1:44 p.m. Lunch during the work week usually involves making a salad with random bits of food left from the day’s happenings. What I made for my client’s lunch: a family-style meal of baked salmon with an almond-dijon crust; lump crab salad with curry mayo, honeycrisp apples, celery, grilled lamb chops with cranberries and citrus glaze; green bean “casserole” with porcinis, chestnuts, crispy shallot (it’s a play on the classic dish, with a porcini-chestnut puree and crispy chestnut and shallot topping); sunchoke and parsnip mash, rosemary, creme fraiche, pecorino; and kale salad with roasted honeynut, pomegranate, pecan.
For my own lunch now, I make a salad of little leaf lettuce (the crunchiest little leaves!!) and then peruse my salad cook’s station for some roasted beets, shaved fennel, grapefruit segments, walnuts, and shaved radish. I also grab a leftover piece of salmon and one little lonely lamb chop from my client’s lunch. I top it all off with a drizzle of citrus vinaigrette—we make all our dressings in house for my client’s daily lunches and the faculty club lunch service. Every day, we break for lunch at 2 p.m. (I employ union cooks who are required to take 30-minute lunch breaks) and the team usually eats together in the dining room while I generally eat alone at my desk so I can catch up on emails. It can be lonely sometimes and I try to make time to sit and eat with the team once every other week or so.
6:56 p.m. My goal with a weeknight dinner is something 30 minutes or less. Tonight I make a quick meat sauce of ground beef pulled yesterday from the freezer, garlic, chili flakes, basil, and Rao’s jarred tomato sauce over some rotini pasta and a side of steamed broccoli. I eat steamed broccoli almost every night for dinner. I have a nostalgic love for steamed broccoli with butter and salt.
8:38 p.m. I don’t really have a sweet tooth, but it was my birthday this past Sunday and my friends got me a chocolate cheesecake, which is like, the one dessert that I will ALWAYS be down for. I eat a slice. At this point, I am just filling the void of realizing I am another year older and not much wiser!
Monday total: $281.95, or $0 excluding what work covers
6:26 a.m. Well, here we are again, Kodiak blueberry protein waffle with crunchy peanut butter. I add some banana slices on top this time. I forgot I bought some bananas over the weekend, which is what usually happens to bananas in my apartment. Also, a ginger and turmeric shot. I probably won’t keep buying the shots after I run through this week’s worth.
7:24 a.m. Starbucks, the usual! I also grab one of the green juices from the grab-and-go case. I’m pretty sure it’s just green-colored sugar water and is not doing anything for my physical health except giving me a sugar high and a big sugar crash straight downhill. ($13.41, or $0 thanks to work)
2:05 p.m. Curried honeynut squash bisque, leftover from faculty club lunch service. For my client’s lunch today, I made beet and salmon tartare with sesame and avocado, as well as grilled and stewed lamb meatballs with spiced tomato sauce and mint yogurt. We get fish delivered to us a few times a week from Captain Marden’s, a local fish purveyor. I generally always keep wild salmon, dorada, halibut, branzino, sea scallops, and jumbo lump crab on hand—my client prefers seafood over meat and these are his favorite things. I fabricate the fish as soon as it comes in, removing any pin bones, scales, cleaning it up, portioning it, etc. And I individually wrap and freeze these portions right away. Sometimes I am cooking for my client without much advance warning, so having options is really my key to success. Likewise, I do this with meat as well—he enjoys lamb chops, ground lamb, duck breast, duck leg confit, venison, and squab, which is what I generally have on hand at all times.