Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lunch on October 13, 2011 - showing some restraint!

I continue to love the Planet Box lunchbox I blogged about yesterday.  It's so sleek and really well designed.  There are a few kinks to work out, or just accept.  For example I have just resigned myself to the fact that the once beautiful carrying case is going to get gross.  I spot clean it each time it comes home but there are always stains on it.  Either food has leaked onto it, or Juju touched it with dirty hands, or she dropped food on it (she eats from the stainless steel container while it's still in the carrying case).  But I'm still in the honeymoon phase with this lunch container so I'm sticking with it.  I looked at one of Juju's other lunchboxes on the counter today and felt sorry for it; it's not going to see the light of day for a while.  My friend Lirona mentioned in the comments in yesterday's post that her daughter's preschool likes the Planet Box because it's only one container for them to help her daughter open.  That's a good point.  And Lirona likes that it's only one thing to clean.  I agree but I don't like that the magnets need to be removed to clean the lunchbox because I clean it every day which means I am removing and then replacing them each time.  It gets a little annoying.  I wish they were washable stickers instead.

After a whole lot of today's lunch came home in the Planet Box, I came to terms with the fact that I am sending too much food for lunch.  So, for tomorrow's meal I tried to show a little restraint.  One of Juju's classmates who was playing with Juju's Planet Box during pick-up time showed me that Juju's fork set can fit perfectly into one of the compartments in the unit.  Brilliant!  You never know how much you can learn from a 3-year old.

I took the friend's advice and filled one of the compartments with a fork for tomorrow's lunch which kept me from filling that area with food.  Along with the fork I am serving mac and cheese with veggies, edamame, and orange slices.  I really tried hard to leave the center section empty but I had some dark chocolate covered sunflower seeds in my pantry and I couldn't resist adding a little bit of color to the lunch!



I happened to be at Target today when I stumbled upon a great sale on Thermos brand stainless steel straw water bottles.  Ok fine, I didn't exactly stumble upon it, I often check out the kid's lunch section for fun (call it research for this blog).  Anyway, these water bottles usually cost around $18-$20 dollars each and today they were on sale for about $13.  Unfortunately none of them are plain, they all have characters on them but at this price, I don't really mind Juju shilling for Hello Kitty at the lunch table.  I can't find a link on the website but you can find them in person.  While I was there I checked out the variety of lunch bags, boxes, and containers available for sale.  They didn't have any interesting stainless steel options but some of the lunch bags themselves were really cute and well priced.  If I were in the market for a lunch bag (I'm not, I'm not, I'm really not!) my choice would be the Rambler lunch bag or a super cute one that isn't online but is in the shape of a frog and comes with a frog ice pack.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The lunch box fairy delivers again - the Planet Box is here!

As you know I have fantasized about a number of stainless steel lunch containers on this website and have added a good number of them to my repertoire with mixed reviews.  You'll remember I swooned over the much ballyhooed Planet Box lunch box only to turn on it later because of it's price, low rating on the "cute" scale, and seeming inflexibility.  Well, as the proud new owner of a Planet Box, I have to say, I was wrong, it's pretty incredible, and Juju and I are in love.

First I have to explain how it came to be that I own a Planet Box lunchbox in the first place.  You'll recall I had vowed to stop purchasing lunch box accessories and focus on making the most of my current stash.  But, I have no control over the Lunch Fairy (who, it turns out, is alive and well and living in New York - after a brief sojourn in Los Angeles when she brought me these).

One of my oldest and dearest friends Erin told me she was coming to LA to visit her family and friends with her husband and ADORABLE 3 month old son, Freddy.  Erin has done so much for me over the years; she consistently goes above and beyond what normal good friends do for one another and I hope I she knows how much I appreciate all she has ever done for me.  Naturally I offered to loan Erin a bunch of Juju's old baby stuff to spare her the hassle of lugging a car seat or stroller across the country or wonder where her little guy would be able to nap comfortably.   Considering how many times Erin has helped me pack up and move dorm rooms and apartments, lug odd-sized things around Manhattan, fend off unwanted advances from cab drivers, and just been there for me as one of the most positive influences in my life for the last 15 or so years, it was the least I could do.  And since her sister lives so close by, I didn't really think I had done very much by dropping the stuff off before her her arrival.

Well, according to Erin, I had done her such a big favor that she deemed Juju and I (but let's be honest, it was mostly for me!) worthy of a visit from the Lunch Fairy.  I could hardly believe my eyes when I opened up a box left on my doorstep last week containing the Planet Box, a beautiful purple carrying case, and groovy magnet/stickers to go on top.  It was so unexpected and unnecessary yet absolutely the perfect gift.  Thank you Erin.  If only you knew getting to hang out with you and Scott and Freddy was gift enough!  You're amazing.

Juju played with the box (without food) all night long and I was so excited to pack her lunch in it the next day.  It has so far exceeded my expectations.  The box is really well designed and I love that the lunch is packed flat (it looks like a mini lap top in a case when packed) so it's easy to store in my crowded refrigerator.  My only problem is that I end up serving more food than I normally would because I try to fill each space with food for aesthetic reasons.  I either need to get over that or figure out ways to make less food look like more.

Here are the three lunches I have served so far with the Planet Box.  The first is shells and cheese with peas, cucumber, avocado, strawberries, and a few chocolate covered raisins.


Today I served cottage cheese, brown rice, tomatoes and cucumbers, strawberries and raspberries, and a mini brownie bite.  I am not sure how I feel about sending a dessert every day.  It was easy last year knowing that we couldn't send any dessert; I didn't have to decide.  I hadn't been sending dessert this year until I learned that on Mondays, the hot lunch served at school comes with a dessert.  I didn't want Juju to feel left out when sitting next to her hot lunch-eating friends so I sent a sweet with her lunch too.  Today's lunch experience also revealed that Juju is probably the first luncher to bring a Planet Box to school. . .nobody noticed that she didn't put the lid back on the cottage cheese container when she was packing up her lunch today and it leaked all over the beautiful new purple carrying case.  Fortunately, it washed pretty easily.  But it was really gross and I'm not sure how to prevent it from happening in the future.


And tomorrow I am serving homemade turkey meatballs, brown rice, green beans, a cut up plum, and ok, yes, another brownie bite.  We have a few small brownies in the freezer leftover from an event this weekend and I might just have to include them until they run out.  My lunch packing-induced OCD is kicking in and I'm just not content to leave any compartments empty.  The first step in healing is admitting you have a problem, right?


I still love Juju's new for school blue lunchbox and I am sure I will go back to it at some point when I decide to switch things up but for now the Planet Box is just too much fun!

