Archive for lunch box

Mongolian Style Pork Loin

Posted in asian, discount, eggs, pork, rice, sauce, squash with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 7, 2013 by oskila

Read about Mongolian food in the newspaper and became a bit interested. Thought about the article for a couple of days and then decided to try cooking something that more or less resembled that particular cuisine. A bit of googling around hints that this dish may or may not actually be authentic, but could be a Chinese impression of what Mongolians eat or a westernized version. The recipe in the paper was intended for beef – i have no idea whether just substituting beef for pork will be odd or not.

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The marinade, which is the significant part of this type of food, I’d say. It contains dark soy sauce, sugar, an egg, rice vinegar, oil, powdered chili peppers, baking soda and tapioca starch. The recipe also called for hoisin sauce, but I made my own instead combining ssamjang, Worcestershire sauce and powdered garlic. I have no idea what the baking soda is for, possibly something about crunchiness. The original recipe also called for grated ginger, which I didn’t have.

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Strips of pork go in marinade. Longer is better, preferrably at least an hour.

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These three are the rest of the dish, apart from rice. Carrots are nearly always cheap and the spring onions and zucchinis were this week.

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While the meat is marinating, fry the vegetables for a bit. Mushrooms would probably be good too. Mixing everything together in the same pan could end up chaotic and ugly-looking since the marinade contains egg and starch and would likely stick to everything.

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Put vegetables aside and stir-fry the meat. This is too much meat for one pan really. It’d been better to use two pans or fry twice. The recipe said to fry quickly over high heat, but they used beef and not pork, so I had to be a bit more careful.

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A bowl of supposedly Mongolian pork, some vegetables and rice. Had the meat and marinade been prepared say the day before, the cooking part had been really quick, which lunch-box improvisers like me appreciate.

We’re frying salad now?

Posted in asian, cabbage, meatballs, rice with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 20, 2013 by oskila

Here in Sweden, Chinese cabbage (or nappa cabbage, or napa cabbage) is mostly encountered in a salad bowl, but in Korea it’s commonly used for kimchi (i.e. fermented and spiced) and in China the seeds are pressed for cooking oil. It’s also used in stir fries in many stir-frying countries, something which seems pretty far fetched to a Swedish palate.

I had to try it of course and whipped up a lunch box, containing fried rice, garlic sprouts and Chinese cabbage. In the end I added some prefab meatballs to get more protein in there. It wasn’t bad at all and I recognized the texture, so I think I must have had it on occasion in a box of Thai or Chinese take-away.

Super ugly phone photo today, because I was in a hurry.

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Eight Minute Lunch Box

Posted in asian, condiments, eggs, noodles, okra, vegetarian with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 15, 2013 by oskila

Tram to work leaves in half an hour, you forgot to pack lunch the night before and the takeaway opportunities at work are sketchy at best? Fear not. Do like this:

1. Put on kettle with just enough water to soften a block of noodles.

2. Heat a pan

3. Chop some garlic sprouts and put in pan with oil. Add some kind of spice that benefits from a bit of sizzling, like Sichuan pepper.

4. Toss some frozen okra in the same pan. Be careful, because the oil will not like this at all and end up everywhere.

5. When the kettle is boiling, pour water over noodles in bowl.

6. Keep stirring pan.

7. Drain noodles and add to pan. Season some more.

8. When the sear on the okra is satisfactory, scrape everything into a box.

9. Fry an egg and put in the box.

10. Finishing touches such as condiments.

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The lunch in all its glory. I got hold of some Taiwanese wheat noodles that are spinach flavored according to the label, but only contain flour, water, salt and food coloring E102 and E133. Those colorants happen to be Tartrazine and Brilliant Blue FCF, both of which are synthesized from petroleum and may be harmful to people with allergies or asthma (And therefore used to be forbidden in Sweden until the EU made a fuss) The two condiment dollops are ssamjang (top) and sambal oelek (bottom).

All of this can be done inside eight minutes. Remove the egg (and perhaps add more vegetables) and you’ll have a vegan lunch instead.

Clearance Stew: Gumbo-inspired Muck

Posted in american, cabbage, cajun, crossover, discount, ground beef, leftovers, mushroom, okra, peppers, sausage, stew, stock with tags , , , , , , , , , on March 8, 2013 by oskila

It was one of those days when the leftovers and odds and ends reached critical mass. A number of loose food ends that are at risk of going bad unless they’re chucked out (which is very unfashionable these days) or made into a clearance stew (a.k.a. fridge stew). Such stews can take any number of directions, depending on what it is that you’ve forgotten behind the eggs and the jam. The deciding factor for me was probably the bag of okra pods in the freezer. I bought them just because I could, with only a vague idea that they’re used for thickening in Cajun cooking. As per usual, I knew very little about the dish I was going to get inspired by, in this case gumbo. Apart from okra I seemed to recall that onions, celery and green peppers were important, and that it was supposed to be fairly spicy. From there it was touch and go.

