Wednesday, May 23, 2012

on living (and eating) well... plus an easy weekday lunch

If it isn't already obvious, I take eating quite seriously. My husband gets amused by how I actually enjoy food shopping - whether in a farmers' market, or a specialty food store, even in a regular grocery store - I don't see it as a chore to get over and done with (ironing, however, is another story). He also gets amused by how I pack my lunch and dinner for my long days at the university - with all my little containers for the main meal and a few sides and maybe a little garnish, plus some fruit and dark chocolate. And how I peruse a restaurant menu with utmost concentration - whether online before we actually head out (I want to be prepared!) or in the restaurant, to strategically plan the dish I want to try for each course.

I'm admittedly picky about food - in the sense that I prefer to use simple yet quality ingredients to the greatest extent possible. Another food-loving friend and I had a conversation about how we are both "food snobs" - but for the right reasons. We want to live well. And don't we all? As I've said before, life's too short to eat bad food.

I actually don't like hurried meals. I remember when I worked a regular job and sometimes had to eat lunch at my desk - not my favorite thing to do. I am thankful that in my current situation of working at home, I am able to avoid it.

In between work and errands today (e.g., car registration renewal - not my most favorite thing to do either), I did my best to pause and actually compose my lunch, no matter how simple it might be. I ended up with this:

This is one of those dishes that are actually non-recipes. I just took a couple of handfuls of baby arugula and piled it on my favorite salad bowl, then topped it with Italian butter beans (which I marinated quickly - 5 minutes - in extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, dried herbes de Provence, salt and pepper) and a poached egg, then finished it off with shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano. An extra douse of extra virgin olive oil, a little more lemon juice, coarse sea salt, and cracked black pepper - and there you have it, a simple weekday lunch.

I love meals like this - and I usually make some variation of this salad and swap out ingredients depending on what I have. I typically start with either baby arugula or baby spinach. Other times I use cannellini beans. Sometimes I add diced avocado for a little creaminess. Maybe some grapefruit segments to cut through the richness of the avocado. Toasted pine nuts or walnuts for crunch. I might have a slice of crusty bread if I feel like it. Sometimes I keep my salad dressing extremely unfussy (as above, EV olive oil, lemon juice); other times I crave a more complex flavor and I might add a little bit of minced shallot or Dijon mustard, maybe some chopped herbs.

It saddens me that sitting down for a meal has become a luxury for many - I've experienced this too. But sitting down to enjoy a good meal - whether in the company of loved ones, or in solitude, truly is one of life's simple pleasures - to pause, use some good china, a linen napkin... and then give some thanks and enjoy some simple yet really good food.

I hope you, too, savored your lunch today...

Meanwhile, I'm already thinking about tomorrow's midday meal. I think it will be spaghetti cacio e pepe (another one of those non-recipes, unfussy yet so delicious). Noodles for long life, for my birthday lunch.

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Anne said...

i love the napkin!

enjoy your Birthday today, mia!

Mia said...

Thanks Anne!

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