I’ve been in a bit of a food funk lately. Okay it’s been pretty much the entire month of January. Maybe it was the inevitable let down of a rash of pre-Christmas baking with long shopping lists and flour on all the elbows of my shirts. Or perhaps it’s this mild winter that feels more like spring but without any of the fresh produce to go along with it. It’s hard to muster up recipes with winter squash, hearty root vegetables, or roasted meat and potatoes when it’s almost 60 degrees outside and all the trees have been tricked into blooming by the first week of February.
I think in retrospect this time of year is always the hardest for me. We try to eat seasonally and after four months of nothing but kale, the creative juices just aren’t flowing quite as well. To beat the slump I turned to a new cookbook I bought myself for Christmas this year that I’ve been hoarding and reading a little bit at a time over lunch as it seemed apt. Peter Miller is a great independent architectural and design book store in Seattle. When we lived there I used to wander over and spoil myself by looking at their beautifully curated selection of pens, notebooks, and cards and linger over their books, turning the pages of large books of lush photographs of landscape designs, stunning buildings, and great streets or public plazas. I can honestly say I probably want to own every single thing in the shop.
I came across a mention somewhere of a book Peter Miller put out this year and somehow didn’t put two and two together. The title is what grabbed me – Lunch at the Shop: The Art and Practice of the Midday Meal. As I may have confessed before, I dread lunch. I’m perfectly happy eating handfuls of cheese doodles or smearing chocolate peanut butter on a rice cracker. I tend to put all my effort into breakfast and dinner and am out of inspiration and energy when it comes to lunch. I bought the book hoping it could turn over a new page in my lunch repertoire. After trying my first recipe, I can already say buying the book has been worth it. I’ve made this sandwich three times already just this week. I love how it perfectly marries two different creamy textures (almond butter and brie) with two bright crisp flavors and texture (apples and arugula).