Bowls of Stuff

When Los Angeles Times food critic wrote a review about a restaurant in my area, he used the term “Things in a Bowl” to describe the restaurant’s offerings. Things. In. A. Bowl. This has become my favorite notion, though I sometimes rephrase it by saying “Bowls of Stuff”. Gold’s definition is simple: grains/rice/pasta, poached egg, and kale.

My definition is pretty close to Gold’s, though I mix up my greens a lot more. Not that there’s anything wrong with kale, but I love collards, chard, spinach (oh, do I love spinach!), and even beet or radish greens. And I like to fry or bake my eggs as often as I like to poach them. And I tend to add a bit more protein (meat or tofu) because I am a proteinaholic.

Of course, when you think about it, pasta and noodles can be Bowls of Stuff. So can salads. Chili. Heck, done right, so is your morning oatmeal. And there’s soup, which I guess is the poster child for Bowls of Stuff.

After reading Gold’s column, I decided the time had come to get serious about my own things in bowls. First, I needed better bowls. The cereal bowls used by husband are nice, but I wanted something different. I settled on a rounder, taller bowl by Fiesta. I like my bowls to be colorful, and Fiesta did the job quite nicely.

Then I started filling bowls:

  • Rice Noodles with Gluten-Free Sauce and Veggies — I like to mix up a quick sauce using soy sauce, fish sauce, a bit of chile paste, some lime juice, and maybe a bit of lemongrass. Sliced, marinated chicken or pork, a generous side of greens or pea pods, some sprouts. Or whatever!
  • Pasta with Sauce — A good bowl makes pasta that much more special. Take a cue from Asian Bowls of Stuff and use your pasta as a starting point for a variety of flavors in the bowl.
  • Risotto with Spinach and Parmesan — While a bit time consuming, risotto is a great comfort food. The stirring, about thirty minutes worth, helps relax the mind. The Parmesan adds salty yummy. And the spinach, well, it’s good for you!
  • Bibimbap — This may be the ultimate Bowl of Stuff. Rice, veggies, meat, pickles, gochujang (recipe for a gluten-free gochujang here), egg. Essentially, the word bibimbap means mixed rice, and that should tell you everything you need to know about to eat this dish!
  • Rice Cakes with Spicy Beef and Basil — A household favorite! I love the chewiness of rice cakes combined with the meat and veggies.
  • Big Salads — I love big salads. Lately, I’ve been doing variations of Nicoise salads: tuna, boiled eggs, little white potatoes, green beans. Or a great Caesar with chicken. Or even this great green mango salad.

And I’m still filling bowls. And looking for ideas of stuff to put in bowls? Any thoughts?

Tip of the Week

Be aware of portion sizes when it comes to Stuff in Bowls, especially if you’re using large bowls. It’s easy to overload on, oh, carbs without realizing it (yes, speaking as the voice of experience!).

Menu of the Week

  • Rice Noodles with Gluten-Free Sauce and Veggies
  • Mochi (recipe here, or Trader Joe’s sells gluten-free versions)
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