Saved by the egg

I have been working really hard and have been a bit stressed but, blogging here really relaxes me so I'm excited to take a break and catch you up on a few lunches gone by.  One of the major stressors is actually something great - Milkstars nursing tops and dresses are now available at A Pea in the Pod stores on the East Coast and are expanding to more stores - maybe near you! - this holiday season.  It's been a lot of work on my end but I'm hopeful it will turn into something great.

Even though I haven't been writing, I have been documenting some of my lunches with photos.  About a week or two ago, it was Sunday night, and around 9PM I suddenly remembered I had to pack a lunch for the next day (and the next day, and the next day).  I kind of freaked since we didn't have much food in the house but then I remembered that my husband loves eggs and we always have a ton in the house.  And then I remembered my friend Annie H. once gave me a great recipe for mini-frittatas that I blogged about here.

Fortunately, I had most of the ingredients needed either fresh or frozen (in this case I used frozen spinach and a red onion since that was the only kind of onion we had around).  I played with the proportions a bit to make more frittatas without actually having to double the recipe and things came out really well.

Here is a photo of the frittatas when they came out of the oven.


And here is the lunch I put together with other things we had in the fridge.  The rice also came from the freezer.  Trader Joe's sells frozen bags of 3-minute rice which are good at the last minute when I realize I have not packed any sort of grain for my daughter and remind myself that my 3 year is not on an Atkins diet.  On the contrary, as you might remember she never met a carbohydrate she didn't like.


Our whole family ate the frittatas for lunch; they were great hot or cold.  I even sent them as snack another day that week.  The lunch that day was half a turkey sandwich, fruit, and homemade butternut squash soup that I hope arrived to the lunch table warm but I will never know. . .



Friday, September 23, 2011

Week of 9/19/11 - Kids Menus, Bread, and Lunch

I sometimes wish I had time to photograph every lunch I make as I imagine this blog would turn into a yearbook of sorts detailing everything Juju ever ate in preschool.  But as I type that it sounds a little disgusting. . .so I am glad my schedule prevents me from documenting every morsel to cross her lips.

While I may not be blogging a lot, I must be a copywriter at heart because I continue to think up blog titles (if not the entries themselves).  I considered writing a post called "Roast on Toast" about how I repurposed some prime rib from a dinner last weekend and another called "The (Hot) Dog Days Are Over" about the week we go vegan but alas, we haven't cut animal products out of our lives entirely just yet (though we have made an effort to consume fewer of them so we're on our way) so those posts never made it here.

I was also thinking about this blog when I went to dinner at Ca' Del Sole, a great Italian restaurant here in LA my family has been dining at for years.  I was so delighted by their children's menu that I asked for a second copy to take home (Juju had scribbled all over her copy while waiting for her food) so I could photograph it and include it here.  Wow, I'm a huge nerd.

One of the things that really bugs me about children's menus at restaurants is that they so rarely have any connection to the menu and flavor of the kitchen serving them.  I understand there are a lot of picky young eaters out there and I know why restaurants want to accomodate them but I don't understand why in addition to the chicken nuggets or buttered pasta on the menu they can not also include smaller versions of their regular dishes.  I sometimes order Juju an adult appetizer at a restaurant because the kids' menu is so unappealing (not to mention lacking in flavor or nutrition) and I would rather get her something that is designed for her.  And, let's not forget that ordering from the regular menu is a lot more expensive than ordering off the kid's one.  I've always thought that it would be easier for a restaurant to just make a smaller size of whatever they are already cooking anyway instead of pulling out special food just for kid diners.  And I think a lot of that could be appealing to young eaters if presented in the right way.  Am I wrong?

The folks at Ca' Del Sole don't think so and I was delighted to see that they put some real effort and imagination into their kid's menu.  Children can choose from a real Italian (well, American Italian at least) menu with sophisticated ingredients like fresh Heirloom tomatoes, twists on the standard pasta fare like pumpkin ravioli, and even their very own kid-sized Caeser salad appetizer.   Juju often feels left out when the adults get their appetizer course and she has to wait until the second course for her food.  I love that this menu offers an affordable option for a children's appetizer so they can participate in the whole restaurant experience.


In case you were curious, Juju had the Fritto Misto (I had some of it - it was delicious!) and the Chicken Milanese (don't you dare call it a chicken finger, it was way out of its league).  She of course had the flourless chocolate cake for dessert!  It was a ton of food for a 3-year old; she probably could have gotten by with just one entree but she enjoyed everything.  I will certainly be back to Ca' Del Sole with Juju.

Also last week I tried this bread recipe my friend Lirona gave to me.  The bread was ok, I think I either used the wrong kind of beer or too much vinegar but it was fun to pull it out of the oven and it made great croutons a few days later.  I took a picture since the way it looked was the most appealing part.  Lirona's tasted great.  I'll have to figure out what I did wrong and try again:


Lastly I have to include a photo of a lunch from last week as that's the whole point of this blog!  I mentioned in an earlier post that a chef in Michigan sends a hamburger in his son's lunch so inspired by that, I served hamburger, brown rice, and string beans with avocado and peas for snack.  I squeezed some ketchup for dipping into a mini heart-shaped cookie cutter so that it wouldn't get all over the lunch in our drive and walk to school.  The hamburger was made from the "burger blend" at McCall's Meat and Fish on Hillhurst in Los Feliz.  It's a fantastic butcher shop and their burger blend rivals any steakhouse burger.  Their salmon sashimi is also second to none.


Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Lunch on September 15 - Lox of luck for a great school year!

So we've been at school for two days.  It's an adjustment but for the most part things are going well.  I am trying to focus on the things I can control, like what to serve for lunch!

Tomorrow's lunch includes seaweed and crackers for snack, followed by tea sandwiches, cucumber and pomegranate salad, and watermelon for lunch.


The tea sandwiches started out as one big sandwich I cut up to make eating easier.  It is lox with cream cheese and cucumber on whole grain bread with the crusts cut off.  I realize bringing fish to school may not be the best way to make friends during the first week but I am trying to give Juju her own version of comfort foods while she eases her way into a new space and lox is one of her favorites.  Plus, she is now going to a Jewish school so I am assuming lox isn't so foreign to these folks.


I am including a photo of the snack bags because the King of All Media enjoyed that he was able to pack Juju seaweed in a sushi-themed snack bag.



Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lunch on September 13 - First day of school!

Yay the day finally came!  Nursery school started today and things went pretty well considering Juju was at a new school and instead of 2 days a week she is now going all 5 days.  I couldn't ask for much more on the lunch front; her nervous energy must have helped her work up quite an appetite because she ate everything I packed.