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Leftover spanish chorizo, beef stock cubes, ground beef (bought just before Christmas, frozen and forgotten) green bell pepper, the last bit of savoy cabbage, shallots, carrots, cured sausages of some kind, red chili pepper, mushrooms, garlic, onion, celery and okra. Since the main protein is ground beef, this dish can at most be Cajun-inspired or have a hint of Louisiana, but my intention wasn’t to make actual gumbo, but rather to make a stew that’d last all week.

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Chopped onions, carrots, garlic, celery, peppers and chili. Whole shallots.

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Beef, mushrooms, cabbage, cured sausage and chorizo added

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Stock and okra go in, along with some herbs and a bit of tomato paste

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A couple of hours of slow simmering produces half a gallon of swamp-like stew. Way tastier than it looks.

 

A quick one on salad

Posted in bacon, eggs, pasta, salad with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 6, 2013 by oskila

I’m thinking there’s going to be an increase in food photographed in plastic boxes since I only eat school food on Thursdays (and have no scheduled lunch at all on Fridays)

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Here, a kind of salad, made with the first chicory I’ve ever bought, elbow macaroni, hard boiled egg and diced bacon. Dressed with mayo and a bit of mango vinegar. Whipped up, boxed and brought to work in less than ten minutes (the commute to work is 40-50 minutes though)

Becoming a Cabbage-Head: The Accidental LCHF Lunch

Posted in bacon, cabbage, stew with tags , , , , , , , , on February 4, 2013 by oskila

Those who read this blog regularly may have noticed that there’s cabbage involved quite often. I think I’m becoming a cabbage-head. This time it’s mostly because the Savoy cabbage was cheap and the creamed kale of the second last post turned out so very awesome.

LCHF is a diet which I’m not committed to, but this dish sneaks in under the radar, containing nothing too carby.

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This is where this post started. Savoy cabbage. It’s a lot more interesting than ordinary green cabbage in my opinion. A fuller, more characteristic flavour. It came at a fairly good price and I needed lunch.

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Also relevant is this onion here. If it’s actually a shallot it’s the largest one I’ve ever seen.

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Boil shredded cabbage in bouillon of your choice for about 10 minutes, then rinse in cold water and drain before searing it along with finely chopped onion in a bit of butter. Then add salt or some of the cooking liquid, white pepper and nutmeg and a good helping of cream. Let it simmer until stewy. Fry up some bacon separately.

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Lunch! Many of the LCHF followers I’ve met eat bacon like there’s no tomorrow, but I strongly suspect that there’s some sugar involved in the curing process. Chucked the packaging before I could check. Either way there’s a considerable amount of sodium in this dish if you’re scared of that sort of thing. I was mostly after an easy, tasty meal that could withstand a night in the fridge and a couple of minutes in a microwave oven the next day. It’s not a very large helping of food as lunches go, but since it’s pretty fatty it doesn’t have to be a lot to keep one full for the rest of the working day.

A Quick Stop to Meddle with Chili.

Posted in american, bacon, beans, condiments, corn, discount, ground beef, peppers, rice, stew, tex-mex with tags , , on September 18, 2012 by oskila

Since I spent a lot of spring and summer writing blog posts instead of school papers, this semester has had a bit of a rough start.  There’s still a lot to do before I can relax, but I felt a need to at least post a little something. Autumn is about to get serious (even took some time this weekend to pick a bit of mushrooms) and one starts to long for big pots of food that has simmered for hours on end and keeps you warm all week. Also the time for economically minded university students like me to start putting boxed lunches in the freezer. I hit the store and started forming a plan when there was good discounts on both bell peppers and minced beef.

I’d like to apologize to an chili purists out there in advance, as this post might be offensive to you, just like what I did to the other national dish of the United States a while back was potentially offensive. Before cooking the dish for this post I had never laid eyes upon a recipe for chili con carne, nor did I until I had started eating, after which I learned that there are lots of interesting dichotomies and conflicts regarding what constitutes proper chili. But we’ll sort that out along the way.

Sweating onions, garlic and bell peppers. Apparently, onions aren’t really allowed (but onion powder is fine) and peppers should at least be red, but preferably hotter than bell.

Browning ground beef. Choosing ground meat over cut seems to be a big faux pas among chili aficionados, according to the internet.

Adding bacon (which is technically diced pork, should be safe) and seasonings, including chili powders (ancho and nameless) cumin, powdered onion, cocoa, dried basil, chili paste (which is probably unheard of and not right at all) and tomato paste. Tomato is another matter of debate within the modern chili paradigm. My excuse for using paste is that my fiancée is allergic to tomatoes in most forms, but can endure cooked paste without discomfort.

A few minutes later, the minced beef has joined the party along with beef stock, beans and sweet corn. In Sweden, chili con carne is strongly associated with beans, especially kidney beans, but I’m given to understand that Texan law enforcers may fire at will upon those about to put beans in chili. I don’t know if anyone but me puts corn in chili con carne, but I’ve always done that for no other reasons than that it’s an American vegetable and it tastes good.

Here it’s been simmering for a hour and a half, which is a bit on the short side, but considering that I’m using ground and not diced meat I saw no reason to keep from eating it any longer.

And the potentially abominable, chili-esque gringo food is done and plated. I added a bit of rice to secure more lunchboxes and crème frâiche and corn chips for awesomeness.

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