For this week’s Friday no-kitchen lunch, we went Greek. Our menu included grilled eggplant, a Greek salad, humus and pita, and grapes. Simple but delicious.
For an easy eggplant recipe, here’s what I did:
- Cut eggplant in long slices
- Dip each piece in olive oil and sprinkle with season salt and ground pepper
- Place on griddle heated to 350 degrees or in a frying pan on medium high heat
- Heat approximately 4 minutes on each side or until color darkens and eggplant becomes soft
Eggplant cooking on the griddle
Yummy Greek salad with tomatoes, feta, and olives
My Greek Plate
In addition to great food, we had a fantastic group of students on Friday. These students have either returned from abroad or are headed out to one of the following: Spain, Italy, Hungary, England, New Zealand, Japan, Panama, or Costa Rica. Quite the international group and I think they are all pretty wonderful.
Our rising sophomores
Yep…Friday is still Hawaiian shirt day in the Chemistry department
A couple of our great study abroad alums
Costa Rica seems to be one of those hot destinations right now for study abroaders, honeymooners, and anyone looking for an affordable, fun vacation. I have never been but thought I would give their cuisine a try for Friday lunch. Here was our menu all done without a kitchen stove:
- Gallo Pinto (done via microwave)
- Fried plantains (via toaster oven)
- Roasted Chicken (via grocery store)
- Chips and salsa
- Coconut, chocolate chip cookies – ok, not quite Costa Rican and definitely made with a stove thanks to a recent alum that came by.
- 2 cans black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 3 boi-in-bag rice
- 1/2 cup diced onion with 1 tsp oil
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- season salt to taste
- microwave rice according to directions
- microwave beans for 2 minutes in bowl
- microwave onions in oil for 2 minutes
- mix all ingredients and add salt for taste
- 3 plantains cut length-wise and in half
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- season salt to taste
- spread olive oil on roasting pan
- set toaster oven to 425 degrees
- brush plantains with olive oil
- sprinkle with salt
- place plantains down on roasting pan
- cook in toaster oven for 15 to 2o minutes; skins should come off easily
Cut plantains in half by length and width
Brush with oil and sprinkle with salt
Lay flat on toaster pan and bake at 425 for 15 to 20 minutes
The final product!
Some real Costa Rican salsa
My Costa Rica plate…yum!
These are my great students!
I had to put this one in…we thought we had an earthquake during lunch but it was actually a military maneuver too close to the coast. At least I got to practice my earthquake preparedness!
Usually the Friday student lunch is all about trying new foods from other countries, but this week I decided to mix it up and share my southern culture with my students and friends. For anyone who has never been to the southern states, let me introduce you to our neck of the woods and particular cuisine:
The REAL southern states are in deep red. (Thank you Wikipedia for the image!)
These are some traditional southern foods
Top from R-L: Skillet Cornbread, Fried Okra, Chicken and Dumplings
Bottom from R-L: Collard Greens, Shrimp and Grits, and Boiled Peanuts
We didn’t have any of these for Friday lunch but we did have fried chicken, deviled eggs, pigs in a blanket, red velvet cupcakes, and my absolute favorite, pimento cheese.
Here is my Easy “Lighter” Pimento Cheese Recipe:
- 2-cup bag of reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar
- 2-cup bag of reduced fat shredded colby jack
- 2 oz. jar of diced pimentos with liquid (usually found near the olives; be sure they are diced very small)
- 3 heaping tbsp. light mayo
- 1/2 tsp. season salt
- 1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl using a spoon to blend all ingredients in the mayo
- Add additional mayo, salt, and/or pepper if desired
- Chill for an hour before serving
- Serve on crackers or as a sandwich
You need all of these items plus light mayo
Fried Chicken, Pimento Cheese and Red Velvet Cupcakes
Not a lot of color but oh so delicious
Two friends and me enjoying a delicious southern lunch!
For the Friday student lunch, I was adventurous today and made a meal from a place I’ve never visited: Morocco! Once again, with limited resources I had to cheat a bit and bought a good bit of the cuisine, but I still did my research. If I had actually made these items, I would have used the following recipes:
But as it was, I was short on a kitchen and on time so I took the following short cuts.
- Buy roasted chicken from grocery store, add lemon wedges and olives, and microwave for 1 minute.
- Purchase Athenos hummus, scoop into a bowl and serve with pita wedges
- Order tabouli salad from pre-made section at Ralph’s and pour in serving dish
- Slice oranges and sprinkle with cinnamon – this one is a real recipe so it isn’t really cheating.
In the end, it was a delicious meal and it looked pretty good too!
Roasted Chicken with Lemon and Olives
Olives, Tabouli, and Hummus
Cinnamon Sprinkled Oranges – so good!
Take 1: Cleaning the tabouli out of our teeth!
Take 2: Me and my wonderful students
As you may have already guessed, the student lunch this week was of the Japanese persuasion. It also required very little cooking as I pretty much bought everything (100% fine by me!). We had spicy shrimp tempura rolls, california rolls, edamame, rice, and red bean angel rolls from the Asian market. While most of the food (especially the sushi) was devoured, everyone was a little hesitant about the red bean angel rolls. They were made from a red bean paste spread over a light angel food cake roll and had a very mild sweet flavor. My dad always says that no cake is worth eating if it doesn’t go “thud” when it hits the plate. These definitely didn’t thud, but they seemed fairly authentic from what I remember eating when I was in Japan. Fortunately I didn’t think they were so bad so I brought two packages home with me…dessert for tonight!
On a side note, I have to give Ralph’s (our local grocery store) huge props. The two women who work their sushi counter were awesome! They took my order and made my sushi on the spot. Plus, they were delicious!
Our Japanese spread
This picture is not quite accurate. I actually ate my sushi with my fingers. Embarrassing, I know, but chopsticks and I just don’t get along.
These are the bean paste angel rolls from the bakery at the Asian market.
I am kind of obsessed with cheese. In fact, when hubby is out-of-town, my meal of choice is crackers and some good sharp white cheddar. But in all honesty, I don’t discriminate. I love it all. And the stronger the better. So when I saw brie on sale for $6 a wheel while perusing Costco this week, I couldn’t resist. Brie grilled cheese sandwiches, a mixed green salad, and few Madeleine’s and LU Pims made up our lovely little French lunch. Delicious food with wonderful people = great Friday lunch.
Our lovely little spread
This is my plate. Melted brie goodness! Yum.
My job is pretty quiet in the summer. With most of the students at home for their break, I have to bribe people to come visit – otherwise I stare at a computer for 8 hours straight. With college students, the best bribe of course is food, so I decided I would make lunch today for a few students who are working on campus this summer. To be honest, feeding them was totally selfish – I love having visitors, I have to eat too, and it gave me something fun to write about.
With Italy on the brain after reading all those postcards, I thought some “authentic” Italian cuisine might be fun. Our menu consisted of a caprese salad (I added mixed greens to make it more substantial), procuitto and melon, bread, roasted almonds, and watermelon granita. These probably aren’t the dishes that most people think of when it comes to Italian food, but they are some of my favorites. Plus, they don’t require a stove (which I don’t have in the office).
Of everything, I would definitely recommend trying the watermelon granita. It was easy, light, and almost as good as the ones I had in Italy.