Today I served hummus and carrots for snack, and sushi with edamame and fruit for lunch.  I probably should have made something special for the first day of school but she loves sushi and had fun picking it out herself at the market so we went with that.


In addition to now packing a lunch every day, I also have to pack a snack.  At her old school snack was provided which I definitely appreciated.  This year we were given a special snack bag just for snack.  I've included a photo below.  This is probably one of the more boring photos I have posted here but hey, you are reading a blog about one kid's school lunch so what do you expect?


And here is the first day of lunch all ready to go.  I am still not sure why I am bringing two bags with food to school since they eat lunch and snack in the same place and both sit in her cubby all day but I guess this makes it easier when it's time to eat?


Here's hoping for another great year!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Almost there

The lack of posting here hasn't been due to laziness; it's because we are probably the last people on the planet to start school.  We go back on Tuesday and I have no idea what I am going to pack.

The lunch program offered by the school doesn't start for the nursery school until October which means even if I wanted to sign up for it, I'm on my own for lunch this month.

I have mixed feelings about signing up for the program.  On the one hand, it would be nice to have a few days off from the burden of planning and packing a lunch.  On the other, it's kind of expensive and I don't love the options.  The menu for the nursery school isn't out yet but I did sneak a peak at what they are offering the kindergarteners and I have to say, I am not really impressed.  The program touts the fact that everything is really customizable, which basically means that almost everything comes "on the side."  I realize this is great for parents with picky kids who are afraid their kids would rather skip the meal entirely than eat something random served to them but I am concerned that this set-up will actually train Juju to become a picky eater.  For example, if I serve her a dish of pasta with a tomato-veggie sauce, she'll eat it.  But if I start serving her pasta with sauce on the side, she might skip the step of mixing everything together and just eat the straight pasta and ignore the sauce (this "on the side thing" isn't exclusive to pasta and applies to almost all of their offered dishes).  Since I haven't seen the nursery school menu I could be putting the cart before the horse, maybe they don't expect a 3 year old to mix up her own ingredients, but I just don't know yet.  I wish we could see photos of the actual lunches, maybe that would help?

My friend Lirona also pointed out that there is no way her daughter will eat $6.25 worth of food for lunch so she thinks it's a waste of money.  I realize some of that money goes toward the convenience of not having to pack a lunch but considering the program charges an additional $2 for sushi, I might as well run down the street to Gelson's to buy her sushi on days when I am lazy.  I can get her favorite rolls for less than $8.25 and they will be enough for at least two lunches.  But, I'm going to keep an open mind when the menu comes out and we'll see what happens.

I got some inspiration for what to make on Day One from the Wall Street Journal today in a small piece called "A Gourmet Lunchbox" where they interviewed 3 chefs about what they packed in their kids' school lunches.  Alex Young from Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Michigan sends his son with a burger served cold (like a meatloaf sandwich).  It's so simple but I never thought to do it myself.

I can't promise daily updates of what I pack this year but I will try to document a whole bunch of them.  I do so love your comments about what I am making!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

I'm still here

I haven't posted much lately because I haven't been packing too many lunches but, for several weeks I have been meaning to tell you all that some of my favorite stainless steel lunch containers are now on sale at Pottery Barn Kids.

The Kids Konserve containers I have are available for the same outrageous price as elsewhere ($26 for a set of 3) however you have a better choice of colors at Pottery Barn - no earth tones there, just pink, red, blue, and green.  Oh and I just checked the link, it looks like red is on sale for $19.99.  That's better than the Amazon price.

I seem to be on the same wavelength as Pottery Barn's buyers because they have also brought in the much coveted Planet Box lunch box I lusted about here.  However, I have to say that upon examining the Planet Box lunch box up close and personal, I'm really glad I didn't take the plunge and buy it online. {Insert audible gasp here} While I love how neat it is (the multiple containers I normally pack can get complicated) it just doesn't seem that exciting in person.  The areas for the food are smaller than I thought and it is simultaneously too limiting (what if I want to pack things that don't conform to it's shape?) and too suggestive (what if I only want to pack two items and can't fill up the rest of the lunchbox?).  It also seems like too much work for a toddler and not enough fun-looking either.  Maybe I'll buy it when it inevitably goes on sale.  I know Pottery Barn Kids shoppers generally have a lot of money to burn but my guess is they will opt for a cuter looking lunch box.

Speaking of cute looking lunch boxes, PBK also solved a problem for me.  I have a little girl who is obsessed with the color blue.  But almost every blue lunchbox out there screams BOY BOY BOY.  It's not that I am opposed to buying her a lunchbox that was clearly intended for a male lunch buncher, it's just that she isn't into Spider-Man or Thomas the Train, or any other images that seem to be plastered on every blue lunchbox out there.  But, lo and behold, in the store that on every other occasion has decided that pink is for girls and blue is for boys, I found a lunchbox that is both blue and girly enough that I won't have to deal with questions from other people who think my 3 year old needs to prove to the world that she is feminine.  Juju will be strolling up to her new school with this lunchbox in hand (only hers doesn't say Caden) and she's pretty excited about it:



Monday, August 22, 2011

August 22 - Mom and daughter lunch

I want to start off with a correction.  I mentioned an Ina Garten roasted eggplant spread in my last post.  I realized later that I did not post the recipe I used but instead another recipe from her trove of instructions on delicious dips and spreads.  The one I like is very similar to the one I posted but it calls for a few extra things like lemon juice and tahini.  I added the correct recipe to the post; you can also see the correct recipe here.

A number of friends and acquaintances have sent me really cute lunch ideas for the coming school year which I promise post about soon.

Today's lunch includes leftovers from last night.  Whenever I haven't planned for dinner, I make an old standby from the Moosewood cookbook, Spinach-Rice Casserole.  I usually have all the ingredients at home (I use frozen spinach if we don't have fresh spinach on hand) so it's pretty easy to make last minute (though you do have to cook the rice first and then back the dish for about 35 minutes so you can decide too last minute).  We had fresh spinach from our CSA box so it made sense to make this dish.  Incidentally if you live in LA and you have a baby, this is likely the dish I will bring to your house.  It's vegetarian and kosher friendly and it's a really big portion which you can eat for a few meals.  It's great food for sleep-deprived new moms and dads.

In addition to the spinach-rice dish I served avocado, cucumbers, carrots, and green and champagne grapes.


