I have recently become a very firm believer in taking lunch. While a long lunch is best, it's also not doable for most people, but even the simple act of taking a lunch, away from work, stress, etc., well, that's something I can get behind. (Don't you love that phrase "taking lunch"?) For the past year, I ate practically every single lunch in front of my computer working. Not the best way to enjoy yourself.
Now that I have some extra time, I figure I'm long overdue to get myself into better habits. In that regard, I've started taking lunch out on the back deck. I'll fix myself a salad, add a hunk of bread, maybe even a bite or two of cheese, pour a glass of white wine (always in the summer, especially with salads), and sit outside, watching the trees and listening to their leaves rustle.
Why salad? Aside from it being summer and therefore leaving most every ingredient alone, I figure that if I have a lovely, delicious and decidedly NOT boring salad for lunch, I'm free to have whatever I want for dinner. The other answer is that the salads I've been having lately (inspired by the lovely Orangette's archives) leave absolutely nothing to be desired. Testament to that, I just went to the store today to buy ingredients to make the salads I've been eating over the past two days AGAIN. If you knew me, you'd know I'm not one to repeat the same thing in the same week. Repitition over the course of two weeks? Okay, sure. A girl has her limits.
I don't know about anyone else, but I hated croutons growing up, absolutely hated them. It wasn't until this year, when I went to Zuni Cafe for the first time and tried their famed Caesar salad and Roast Chicken with Bread Salad that I finally understand what croutons are supposed to taste like. Chewy, with a slight crunch around the outside. I figured that an heirloom tomato panzanella would be a good foil for practice, not to mention a lovely addition to my lunch repertoire, but I obviously still need work. We'll call my version slightly overtoasted, to be polite.
Perhaps I'll do better tomorrow. Anyway, I can't imagine not enjoying that deck, Chicago's unseasonably delightful weather, and a glass of wine.