Also known as the “Can I just eat with my hands?” edition. But more on that in a moment.
I’ve long admired Chris Kimball’s tenacity in the kitchen. Even if I’m unable to mimic it.
Chris is the man behind America’s Test Kitchen, which produces Cook’s Illustrated and Cook’s Country magazines, as well as a variety of television shows spun off from them.
They have an impressive — some would say obsessive-compulsive — approach to recipe development. They test recipes 100 times or more to suss out the best and easiest way to get great results.
I wish I could be that exacting, but that doesn’t quite mesh with my morning lunch packing routine. Which is yet another reason I’m so happy Chris does that heavy lifting for me.
But Chris and Parker do have something in common. They both live in test kitchens. And that means there are always leftovers hanging around, waiting to be put to good use.
And that was the source of Chris’ offering for today’s lunch — leftover pho his test kitchen was developing.
It looks amazing to me. But I’m not sure all of it would fly with my little guy. Still, I knew there was something I could play with here. Noodles, beef, a splash of broth seemed like not just a fine lunch, but a fine way to use up leftovers.
So that’s where I started. Leftover pasta (in this case, udon noodles). Leftover steak, thinly sliced. A splash of beef broth. A splash of hot sauce — just enough to heighten the flavors, not enough to add any heat. A generous sprinkle of salt.
And this was the result… A lunch in less than 5 minutes.
And though I didn’t need to pack it today — Parker doesn’t head back to school until Sept. 3 — this would pop into a thermos without trouble. And of course it would be easy enough to add veggies, assuming your kid was so inclined…
As soon as I set it down in front of him, Parker perked up, then said: “Well, how about if I just eat it with my hands?”
To be honest, I couldn’t think of a reason to say no. So there you go.
Oh, and for something a little different… My lunch. Despite writing this blog, I don’t tend to be all that creative when it comes to my own lunches. But today, the cherry tomatoes from the farm stand were just so sweet and delicious, I needed to do something special with them.
So I sliced them, tossed them on some foil with salt and a bit of oil, then grilled them. While they were still hot, I spooned some of the fig vinaigrette I mentioned yesterday over them, then added some of the steak that didn’t make it into Parker’s lunch. Delicious!
Meanwhile, I have once again managed to miscount, though this time I think I had originally miscounted the total number of books sent to me for the Buy Lunch, Get Dinner Free! giveaway.
The pile keeps going down, but there always seem to be more. Thirty more, to be precise. So head over to Amazon and preorder “Beating the Lunch Box Blues,” then forward your order confirmation to firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a free copy of my last cookbook, “High Flavor, Low Labor.”
But all of the Rachael Ray cookbooks have been claimed, so thank you so much for all your support!