Last week I went somewhere that required me to pack a lunch for both me and Juju.  Our mother/daughter meal included leftover almond crusted chicken, string beans and mini heirloom tomatoes for me, and an egg salad sandwich, grapes, cucumbers, strawberries, and carrots for Juju.  I also gave her some sunflower seed butter for dipping the veggies (not shown).



Thursday, August 18, 2011

Roasted eggplant spread

I promised the recipe for eggplant dip and I won't disappoint!  But, a few other things to get out of the way:

I'm sorry I didn't mention this earlier but SnackTaxi, the reusable snack bag company is offering a "back to school" sale of 20% off their snack and sandwich bags until tomorrow.  Use code SCHOOL20 at checkout.

Also, there was a great article in the New York Times yesterday about schools cooking from scratch (as opposed to reheating food and other edible food-like substances that were created elsewhere).  It's a great trend that I hope continues.

Onto my veggie dip.  Inspired by the eggplant and red peppers that showed up on my door yesterday, I looked up Ina Garten's roasted eggplant spread (I'm not sure how a spread differs from a dip - if you know please let me know, I'm assuming it has to do with texture).  I've made it before, following the recipe precisely but this time I made a few changes.  No matter how I make it, it always comes out delicious.  And, for what it's worth, it's totally vegan.  Ina's recipe is below but in a nutshell, you roast the veggies, then blend them in a food processor with some wet ingredients.

Here is a photo of my veggies while roasting:


I actually forgot to add the garlic while roasting so I threw it in during the the food processor phase and I don't think you can tell the difference.  Here is the finished product served with veggies for dipping.  It would also taste great spread on toasted pita (it is a spread after all and not really a dip. . .)


The problem with eating vegan meals all the time (or even vegetarian) is that there is a LOT of chopping involved.  It's really time consuming.  I'm still thinking about vegan week; I'll have to factor in a lot of time for prep work.

Lastly I should share that I purchased a set of Lunchbot containers in the recent Hautelook sale (yes, their shipping rocks and they are here already.  You could learn a lesson from them, Zulily!).  As you know I am not 100% satisfied with my current Lunchbot container (nor their customer service) but I can't find too many other stainless steel options.  I wonder what delicious lunches these will hold for the new school year!

  

Ingredients

  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled
  • red bell pepper, seeded
  • 1 red onion, peeled
  • garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons tahini
  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley, plus extra for garnish

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Cut the eggplant, bell pepper, and onion into 1-inch cubes. Toss them in a large bowl with the garlic, olive oil, cayenne and salt and pepper. Spread them on a baking sheet. Roast for 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and soft, tossing once during cooking. Cool slightly.
Place the vegetables in a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the lemon juice and tahini, and pulse 3 or 4 times to blend. Taste for salt and pepper. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley. Garnish with extra parsley.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Lunch on Thursday, August 18, 2011 - Champagne! (well, champagne grapes)

Lunch tomorrow is more of the same pasta salad I blogged about yesterday.  Poor Juju is probably sick of it already.  We made a good dent in it though so new food is coming soon.  I am also including half an avocado, clementine segments, and champagne grapes!  These little cuties are only in season for a few weeks a year and I think they are much more adorable than ordinary grapes.  They are also toddler friendly - you don't need to cut them up like you would if you had a little guy who needed his or her grapes sliced.


Our CSA box came today and we received a number of goodies including an eggplant and two red peppers.  I think I'll make a fantastic roasted veggie dip I learned from Ina Garten with them.  I'll post the recipe and photos when I make it.  

I took a photo of all of the veggies and fruits on my counter right now because summer produce is SO beautiful.  I love a colorful kitchen (you may notice from other photos I've taken that we have color EVERYWHERE) and it's so much fun when it changes every week.  I also found a photo on my iphone that I took two weeks ago for this blog.  I can't remember why I took it, I presume I was going to write about a cauliflower recipe but I never did.  The photo was pretty so I decided to include it here anyway.  The awesome cutting surface is courtesy of my brother-in-law and sister-in-law who sent it to us as a 5th wedding anniversary gift (wood is apparently the gift you give for 5 years).  I use it almost daily and absolutely LOVE it.  Thank you Michael and Erika!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Lunch on August 17 - balsamic chicken pasta salad take 2

School is out for summer but I am still packing lunches.  My friend had the brilliant idea to hire one of Juju's teachers from her school to do a "camp" at our houses for our kids for a couple of days this week and next.  Because we are not returning to school next year, Juju's fabulous teachers are fair game which is very exciting for both me and Juju (she could hardly believe herself when her former teacher showed up on our doorstep this morning!).  It's kind of funny to pack a lunch that Juju will eat in her own house but it just makes things easier.

I tried a pasta salad I made several months ago inspired by my friend Amy.  It is grilled chicken (marinated in balsamic vinegar) with fusilli, yellow peppers, and baby heirloom tomatoes.  I drizzled olive oil and more balsamic vinegar along with some salt and pepper and tossed it all together.  I made a lot so I will be eating this for a few lunches this week as will the King of All Media.  I am also serving cantaloupe and cucumber.

Speaking of tomatoes, I was at the Silver Lake farmer's market on Saturday and was overwhelmed by the number of heirloom tomatoes to choose from.  On the same day I also read about 4 friends around the country (some are blogreaders!) in my Facebook newsfeed who were enjoying tomatoes harvested from their own backyards.  I am so jealous.  We tried to grow tomatoes one year but the animal neighbors we share this canyon with ate almost everything we grew.  I'm inspired to try again though.  We have a lemon tree in our backyard and I love the idea of going outside to pick my own "organic" fruit.


Despite the fact that the pasta salad I mentioned above includes chicken, we've actually been eating a lot of vegetarian or pescetarian meals at home.  On Monday night our dinner was almost vegan save for the parmesan cheese we threw in the salad.  I think I've mentioned before that we are thinking about going vegan for a week (though I won't insist that Juju participate) and we are kind of working up to it by eating less meat and making some vegan meals here and there.  In fact on Monday I wasn't even trying to go vegan, I realized halfway through dinner that almost nothing we ate came from an animal.  I don't have photos but we ate quinoa that I tossed with sauted spinach and onion, farm stand okra roasted with oil, oregano, salt and pepper, and a salad filled with goodies from our CSA box.  I had some leftover parmesan cheese in the fridge that delegitimized the meal but I was pretty impressed that we were all (Juju included) completely satisfied with the meat/fish-less dinner.  As far as pescetarian meals go, I continue to coat a lot of fish in egg and almond meal (as I've blogged about before) with delicious results.  

