Halloumi on a Sunday Morning

by Lia
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I really wanted to sleep in today, but I woke up much too early and couldn’t go back to bed. I wasn’t quite ready to be ultra productive and start doing chores, so I did the next best thing — I made breakfast!

It was a bit of a challenge because our refrigerator and pantry is a little bit on the bare side, but I like making meals that help me totally clean out the fridge. It sort of feels like a “Chopped” challenge, where I have to figure out how to make a decent meal using a basketful of random ingredients that may or may not work together.

So what was in my “basket” today?

I had about a cup and a half of brown rice, an overripe tomato, half of a bunch of cilantro, one quasi-sturdy scallion stem, half of a lemon, and a block of halloumi cheese. (Doesn’t everyone keep a block of halloumi on reserve in their refrigerator?) I decided that I could put together a grain bowl — a very minimalist grain bowl — that would have some solid flavors and substance.

Halloumi cheese is one of the best hard cheeses I’ve ever known. It’s so versatile, and because it has such a high melting point, you can fry it or grill it. This morning, after getting the brown rice cooking, I cut the block of halloumi into eight pieces. Then I put all the pieces of cheese in a dry nonstick skillet (no need for any fats!), and I fried each side for about 3-4 minutes. I probably like to have my halloumi more fried and crispier than most. And as the halloumi fried in the pan, I chopped up my one tomato and the rest of my cilantro, and I combined them into a small bowl with olive oil, salt and pepper, and lemon.

When the cheese was nice and done, I squeezed fresh lemon over all the slices. Then I plated the fried slices of heaven on top of the cooked brown rice, and I spooned the tomato and cilantro mixture on top of the cheese. I garnished the dish with scallions and squeezed even more lemon on top. 

I’m pretty proud of my breakfast dish made from scavenged fridge and pantry ingredients. I think it turned out pretty well; although, it would be hard to mess up any dish that has halloumi cheese as the star. It was a great combo of nutty, salty, savory, and citrusy flavors in one easy dish; and it was a fantastic way to ease into a Sunday.

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