Monday, April 29, 2013


Salad! Salad in a Jar.
I'm one of those people who brings lunch to work. Often I'll also bring snacks: a handful of olives, slices of cheese, chopped mango,mixed nuts. As a Park Slope Food Co-op card-carrying member, my co-workers have been known to make fun of the variety and amount of food I bring to work, even as they jealously eye my lunch while biting into their protein bars washed down with Red Bull.

I don't care. I enjoy taking the time to eat well. Over the years I've gotten efficient at the dinner leftover transformation into brown bag lunch. However salads had remained elusive. If I really wanted one, it would require three containers: one for greens, one for whatever was on the salad, and one for dressing.

Enter Salad in a Jar.

I noticed an intriguing post on @nycsharaton's Instagram feed. Salads! In jars! I'd seen something like that floating around on Pinterest, so I took a better look. You pack from wet to dry. Wet stuff in the bottom (dressing, tomatoes, cucumbers, etc...) and dry stuff on top (mesclun, spinach, etc..) That way things stay separated until ready to eat and the greens stay fresh.

Depending on what you put in it, it can last a week. I've done it a couple of times now and have loved the results. When I'm putting together a salad in the evening, I pack an extra jar and take it to work the following day. Since I don't like having just salad for lunch, I do a small jar as a side.

Pictured: lemon yoghurt dressing, cucumbers, shredded beets, broccoli sprouts, and mesclun. I that order. It was light an refreshing salad to go with an arepa sandwich lunch.

You're stuck carrying a jar, but if you're lucky, maybe you'll be visiting a friend that evening for bookclub and she'll fill your empty jar with cookies. Thank you, Tara

Chocolate Chip Cookies in a jar

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Olived Oranges

Olived Oranges
As a kid, I had no interest in learning how to cook. I thought I'd always have others cooking for me. At home, or out, cooking was something others would do while I pursued whatever self-important thing I wanted to pursue.

If neither of those two options were available, by the time I grew up we'd be eating scientifically designed nutritional packets while  strapping on our jetpacks to head to the glass-domed labs and work compounds.

I'm glad that's not the way things turned out. Besides, somewhere along the way I developed a love for the kind of food that's not easy to find in restaurants.

Though I mostly cook without recipes, I look at them for inspiration. A couple of months ago I bumped into The Exalted Olive by Mark Bittman. Olives and oranges seemed like a strange combination, but since lightly salted oranges is one of my favorite things to eat after a hot summer run, I thought I'd give them a try.

Since that first attempt, I've been having this about once a week. The first time I made it I tried to make it look like the original recipe picture. As if that ever worked. Then I decided it was better to chop and toss. I also skip making my own olive puree in favor of a jar of olive paste that had been languishing in the back of the fridge waiting for the right moment.

It's a simple pleasure. Chopped orange slices, tossed with olive oil and a bit of olive puree. Light and filling. It works well on its own, as part of a tapas style dinner, or as a starter. Two oranges can be enough for dinner if I'm not too hungry. One per person is an appetizer.

This will come in handy on those hot summer nights that are up ahead. Even though this has been the winter that refuses to quit, I believe in summer.