Lastly I wanted to let you all know that Gilt Groupe is doing a sale on lunch containers today.  There aren't a ton of stainless steel offerings but if you missed the Hautelook sale on Lunchbots there are a few options to still grab that aren't sold out.  If you are not a member of Gilt click here for an invite. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Lunch on August 12 - Last day of school plus farm fresh cold corn soup!

Tomorrow is Juju's last day of preschool at her current school.  It has been a fantastic year and we are really going to miss the wonderful teachers, scores of new friends, and charming campus.  I can hardly believe how much she has grown in one year.

This also marks the end of weekly lunch packing for me for the next few weeks though rest assured, I will still find things to blog about!

The final meal is a turkey sammie, edamame, and fruit salad with strawberries, grapes, and orange slices.


I also wanted to mention some things I made for dinner since one was quite good.  We recently started up again with a CSA box.  Over the years we have tried a few, then canceled our shares and started to shop at Farmer's Markets.  But, we've gotten busier and we can't always make it out to shop for fresh produce so we started again with a service that delivers organic farm fresh produce to our neighborhood. You never know what you are going to get in the box but we've committed ourselves to trying everything we receive which so far has worked out well.  For example this week we got a bunch of kale so I roasted it in the oven tonight with olive oil and sea salt and made "kale chips."  They were very easy to make and a great way to incorporate such a nutrient rich food into dinner.  

And, because I found a recipe in the Wall Street Journal this weekend I made a cold corn soup with the corn that came in our box.  It was delicious and I highly recommend it for the hot summer nights ahead.  I can't find the original copy of the article (there were actually 4 cold soup recipes, I wish I had scanned them!) but here is the recipe from memory along with a photo of how mine turned out:



Cold Corn Soup
3 ears of corn (I used 4 because I wanted to make sure it was really thick)
1 vidalia onion (I used a large regular onion because it's all I had)
1 shallot (I omitted this because I didn't have one)
2 tbls butter
1 cup heavy cream
1 tsp fresh ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper to taste.
*Serve in bowls or in shot glasses as corn soup shooters!

Cut the corn off of the cobs and set aside.  Place the empty cobs in a pot with 6 cups of water.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes (you are making a corn stock).

In another soup pot, melt the butter and add in the onion and shallots (both diced) and sweat for ten minutes (do not brown).  Next, add in the corn and mix so the corn is covered with the butter.  Pour in the 6 cups of corn stock and simmer for 20-30 minutes or until the corn is soft.

Using a slotted spoon strain out the corn and onion pieces and put in a blender (I used a Cuisinart).  Add 1.5 cups of the corn stock and blend for 5 minutes, until very well blended.  If you want to thin out the soup you can add more corn stock.  Place the soup in a clean soup pot or a bowl and add in the heavy cream, nutmeg, and salt and pepper.  Mix well and chill for at least 3 hours but preferably overnight.

When I made the soup last night, I tasted it before chilling it.  I thought it was only ok and was frustrated that I had spent so much time and effort making it since it just tasted like mediocre creamed corn.  I was so delighted this evening when I pulled the pot out of the refrigerator and tasted it again.  The soup was incredibly thick and had much more flavor than it did the night before.  I don't know if that was due to the flavors blending overnight or if it was because it was properly chilled.  Whatever the reason, it was a beautiful appetizer that I might try again with guests.

Happy Summer!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Lunch on August 10 - Fruit with mint

This is our last week of school and I can't say I am going to miss packing a lunch 3 days a week.  When I started this blog I was so excited about the possibilites of lunch creations. . .but that got old quickly.  Still, I love the opportunity to blog about what I've made (and hearing from all of you!) and I think keeping track of what I've sent to school helps me get a little bit creative.  Maybe I'll get reinvigorated in the next few weeks as I prep to pack a whopping 5 lunches a week!  Oh and soon I'll have information about the hot lunch program at Juju's school but even if I choose to do it, it won't start until October so September is all on me!

Today's lunch is an egg salad sandwich (Juju still doesn't really get the concept of holding two pieces of bread with something in the middle but I sent a fork and am hoping for the best), beets from our CSA box (I just roasted them in the oven with a little bit of water), and watermelon and grapes with mint (also from our CSA box - I am running out of things to throw mint into!).


I should also mention that the sample sale site HauteLook is featuring LunchBots today at around 25% off.  That's not much of a discount but it might appeal to you.  Unfortunately I've never seen Lunchbots deeply discounted anywhere.  If you are not yet a member of Hautelook click here for an invite.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Rawesome and other food news

I don't know what it's like where you live but here in Los Angeles, a lot of people are really into food.  And if you're a mom, the topic is almost unavoidable.  I try to stay out of most of the food debates and focus on the fun parts of feeding kids (need I remind you the number of fun shaped cookie cutters I own?) but I pay attention to all of them.  One particularly hot subject is whether raw dairy products are superior to pasteurized conventional milks, yogurts, and cheeses and which kind is the healthier option for our kiddos. Despite the fact that I know a lot of moms who swear by raw milk I can't believe how much press the recent raid of Rawesome in Venice is getting.  The New York Times covered the story here but didn't include some of the more intriguing theories suggested here.  I also heard about it twice on the radio today and saw it on the local news.  It's really exciting to see this issue (it's not just about raw dairy but also about lobbyists and how the government decides what is and isn't safe for us to drink) being talked about.

And on the topic of dairy and whole foods, someone pointed me to this post about what's in shredded cheese.  I happen to have some shredded cheese in my refrigerator and just put some in Juju's lunch right before I read this.  Apologies for not taking a photo of said lunch, my mind has been elsewhere this week and I have forgotten to photograph my lunches.  More photos soon!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Lunch on July 29 - Chicken, broccoli and pita

I decided not to send tonight's leftovers to school tomorrow.  We had spanakopita which was great but I don't think it would taste very good cold.

Instead I am sending plain chicken, broccoli, grapes and clementines, and pita bites filled with leftover spinach dip from Mah Jongg night.   (Incidentally, if you play Mah Jongg and you live in LA (anywhere between West Hollywood and Echo Park), please let me know, I'd love to find more people to play with!)


Next week I'll get a packet from Julian's new school which will give me some information about the hot lunch program when she starts in the fall.  I think I might decide to order the hot lunch on some days depending on what's offered and how expensive it is.  I'll include the info here when I have it.  I wonder what it will all mean for the fate of this blog.  We'll see. . .

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Lunch on July 27 - Shrimp and Shanghai Noodles

Today's lunch is one I really want to eat myself.  I am not sure if Juju appreciates the extra touches I put in to make her lunch look more appealing but they make me feel good so I do them.

