I pack a lot of lunches. Luckily, as a college professor, my academic schedule is similar to my kids’ school year. That means I pretty much get to take the summer off from lunch packing. This could be one of the reasons that I’m pretty motivated to make good lunches; I get that much needed break in the summer. When I’m teaching, I often have very little time for lunch. Sometimes I eat during my office hours and sometimes I have a weird schedule like this quarter, in which I have a class that meets from 11:00 in the morning until 2:00pm (it’s a terrible class time). When I’m on campus, I pretty much always have to bring my lunch to work. Some days, I have no energy for making myself a fancy lunch once I’ve finished cobbling together a family dinner, cleaning the kitchen and making lunches for the kids. BUT, occasionally I can muster the will to pack myself a lovely sandwich—and, oh, how I love a lovely sandwich. I would be so excited to have a job in which all I did was come up with interesting sandwich combinations. Look at the gorgeous sandwich I made for my lunch today: it’s got cilantro microgreens that I discovered at the farmers market over the weekend, avocado sprinkled with chile limón seasoning, cheese, and thinly sliced grilled pork loin on sprouted wheat bread with mayo and brown mustard. I can’t wait to eat it today!
One of my all time favorite sandwiches is the Cubano: roasted pork, ham, swiss cheese, dill pickles and mustard all smashed together and grilled on a soft white sandwich roll. Oh, it’s decadent and a testament to my continued failure at vegetarianism. But, no matter—I had to do something with those leftover grilled country style ribs. The kiddos each got an itty bitty Cubano in their lunch boxes today. On the side is a nice, fresh fruit salad with oranges, kiwis and apples. I also threw in some Goldfish and dried apricots. Oh, and about that big marshmallow in the center: it’s from the Epic LEGO Cake project for Iain’s birthday.
Yesterday it poured rain here, but that didn’t stop us from loading up the grill with country style pork ribs. Several years ago, I received a couple of tins of Tom Douglas’ Rub with Love for Christmas. Tom Douglas is a fantastic chef in Seattle and he makes a mean rub. I have used his Salmon Rub on just about everything; it’s especially good on pork. I ran out of Tom’s spice rub long ago, but I continue to make my own mix in the original container. It’s a brilliant combination of salt, smoked paprika, brown sugar, and thyme. My proportions never seem to be exactly the same as Tom’s, but my hackneyed version still makes everything taste amazing. I always use it on ribs. You won’t even need to add barbecue sauce. Okay, if you like wet Kansas City style barbecue, you can still use sauce. Who am I to tell anyone how to serve their barbecue? I cut off some nice lean chunks of rib meat for the kid lunches today. I got the lovely strawberries, raspberries, and carrots at the farmers market on Saturday. Those shiny shriveled black things are my favorite French prunes. Without the pretzels and bunny grahams carbs, this meal would be almost paleo.
Grilled pork: it’s the gift that keeps on giving. Today’s main lunch item is a whole grain quesadilla with grilled pork and barbecue sauce. Yummers. The pretty pink and red compartment has strawberries and greek yogurt with strawberry jam swirled in. I also included some grapes and sliced carrots. The more colors in the lunch, the better—and healthier—it looks. The treat is a couple of chocolate mints.
Cooking Tip: For the best, crispiest quesadillas, use a dry cast iron pan over medium heat. Cast iron pans are awesome in so many ways: they are cheap, basically indestructible, and totally non-stick when seasoned properly. I have fancy pants expensive All Clad pans, but, more often than not, I use one of my cast iron pans for sautéing and such.