A Lunchtime Mezza for One

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It probably comes as no surprise to you, after reading about our three day London eat-a-thon, that I am in the mood to talk about food. In fact, I have quite a few food (and drink) posts lined up! But today’s is quick and simple, and comes with a confession.
Things have been going a little bit badly for me in the last few days, and blogging is a nice way to step out of the momentary pressures. A few things are going on:  I am going to school nearly full-time right now. My daughter is on two weeks of school break, but I am not.  Elections. Jeff hurt his back and has been limping around, and will finally see a chiropractor tonight. Our washing machine broke when I had put off washing our clothes for way too long, so much so that we were out of undergarments before it even went kaput. We got it repaired this morning by a very cheerful Italian man who was a genuine pleasure to meet. But then our drain clogged, and all of the water that had been stagnating and getting really smelly overflowed all over the floor when I did the first load. I have a number of deadlines looming, including two mid-term exams this week, one of which has to do with two books I haven’t even started reading. As amazing as my daughter is at engaging people, she is proportionately challenged when it comes to keeping herself occupied. This is just the sort of thing that episodes of River Cottage were made for, but the computer she usually uses to watch it on won’t seem to work.
It’s true that my typical approach to life could be described as winging it but all of this feels like a bit much today. These are relatively tiny issues, but seeing them all together, I just wan to go back to bed. This is the exact kind of day that requires a quiet, colorful lunch.  When I get stressed, I tend to forget about eating– but today I made a special effort.

Do you eat grilled eggplant?  I think it’s one of the best, most versatile veggie foods ever. I peeled and sliced an eggplant into rounds, rubbed them with a little olive oil, and put them under the broiler until they browned, turning them to get both sides “grilled.”While that was going on, I assembled some things onto a plate that I could put on the eggplant. Some simple, complimentary flavors: feta cheese, grilled red peppers, my favorite salad blend from our market, marinated olives, fresh parsley, and a lone tomato. These are things I had available. I would have been very happy to include babaganoush, bruschetta, some leftover steak or shredded chicken, etc., if I had them in my fridge. The main points are some herbs, and a few stronger flavors that all combine nicely.I love composing bites as I go… And this did cheer me up, without making me too sleepy to read and type. (Which is exactly what I need to get back to, now that I’ve had this little break.)

Do you take time to sit and enjoy lunch? What do you like to make?

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17 Responses to A Lunchtime Mezza for One

  1. Marisa October 25, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    Oh my gosh you poor thing!! It really is true what they say that when it rains it pours!! Hopefully you will get all these stressful incidents behind you all at once. My September was similarly difficult and I honestly wondered if I’d make it to Europe at all – that is how badly things were going. But now all seems to be ok. Hopefully for you too very soon. If you are inclined to share I am also interested in what courses you are taking and what those 2 unread books are called? Sorry for being so nosy!! And your lunch sounds and looks absolutely perfect. I can’t think of anything much better. Only perhaps if all those flavors were confined between two slices of bread – I am a real sucker for sandwiches. Hope things start turning around for you! Marisa 🙂

    • Ariana Mullins October 26, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

      Oh, I’m sorry to hear about your rough season, and glad that you made it to Europe. What a great reward for getting through it all. I hope you have returned feeling better.

      I am taking a super interesting oceanography class right now, and although it’s not super applicable to my social sciences degree, it’s really enjoyable. I am also working on a senior multimedia capstone project, and for that class I am reading Changing Minds and Infotopia. I can’t say a whole lot about either of those, but the first one is hard to get through– so much so that I have to read it aloud *with feeling* to myself just to try to hear the words and make sense of them. I have one more geology class next quarter, then I should be done and ready to figure out what’s next.

      And I agree, this mezza would make a really great sandwich! I made it again today, and this time I added some flank steak and fresh oregano…

    • Marisa October 26, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

      Haha – I just laughed out load – with a mouthful of tea – at your *with feeling*!! You are really awesome Ariana – and that is so something I would totally do as well! It is like the first time reading Shakespeare – only comes alive out loud. In any case hope this technique is helping you get through that book. I like thinking of you reading aloud with feeling. Also, you sounded exactly like Anne with an “e” Shirley with that turn of phrase 🙂

      Mmn – flank steak! You are making me hungry. And hope you enjoy geology next quarter – one of the only science courses I really enjoyed.

  2. Megan Riddle October 25, 2012 at 6:10 pm #

    So simple and perfect! A great way to help yourself weather the storm (:

    • Ariana Mullins October 26, 2012 at 2:49 pm #

      Hi Megan! Yes, it was not too much work, but enough to help me slow down and taste something good. 🙂

  3. Amanda October 25, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

    Oh no, sorry to hear that! When I start to get overwhelmed, finding a place to center myself, gather my courage and mental resources, and officially Begin is so important to me. It looks like making and eating that simple yet succulent little meal may do the same for you? Sending you good wishes, etc, from over here!

    • Ariana Mullins October 26, 2012 at 2:50 pm #

      Thanks for the good wishes, Amanda. Yeah, I think stopping in the middle of a bad trend of events is important. For me, it’s either a meal or a nap or a walk. Lunch was something I knew I really ought to do, so it was an easy choice!

  4. Rois October 26, 2012 at 2:47 am #

    Where I work is a food desert with nothing worth eating within easy reach so I pack my lunch for work everyday.I eat a mostly Paleo diet so I eat leftovers from dinner most days.
    My favorite thing to take in my lunch right now is a jar of my homemade yogurt with a small swirl of honey stirred in.

    I don’t always get time to sit and enjoy my lunch but later in the afternoon there is time for a cup of tea and a small snack.I look forward to this break in my day as my own little moment of calm.

    I also wanted to let you know the giveaway book came today,a nice surprise waiting on the woodstove for me! Thank you so very much,I know what book I will be taking with me to bed tonight.

    • Ariana Mullins October 26, 2012 at 2:53 pm #

      Rois, I am so glad the book arrived! I was just thinking about that, and wondering when it would make it to you. I hope you really enjoy it.

      I have worked in places where there wasn’t really a pleasant place to stop and eat lunch. That’s kind of a bummer, but it’s nice to look forward to that time when you get home. While Amelia’s at home with me, I usually make her lunch, have her take a nap or “quiet playtime” and then enjoy the quiet as I have something to eat. I love the opportunity to stop and focus on that!

  5. Robin November 1, 2012 at 1:42 am #

    I’m seriously drooling over your food. Gorgeous!

  6. Ariana Mullins November 5, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Thanks, Robin!

  7. Elie November 17, 2012 at 11:58 pm #

    Yikes! That’s a lot all at once. I am sorry to hear about all that!

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