By Emily Thorson
I just finished the penultimate semester of classes in my PhD program, which is one of the reasons I’ve been lax in posting to this blog. Or, to be honest, reading some of the entries. Apparently there’s some show? About cooking? People watch it? Whatevs, let’s talk about food.
The thing about being in grad school is that (a) you end up spending maybe 10-12 hours a day at work and (b) you’re relatively poor. This means that unless I want to subsist entirely on Wawa sandwiches (NOT NECESSARILY THE WORST FATE but also not the cheapest), I have to make and bring a LOT of lunches. And dinners.
Part of my solution: FREEZE STUFF. Yup, I have turned into one of those crazy hippie people who makes giant batches of mysterious-looking food and then heats them up for lunch. My plan for this holiday break, unless I get distracted by re-watching all seven seasons of the Gilmore Girls, is to share some of these recipes.
First up: Curried Lentils With Sweet Potatoes and Swiss Chard (via the NYT, although suprisingly NOT Mark Bittman–it was part of a “Thanksgiving for vegetarians” article a year or so ago).
This recipe is AWESOME. It fills my three requirements for freeze-and-bring: that it have protein, that it have vegetables (preferably of the leafy green variety), and that it freeze without any serious reduction in quality.
It also makes a crap-ton of food, so if you make it then either be willing to eat it for the next week straight or clear out some room in your freezer. I see no real need to reproduce the recipe here since you can click over to the NYT, but a few comments: I double the ginger and do include the jalapeno seeds; this recipe benefits from some spice. Do NOT leave out the lime zest even though limes are a pain in the ass to zest (no, I don’t have a microplane, thanks for asking) and do NOT leave out the cilantro even though you can’t believe the godddamn Superfresh is charging you THAT much for cilantro that to be honest looks a little wonky. It is absolutely fine to leave out the scallions and almonds: garnish schmarnish. Oh, and I’ve subbed in both kale and collards before with acceptable results, although chard is definitely the best. If you can, bring some plain yogurt to eat with it (if you’re really ambitious, mix the yogurt with some mint and cucumber beforehand).
The other bonus side effect of this dish is that it smells fantastic when you reheat it in the work microwave, so as you carry it back to your desk everyone with their seven-dollar crap deli lunches are all “Ooooo, what’s that?” and you’re all offhandedly like “Oh, just something I put together.” But as you gloat try to sort of hide the actual dish with your arm because I have to admit–being mostly an orangey-green mush, it’s not the most attractive of meals. BUT SO GOOD.