Today's lunch is cold shrimp, Shanghai noodles with broccoli (leftover from lunch at Chin Chin, one of my absolute favorite LA restaurants), cooked carrots, sugar plum tomatoes, strawberries and grapes.  The grapes were a special request from Juju because her friend Harper had grapes on Monday and since they aren't allowed to share food at school, she was only able to stare longingly at them.  I've noticed she takes great joy in picking the grapes from the stem so I left those intact.


We went to the doctor today for Juju's 3rd birthday checkup and she received a number of shots.  This meant she received a number of treats throughout the afternoon and evening including a lollipop, cupcake, and mini ice cream cone.  At least she eats a healthy lunch.  Another cause for celebration on a blog about food is that Juju is finally at a normal height and weight (just under 50% percentile in both categories).  For a while she was hovering under 20% in weight which didn't bother me too much but it does feel nice to be right in the middle right now.

We've been eating a lot of trout around here and I came up with two ways to make it that differ from the recipe I posted a few weeks ago.  These are much easier (i.e. you will not have to supreme any lemons or make an extra trip to the store just for capers).   In the photo below I coated the trout with crumbled almonds and pan fried them in olive oil and lemon.  It was so good.  And tonight I took some leftover challah, toasted it in the toaster oven, threw it in the food processor to make breadcrumbs and cooked them the same way.  Delicious!



Monday, July 25, 2011

Lunch on July 25 - El Cholo leftovers

Juju's birthday was last Friday and I forgot to take photos of the dinner as I mentioned I would last week.  Everything kind of came together at the last minute.  But, I did take a photo of the cake!  It was a dark chocolate recipe from Donna Hay's book Off the Shelf that my friend Billy gave me many years ago.  I would post the recipe here but honestly, it wasn't that amazing.  However I do recommend the book because her other recipes are delicious, easy to make, and nothing is ever ordinary.

It was a great birthday indeed:


Last night we continued the celebration and ate dinner at El Cholo where Julian was serenaded in Spanish and given her first taste of flan.  (She preferred the whip cream and caramel sauce to the actual flan).  I am serving the leftover rice, beans, and taco meat for lunch along with strawberries and watermelon.


As I watched the family next to us at the restaurant feed their 10 month old drops of Coca-Cola from a straw I couldn't help but wonder what would happen if we implemented a plan I read about in the New York Times on Sunday morning proposing we tax soda and other junk food while subsidizing vegetables.  It's an extraordinary idea even if it does have a few flaws (for example it's all well and good to make whole grains cheap and widely available but in addition to price a lot of people prefer fast food because it's fast - waiting 20 or 30 minutes for your quinoa or millet to cook is a luxury a lot or people, especially poor people, don't always have) but still really encouraging.  I love the idea of subsidized vegetables and a plan to give cooking tools and lessons to those who need them.  I also especially liked the line that has us imagine being able to buy whole grains at the library for 50 cents a pound.  Now that would be convenient!



Friday, July 22, 2011

Lunch on July 22 - Happy Birthday Lunch!

Happy Birthday Juju!  My little luncher is 3 years old today and has come a long way since her first meal on a sunny morning in Santa Monica.  So, today we'll celebrate with some favorite foods.

We greeted Juju this morning with the Happy Birthday song and a plate of favorites for breakfast - lox and cream cheese on a bagel.

Her lunchbox meal included some more favorites - orange slices, carrots, and sushi!  Also served but not shown is pasta in the shape of Arthur, (one of her favorite characters from the book and PBS show) and a smoothie made with Greek honey yogurt, milk, bananas, and strawberries.  I wanted to do something fun like write something with food or put a note in her lunchbox but since Juju can't read, I figured it was a wasted effort.


After lunch we'll join Juju in her classroom for a treat and a story.  Loyal readers are already familiar with the strict food rules at Juju's school so I opted for an inoffensive snack of fruit skewers.  Well I suppose the pointy ends of the skewers could be hazardous but we'll be careful.


A word of advice if you plan to make fruit skewers -- buy the fruit well in advance.  I bought a lot of it last night in a rush and didn't pay attention to what was ripe and what wasn't.  The result was a lot of hard fruit I couldn't serve to kids.  Oh well, at least the strawberries and oranges are sweet.

Dinner completes the day of favorites.  We'll have corn, broccoli, mahi mahi and lamb chops.  I'll try to post photos later.  Happy Birthday!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lunch on July 18, 2010 - Cilantro Lime Shrimp

I thought things were supposed to slow down in the summer but I feel like I am busier than ever.  Juju is also going to school three days a week which means I have more lunches to pack.  I'm going to try to record them all here.  I apologize for my absence.

Today I served cilantro lime shrimp, half an avocado, a delicious California nectarine, sugar snap peas and pita chips:


I have never sent shrimp to school before (growing up eating lunches at a Jewish day school makes it feel a little weird) but Juju ate almost all of it so I'll consider sending it again in the future.  The pita chips aren't a usual thing I pack but I felt like this lunch was a little too Atkins if you know what I mean.  

Juju's birthday is on Friday and I am already trying to think of the perfect birthday lunch.  I'm thinking it might be sushi and a smoothie.  They are two of her favorite foods and a real treat at lunch time since I rarely pack them.  While they sound like a pretty gross combination to me I think Juju will like it.  I'm also open to any birthday lunch suggestions if you have them!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Food for thought

I wanted to mention that it's a little difficult for me to take so much delight in preparing Julian's meals, buying produce at farmer's markets, and having the luxury to think so much about food without recognizing that so many people don't have the time, money, or education to pack their children healthy lunches.

I'm not entirely sure what the answer is but I think awareness is the first step toward a solution.  I like the things talked about on the blog Civil Eats.  If you have time to read just one post I would suggest something like this one about what class says about food.  I also have been meaning to read Oran Hesterman's Fair Food (I am in the middle of three books right now, I really need to focus) and maybe I'll get some inspiration from that.  You can read more about the book here and you can learn more about the Fair Food Network here.

I don't think this is going to become a blog about food insecurity but I do love talking about this stuff should any of you want to hit me up in the comments or via email.  My friend Annie is also really informed about this stuff.  Maybe she'll have something really valuable to contribute to the food movement in the future.  She's already been involved in a few campaigns doing some great work here in LA via the Progressive Jewish Alliance.  Click on the link to see how you can get involved with that great organization as well.

July 13, 2011 - Snack for lunch

I was really at a loss for lunch ideas today so I took inspiration from what Juju had for snack: peanut butter.

