Settling Down to a New Season
Labor Day always seems a little sad to me, marking the unofficial end of summer. In San Francisco, our farmers’ markets are still bursting with heirloom tomatoes, peaches, nectarines and fresh herbs, but we know that soon all of nature’s largesse will gradually slip away.
We officially turn the page from a summer lifestyle that’s casual and informal, to settling back down to work and school. When my kids were growing up, I always tried to introduce a few new brown bag lunches to mark the start of the school year and to help all of us get back into the daily routine.
Here’s a collection of brown bag ideas from Special Fork bloggers to launch your new fall season.
But first, a few brown bag tips:
- Remember that the same food safety rules you would use for a picnic apply. Keep foods properly chilled in transit using an insulated lunch bag and ice pack. Once you get to work, refrigerate your lunch immediately.
- For best flavor and quality, separate sandwich ingredients that can make your bread soggy (such as tomatoes) or limp (like lettuce), and assemble your sandwich just before eating.
- Leftover grilled meats – steak or chicken breast – make great sandwiches. Spread bread with aioli made by mixing mayonnaise with pressed garlic.
- Take a tip from Marilyn and invest in Japanese bento boxes to pack kids’ lunches; you can conveniently give them a little bit of a variety of foods.
Sandwiches to try:
- Curried Tuna with Apples and Almonds and Mediterranean Style Tuna – two delicious sandwich fillings using canned tuna (video)
- American Deli Dinner – Andrew’s Los Angeles take on a deli sandwich
- Pastrami Smoked Salmon Sandwich – Katie’s New York version of a deli sandwich
- Fish Sticks in a Flash – Dave makes the fish sticks for dinner and turns the leftovers into a sandwich on a baguette with an Asian-style tartar sauce (video)
Portable salads you’ll like:
- Sun-Dried Tomato and Walnuts Tossed with Penne – a tasty, well-seasoned salad with an extra helping of protein from mashed tofu (video)
- Sophisticated chef’s salad combinations from Katie
- Mediterranean Barley Almond Salad – a hearty and flavorful salad from Dave (video)
- Quick Pickle – an easy pickle, based on a Swedish sliced pickle, from Lori to pack with your sandwiches
- Quick Pickled Vidalia Onions – a zesty pickle from Dave that will give your sandwiches a flavor burst (video)
- Caramelized Balsamic Onions and Carrot and Fennel & Sweet Pepper Relish – two condiments that will make your sandwiches sing, from Marilyn
- Tapenade – mix some into a basic tuna sandwich filling to dress it up or use as a spread with neutral meats like chicken breast slices
By the way, I’ve drawn Chris for our annual family Labor Day gift-giving tradition. Chris is hard to buy for, but Dave found a fun gift for me to give this year. Can’t tell you until we open our gifts!
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