Wednesday, September 22, 2010
I'm sure there are people out there who love lunch. Who can't wait for that internal noonday bell to ring, the one that signals hunger and a break in the day, so they can crack open their Tupperwared leftovers, their brown paper bagged sandwiches, their styrofoamed take-out soup with plastic packages of crackers. They'll find a spot on a parkette bench and gossip with co-workers, gripe about bosses or discuss their favourite television shows. They'll laugh when a gust of wind blows away their napkins, and giggle when a firetruck drives by, unhurried and open for admiration and one of these lunch lovers will inevitably say "What IS it with firemen?" and everyone will nod and talk about the sex appeal of danger and men in uniforms. It IS a funny thing about firemen, isn't it! I mean, even though the heroic men who come to save your life will likely look something like this...(and I mean absolutely NO disrespect to these fine gentlemen)
...we somehow persist in thinking they'll look rather more like this...
Though I truly hope I never find out which is more accurate.
Breakfast, I adore you. You're the easiest one to get right, health wise. Dinner, you're my social meal, the one I share with family and friends and eat with childlike abandon. But lunch, you are utilitarian and lonely. Your primary function is shutting up my hunger in an insufficient amount of time. You're often accompanied with indigestion from eating too fast, or sleepiness from eating too much, or utter boredom, if you're on day 3 of leftovers and, like me, have only an attention starved cat named Pickle to keep you company in the staff lunchroom.
My memories of lunch as a kid are equally fraught with dissatisfaction. In junior school, I didn't have any friends, so I would eat in the institution-mint coloured bathroom on the ground floor and pretend to read if anyone came in, like I'd made a measured choice to be there. High school, I fared a bit better socially, but lunch had little to do with food, and me and my friends would sit in Tea Masters sipping bottomless hot drinks and eating Rice Krispie Squares well past the 'end of lunch' bell ringing. And as an adult, working primarily in retail jobs, well, you didn't get much of a lunch break, often eating bites between serving customers and swallowing larger portions of hunger-induced rage towards people for interrupting you.
So clearly, my lunch memories have little to do with the act of preparing and enjoying a noonday meal. Now that I'm working again, I'm struggling anew to figure out what to make for this troublesome meal. The other week, Husband and I had been at No Frills, where, despite my list and best intentions, I always end of being seduced by sale prices and buy things I don't need. There was a special on bricks of cheese for $2.99. $2.99 cheese! So I bought a hunk of Jalapeno Monterey Jack. But I didn't really know what to do with it after the initial 5 uninventive cheese sandwiches I made. So I found a good recipe for savory scones, courtesy of Canadian Living, and decided to make a bunch and freeze them, so I could take scones to work for lunch.
I combined the dry ingredients in my trusty metal bowl:
I grated a bunch of Jalapeno Monterey Jack cheese. Hahaha! Look at my giant hands! (hopefully, that will distract viewers from how near my boobs are to my elbows. Way to go, unsupportive undergarment.)
Then, like the recipe renegade I am, I chopped up WAY more scallions than were called for. Whoops!
Everyone jumped in the pool of flour and mingled:
A shaggy dough was formed when the wet ingredients were added, and I had that mild panic I always get when my fingers get sticky. I don't know, is that an actual phobia? I washed the sticky off and formed the dough, cutting it into these pale, triangular beauties:
And about 20 minutes later, I had the perfect, golden, salty, creamy, spicy, flaky accompaniment to eat in the staff lunchroom alongside my daily apple and fruit-on-the-bottom yogurt.
With a side of Pickle.
Scallion-Spicy Cheese Scones, adapted slightly from Canadian Living:
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup cold butter,cubed
1 cup shredded Jalapeno Moneterey Jack Cheese (smoked cheddar would be lovely too!)
1/2 cup scallions, finely chopped
1 cup milk (I'm a 2% gal)
1. Preheat oven to 350-400 degrees F, depending on your oven. Combine the flours, salt and cayenne in a large mixing bowl and stir till well combined. Add the cubed butter, and using your fingers, rub the butter into the flour mixture till it resembles pea sized crumbles. I love that part. Conversely, you can freeze the butter ahead of time and grate it on a cheese grater, saving yourself a lot of bother. Add the grated cheese and scallions and stir to combine.
2. In a measuring cup, lightly beat the egg, then add the milk. Pour into the dry ingredients and stir with a fork to make a ragged dough. With lightly floured hands, press dough into a ball.
3. Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead lightly, about 10 times. Don't overwork the dough if you can help it. Roll it out into a rough circular shape about 1/2 inch thick, and cut into 8 pieces. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, till golden brown around the edges. Let cool slightly, then eat!