We went to a meeting for her new nursery school (I absolutely love the school we are currently enrolled in but for a number of reasons that have nothing to do with our current school we are switching next fall) and learned that we can not send any peanut products whatsoever to school next year.  There is some debate about whether something like almond butter is allowed; I will get some more details in August.  I assume I will be free to send sunflower seed butter as it is not a peanut nor a tree nut.  If you haven't heard of it, it's terrific and a great substitute to peanut butter (try it with jelly on a sandwich and see if you can tell the difference).

So, when Juju insisted I open the refrigerator for her (thank goodness she didn't open it by herself, the other night she figured out how to do that and there were strawberries all over the kitchen. . .) she grabbed for the first thing she could reach which was the peanut butter and insisted on adding it to her snack plate.  Since I have a few more weeks of sending peanut butter to school/camp, I decided to make these cute peanut butter and whole grain cracker sammies paired with some cheese, strawberries, grapes, and cucumbers.  I decided that the lunch looked a little light so I also gave Juju some leftover frittata from tonight's dinner (using a heart shaped cookie cutter of course).  This frittata was made with onions, leeks, spinach, broccoli, eggs and cheese.  I don't know if I have done that combination before but it was great.  I used a similar recipe to the one I blogged about here only I cooked it in a Le Creuset dish instead of muffin tins.


Although it's not in this lunch, I did want to put in a plug for the okra I made with dinner tonight.  I saw it at the Hollywood Farmer's Market this weekend and realized the only times I had had okra in recent memory it was fried and I wanted to try to really taste its flavors when they are not forced to compete with cornmeal and oil.  I'm so glad I did; the result was fantastic.  I set the oven to 500 degrees and placed small whole okra on a cookie sheet with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and a bit of oregano (I got the idea from the Gourmet Magazine cookbook - RIP Gourmet).  I mixed everything together and cooked it for 10 minutes, occasionally shaking the cookie sheet during cooking.  It was SO GOOD and further proves our theory that if you roast any vegetable mixed with olive oil, salt, and pepper at a high heat it is going to knock your socks off.  Juju enjoyed the "white balls" inside the okra though she didn't eat much because it was really hot.

I realize I skipped the blogging of two lunches; I've been really busy with Milkstars work but I will try to catch on those lunches soon as I did manage to take pictures.

I should also reveal that I am toying with the idea of signing up for some hot lunches next year.  They made the program sound really great today and the prospect of making a lunch (and blogging it!) every single day next year is a little daunting.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lunch on July 6 - Back to school

I can not tell you how excited I was to pack today's lunch.  It has been a very very very very very long summer break for us between preschool and camp and I think Juju and I are both very happy to have some time apart today.

Today's lunch is leftovers (again).  I do have some great ideas for fresh lunches; I just haven't had much time to execute them.  Lunch is watermelon and strawberries, wild rice with broccoli and filet mignon (I know it looks like the meat is raw in this photo but I assure it has been cooked), and a California peach.


I haven't put it in her lunch yet but one of Juju's favorite snacks is fresh guacamole and chips.  It is the cutest thing to hear her say the word "guacamole" and she once called it "guacaroni" which gave me the idea to try some sort of avocado sauce or dip over pasta.  If I ever make that dish I will write about it here.

We went to the Hollywood Bowl on July 4th with my parents and ate dinner in our box before the show.  I thought it would be a good idea to make guacamole and found these cute "red, white and blue" corn chips from Trader Joe's to go with it.  My Dad asked me where I got the recipe for the guac and I was surprised by the question.  Is there actually a recipe for making guacamole?  I thought it was just mashed up avocado with a handful of other ingredients thrown in.  But, in the interest of formalizing one of our favorite snacks in case I ever forget it, my "recipe" is below.


Guacamole
4 avocados removed from skin
1 minced clove of garlic (optional)
1/4 of an onion minced (you can also substitute a shallot or omit entirely if you prefer)
the juice of one lime (or lemon if you don't have lime)
about 8 grape tomatoes cut in quarters (optional)
salt
pepper

Place all ingredients in a bowl and mash.  My favorite tool to mash guacamole (or egg salad) is the "toothed" Kwik-Kut my friend Emily C. gave me when I got married.  They are hard to find in person but I am told Sur La Table carries them.

Also one tip I learned from my friend Betsy at a picnic in Central Park more than ten years ago - if you are not serving your guac right away, place one of the pits right on top of the dip and then cover it all with an airtight lid.  Apparently the guac won't turn brown as quickly if it's close to the pit.  It sounds a little hokey to me but it works!  When I make a large batch of guac I place several pits on top and remove them right before serving.



Thursday, June 30, 2011

Inspiration

Some exciting things are going on for Milkstars which means I'm at my desk on the phone a lot this week.  During lulls in conversation or while I'm waiting for a call, I procrastinate by looking at eye candy on the web.

I found the following photos today which are inspiration for lunches to come.  We still have another week until school/camp starts (these will probably be the longest three weeks of my life as my babysitter is on vacation and it's just me all day trying to be a mom and an entrepreneur) so I'll see if I can come up with anything creative for my first lunch of the summer.

I know I have talked a lot about egg molds but clearly there is so much more one can do with a hardboiled egg and a little creativity.  Check this out "hard boiled chick" from the Frugal Family Fun blog.  Note the awesome Planet Box lunchbox they are using:



This next photo is more of an abstract piece but it looks super delicious and reminds me I have a long way to go before I exhaust all sandwich options.  I saw the photo here but some cursory searching reveals the photo was taken by what appears to be a very talented photographer named Charles Schiller.  A warning, the photos on his website will make you really hungry (and feel inadequate as a chef!).

A mashup of design, photography, and sandwich ingredients. Mmm.
Sandwiches by Charles Schiller

I also discovered Lisa Storms' blog today and it's filled with such the most adorable edibles.  I can't wait until Juju can read and I can put cute little messages in her lunch like this one:

Blog_lunch_face1

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The lunch box fairy delivers

Juju received a very early birthday present from a friend last week (her birthday is not for 3 more weeks but I am sure she appreciates that the celebration has begun!) that is totally blog-worthy.

First let me say that my friend Pegah, who gave us the gift, is actually partly the inspiration for my blog and the fact that I try to serve Juju healthy foods.  I met Pegah when we were both pregnant and I liked that she took a natural and calming approach to pregnancy, birth, and everything that came after.  She gave me ideas on what books to read and what kinds of food to feed my baby and her healthful attitude helped me form a lot of my current opinions on what to feed kids.

