Tag Archives: office lunch

Workplace potlucktics

25 Jan

Do you have foods banned from your office kitchen?
Office politics can be just as cut- throat when it comes to lunch, it appears.
Our office fridge smell is toxic. Subsequently, if you are part of the Monday morning crew and absent-mindedly place your day’s lunch in the refrigerator, it gets tossed during the morning’s weekly mass cleaning. (P.S. who are these lunch-leaving people? Apparently the same ones who forgo washing their dishes and leave them in the sink. Really?)
We have learned the hard way after losing our perfectly fresh lunch.
This recent purchase may be the answer to our problem.

The built-in cold pack keeps our lunch safe and cool as it sits out on our desk. And today, it’s keeping our lunch out of the hands of those who would trash it alongside someone’s week-old take out. When you’re trying to save money and eat well, this is a pretty good solution.

The first time we encountered this bright-tasting salad 15 years ago, we were in hippy heaven. A tiny vegetarian cafe offered a sweet and sour blend of nutritious broccoli, red onion, raisins and sunflower seeds bound with a mustardy yogurt mayo. The sweet and nutty combo was a healthy delight.
We’ve since learned that it’s been a potluck and buffet table staple for ages, but we can’t sleuth the social anthropology or origin of broccoli-trail mix salad. We’d have assumed it was a Mollie Katzen creation (UPDATE: see Mollie’s broccoli, apple creation at bottom). Online, a bacon-laden version declares it Amish; another labeled Wisconsin Sunshine Salad includes grated cheddar. Some add slivered almonds or pecans, other forgo nuts altogether. One adds sliced red grapes.
Regardless, it is simple and nutritious, and makes a fantastic lunch to take to work.

3 cups broccoli florets (steamed or raw)
1/4 cup chopped red onion (we have been grating onion and reducing the amount down to a couple of teaspoons.)
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup raisins (I substituted a mix I keep handy for shaking on salads: roasted sunflower seeds, tropical dried fruit, dried cranberries, flax seed).
½ cup crumbled feta cheese
½ cup low fat yogurt (I used vanilla and omitted the sugar called for in this recipe. Honey balkan-style is great also. One day I’ll try a creamy vinaigrette with apple cider vinegar, dijon, and a touch of maple syrup.)
¼ cup light mayonnaise
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tbs. lemon juice
(I also added a few tablespoons of hemp hearts simply because they were on hand.)
Greens if you have them

Steam bite-sized broccoli florets and set aside to cool. Mix onion, nuts, raisins, and feta. Add broccoli. Mix dressing (yogurt, mayo, dijon and lemon juice) and add to salad.
Serve atop salad greens.

Broccoli, Apples, and Red Onion Salad
Mollie Katzen
1 large bunch broccoli
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1/2 teaspoon minced or crushed garlic
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons honey
5 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 medium sized tart apple, thinly sliced
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Put up a large saucepan of water to boil. While waiting for this to happen, remove and discard the thick lower stems of the broccoli, and cut the thinner upper stems and tops into medium-sized spears.
Measure the vinegar into a medium-large bowl. Use a small whisk to stir constantly as you add the mustard, garlic, salt, and honey.
Keep whisking as you drizzle in the oil in a steady stream. The mixture will thicken as the oil becomes incorporated.
By now the water should be boiling. Turn it down to a simmer and add the broccoli. Let it cook in the water for 1 to 2 minutes, or until it becomes very bright green and tender-crisp. Meanwhile, place the sliced red onion in a large colander in the sink
Pour the broccoli and all its water over the onion in the colander. ( The hot water will wilt the onion slightly upon contact. ) Place the colander of vegetables under cold running water for a few minutes, then shake to drain well.
Transfer the vegetables to the bowlful of dressing. Use tongs to toss until the broccoli is well coated, adding the apple slices as you go. You can serve this right away, or cover and let it marinate in the refregerator, where the flavor will deepen. Serve cold or at room temperature, topped with freshly ground black pepper to taste