Did anyone else grow up with a mother who firmly believed that breakfast was the most important meal of the day? Mama was definitely a believer, which suited me just fine since I always woke up in the morning with the appetite of a a linebacker. To this day, I wake up with a growling stomach and don’t feel right until I get some kind of fuel in my body (the kind that’s more substantial than coffee).
My sister was the opposite. She couldn’t tolerate the idea of food first thing in the morning and my mother would fuss at her until she at least deigned to eat a slice of toast.
Me? I’d be munching away on anything I could get my hands on, although I was particularly partial to leftovers from the night before, particularly if it was cold spaghetti.
“That’s so disgusting,” my sister would hiss across the table, nose wrinkled in distaste. Hmph. Everyone to his own, I say.
The only things I never really liked to eat for breakfast were, strangely, two quite popular breakfast foods: cereal and eggs.
Cereal just wasn’t substantial enough for my morning meal–I’d gladly eat a bowl of cereal after school or before heading to bed at night, but it didn’t cut it for me when the sun first came up.
Eggs just turned my stomach in the early hours, which I realize is strange–a girl who can slurp cold spaghetti or leftover curry in the morning really has no business turning up her nose at an egg, does she?
Well, I turned my nose up and it remains turned to this day. I just can’t do eggs in the a.m. It’s the smell that gets me, for some reason.
Alas, everyone else in my family, including the dog, adores a morning egg, so I still have to whip up “the essence of unrealized chickens” and suffer the smell of them every. single. day. It’s lucky that family of mine’s so cute, I tell ya.
Once the morning drifts by, however, I’m perfectly amenable to an egg. When I was a single working girl, I’d tuck into an omelet for dinner at least once or twice a week. It’s easy, it’s quick, and you can sneak almost any kind of leftover produce or knobs of errant cheese into an omelet. I like that.
Now that I’m at home (alone with piles of laundry and two needy pets) most of the day, I’m most apt to eat an egg at the lunch hour.
Because I’m so avant-garde, and hip to shit, and down with the times, I usually put my egg in a bowl with some grains and vegetables that I’ve cooked in mass quantities early in the week. Then I add this absolutely freaking genius 6-minute egg and some Greek yogurt and of course, some avocado and seeds. You know…I’m eating the whole grain/protein/veggie bowl that everyone in New York and LA has been sucking down for about 3-4 years now.
But I’m doing it now! And it’s awesome!
So here’s the thing about these grain/veggie/protein bowls. They really are a perfect solution to your lunchtime quandary, but you have to be organized. I mean, unless you want to spend time every single day cooking off whole grains and vegetables and I’m going to take a wild gander that you don’t want to do that. I know I don’t.
So here’s what I do. Over the weekend, I cook off a bucketload of some kind of whole grain. Often it’s farro, but sometimes it’s something exotic like black rice and sometimes it’s something as pedestrian as barley. It’s never quinoa, though, because quinoa sucks. It just does.
I also buy and cook off a donkeyload of vegetables (a real donkeyload if I’m cooking leafy greens like spinach or Swiss chard, because those suckers shrink up faster than a Hot Topic shirt in the clothes dryer). My current favorite for my lunchtime nosh is a mixture of sweet onion, garlic, Swiss chard and mushrooms, cooked off in some coconut oil and seasoned with liquid smoke and a dash of soy sauce and chile flakes. If I have cherry tomatoes loitering around, I’ll throw those in, too.
Yes, it’s a pain in the keister to do all of that weekend prep and cooking.
Yes, it’s totally gonna save your keister during the week if you just suck it up and do it.
Then, when you find yourself, mid-week, at mid-day, starving and contemplating zipping to the nearest drive-thru for some fried crime against ass and humanity, you can feel grateful and smug that your healthy, delicious bowl of virtuous eating is a mere 8-or-so minutes away.
Makes you feel so organized and adult, right?
Plus, look how pretty your stinking lunch is.
It’s almost pretty enough for you to (after you lick the bowl clean), sign up for your local CSA delivery, book that caviar facial and log onto the GOOP website and plan your Christmas list for 2017.
Don’t do that.
Your nearest and dearest don’t want the gold-plated, GOOP-endorsed vaginal steamer in their Christmas stocking this December.
So don’t do that.
Well, except for the lick the bowl clean part.That part is completely safe.
Breakfast, Lunch, Anytime Bowl
2/3 cup cooked grain of choice: farro, brown rice, barley, black rice, quinoa, etc.
2/3-1 cup sauteed veggies of choice: spinach, chard, kale, onions, zucchini, tomatoes, etc.
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon cumin
kosher salt and pepper
dash of hot sauce or red pepper flakes
1/2 medium avocado, pitted
2 tablespoons whole-milk plain Green yogurt
sprinkle of sunflower seeds or chopped nuts
1 perfect 6-minute egg, large (instructions below)
drizzle of lemon juice (optional)
For 6-minute perfect egg: Bring a small saucepan of water to a boil. Add a large, refrigerator-cold egg to the water. Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer for 6 minutes.* Set a timer! When the timer goes off, transfer the egg with a slotted spoon to a bowl of ice water and cool for 5-6 minutes. Peel egg and cut in half.
Meanwhile, build bowl: Heat olive oil in a small skillet. Add the leftover grains, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, and hot sauce, if using. Add leftover sauteed vegetables and warm through.
Transfer grain mixture to a bowl. Top with egg and avocado. Add a dollop of yogurt, a sprinkle of sesame seeds, some more salt and pepper, and a drizzle of lemon juice, if desired.
*If you live at high altitude, your egg may take 6 1/2-7 minutes of cooking time. It depends on how big your egg is and how cold it is straight out of the refrigerator. 6 to 6 1/2 minutes is usually my zone, but if you like your egg a little firmer, add a few more seconds of cooking time.