Pegah was one of the first people I met who was also reading Ruth Yaron's book Super Baby Food.  While I think Yaron is a little bit insane and goes too far on a number of levels, I think she has some fantastic ideas and Juju still eats the Super Porridge from that book more than 2 years after I first introduced it so Ruth must be on to something.  I remember being at Pegah's house when our kids were about 9 months old.  She was making food for Juju and her son Kiki (brown rice and carrots) and served everything in beautiful glass bowls.  There was a certain refinement to everything she put on the table that inspired me to go home and add some ceremony into what I cooked and how I presented food to Juju.  I continue to get great food ideas from Pegah and I am glad I can now give some back to her.

So, it's no surprise that Pegah gave us a beautiful set of kid's flatware to dress up our dinnertable for Juju's 3rd birthday.  I have admired the set at Pegah's house and Juju is now enjoying using them at ours.  My favorite part about the Knuddle set (besides the fact that it's way nicer than anything else in Juju's dinnerware drawer) is that it comes with a large spoon which is perfect for soup or cereal.  We don't have anything else like this spoon and it came in handy today when a sleep-deprived Juju demanded cereal and milk in the middle of the day.  I think we'll also love it when it gets cold and I start making kid-friendly soups again.

Thank you Pegah for the wonderful gift and for all of your inspiration!  If you want your very own WMF Knuddle set you can find one on Amazon here.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

They Draw and Cook (and they look good doing it)

My favorite thing about cookbooks is the photos.  Someone sent me a new cookbook the other day with a dearth of illustrative photos and I have to say, the book was immediately unappealing.  How can I get a feel for how the dishes will end up once complete if I am not given a single visual example?

When my former co-worker Bobby mentioned a project he's involved with I was struck by how narrow-minded I was about needing visual imagery to go along with my recipes.  I always expect a pretty photograph of the completed dish but Bobby and the people behind They Draw and Cook, (a fantastic website with a book coming out soon), showed me there are zillions of ways to illustrate a recipe beyond a standard styled food photo.

They Draw and Cook is a collection of recipes illustrated by artists around the world and it's just as much fun to look at the recipes as I imagine it is to make them.  I would love to have a whole bunch of these hanging around my kitchen.   Here are a few examples of what they have collected.  Go to their website to check out even more recipes conveniently sorted by type.  Poke around and you'll see they have a few other projects that are equally visually appealing.  Very cool stuff!

Pea Soup


Feeling Fishy

While I haven't been packing a lot of lunches lately I have been cooking a few dinners, many of which are centered around fish.  I learned recently that my Aunt Laura in Rochester reads my blog and likes when I mention fish recipes so in lieu of a lunch, I am going to blog about dinner.  Hi Aunt Laura!

The other night we had Mahi Mahi.  It was really warm here in Los Angeles and my husband likes to cook on the grill when it's hot out so we don't do anything to further heat up the house.  The Mahi Mahi was delicious and super easy to cook.  All we did was salt and pepper the fish, brush on a little bit of olive oil, squirt some lemon on top and throw the pieces on the grill.  We paired the fish with red onion and summer squash skewers which were a great addition to the meal and cooked just as easily on the grill.

Tonight I undertook a more complicated fish recipe.  Inspired by the Glee original song "Trouty Mouth" and the fact that I had trout at a restaurant for lunch the other day, I looked up a recipe I used to cook years ago before I had a child and definitely did not appreciate my spare time enough.

Back in my days of working in television news I used to have both a computer and a television on my desk.  This came in handy during breaking news situations when I wanted to be on top of the latest details from a press conference or needed to see a piece of footage being fed in from the field via satellite.  It was equally as handy when I wanted to procrastinate ala playing a game of solitaire on the computer.  So, when I was supposed to be listening to a morning conference call, I was really mostly watching the Martha Stewart Show on NBC.  I'm so glad I did as I got so many wonderful recipes from that program (one day I will share the red velvet cake recipe I got from a guest on the show).  On one particularly slow news day I watched Wolfgang Puck prepare a beautiful butterflied trout in lemon caper butter that I tried to replicate this evening.

I have cut and pasted the recipe below or you can click here to print it.

This recipe is not easy though there are ways to simplify it.  For example I have no idea why, but I had the patience tonight to supreme two lemons as the recipe calls for.  I usually don't have the patience and cutting thin lemon circles should do the trick.  For those of you who were not reared on the Food Network, to supreme a lemon you must first peel it (a frustrating task in itself) or cut off the rind and then cut in between the segments of the lemon to create about 10 pieces of pure lemon (no white pith) that are edible when cooked.  I am not sure if that description was helpful enough.  There are lots of videos like this one on Youtube that can teach you how to supreme a lemon.

I did not use croutons or white wine and I also don't think the recipe needs as much butter as is called for below (but that could be because I didn't make 4 butterflied trout; I made two whole fish for the adults and a half a fish for Juju).  Here is a photo of her plate, tail and all.  I paired the fish with easy to make millet and broccoli (something needed to be easy today).  The leftover sauce from the fish tasted great over the millet.  The recipe tells you to cook the fish with the head and tail intact but I asked my fishmonger to remove the head.  The last thing I need is for my nearly 3-year old to come eye to eye with her dinner (this 31-year old isn't too keen on the idea either).




Butterflied Trout in Lemon Caper Butter (courtesy of Wolfgang Puck)
Serving Size: 4
Ingredients
4 butterflied whole trout
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, for dredging
Olive oil, for sautéing
2 tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon
2 lemons, supremed and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon capers
Toasted Croutons, recipe follows
1/4 cup dry white wine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped parsley leaves 
Directions
  1. Lay out the trout so the skin side is down. Open the flesh like a book. With a sharp knife, carefully cut out the backbone, making sure to keep the fillets attached at the head and the tail. Season both sides of the trout with salt and pepper.
  2. Lightly dredge both sides of the trout with flour, shaking off any excess. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. When the pan is hot, add enough olive oil to lightly coat the bottom of the pan. Heat the oil until it shimmers when swirled. Carefully add the trout, flesh-side down, starting at the tail and laying away from you towards the head. You may need to cook the trout in batches. Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove to a platter and keep warm.
  3. Once the trout is all cooked, return the pan to medium-high heat and remove all but 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add 2 tablespoons of the butter and cook just until it begins to brown and smell nutty, about 3 minutes. Add the capers, lemons, croutons, white wine, and lemon juice and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of butter and remove from the heat. Stir in the parsley and pour over the trout.
Ingredients
Toasted Croutons:
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 (1/2-inch thick) slices white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1/4-inch cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper 
Directions
  1. Heat a large sauté pan over high heat. Add the olive oil and heat. When the oil is hot, add the bread cubes and cook, stirring, until toasted and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Remove from the heat and cool.