1 plum tomato, diced

Salt and pepper to taste

2 teaspoons lemon juice

1 tablespoons olive oil

1 oz. roasted salted almonds, chopped

1. Place bulgur wheat in a medium sized bowl.  Boil 2 cups of water.  When it comes to a boil, pour over bulgur wheat and let sit about 10 minutes.  Drain in a fine mesh sieve, pressing down with a wooden spoon to remove excess water. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.
2.  Add parsley, onion, and tomato to bulgur.  Season with a pinch of salt and toss to combine.

3.  In a small bowl, whisk lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Pour over bulgur mixture.  Fold in almonds. Serve immediately.

Note, if you want almonds to stay crunchy, only add as needed at one serving.

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Filed under Breakfast, Lunch, Sides, Uncategorized, Vegetables