Category Archives: Salads

Covid Silver Linings, Lasagne and ADD

I’ll start the list of Covid silver linings with two.

One, The first thing I hear every morning is, “I’ll go down and start the coffee.”

Do you now how nice this is?

Husband used to leave the house at 6:15, which meant he was up and out in full dark for portions of the year. I’d be so dead to the world I wouldn’t even hear his NPR-set alarm. I never minded making coffee but it is so nice to rise and shine with it ready to pour. His company is nice too.

Two, Covid has normalized my wardrobe choices. Ha! Most of what I wear has to meet a single criteria — is this outfit as comfortable as pajamas? The rest of the world has caught up to me I guess.

 

This is the time of year when my holiday timing clashes with my husband’s. That’s why I will begin to sneakily remove the smaller ornaments and put them away. Hope he doesn’t notice! Actually, this year he might go for full take-down before New Year’s because we got our tree the day after Thanksgiving. It is dry.

I got a rice cooker for Christmas and we might just have rice every evening from here on out. It comes out perfect every time. I used to have one. Here’s a fun fact you probably don’t know about me: I ate nearly exclusively with chopsticks for about five years.

But what am I saying about rice? I have all the ingredients for lasagne. I really hope it’s as good as the batch I made for my brother the trip before last. They purchased some specialty ricotta which was creamier than what I usually buy, and I think that made the difference. Wish me luck! It’s a lot of work for a meh-meal.

Lastly, I get to congratulate myself (again) for sticking with the Paris Collage Collective’s challenge for the entire year, even with four trips to Los Angeles and one to Boulder. I doubt I’ll do it again in 2022. I am eager to make some collages fueled by more personal images. This week’s image was a hand holding a balloon.

If you don’t have ADD or don’t know anyone with ADD, you probably can’t quite appreciate why this is such a big deal.

Green Goddess dressing

Homegrown summer herbs and a yogurt/mayonnaise base make for a yummy salad dressing!

Ingredients: mayonnaise, nonfat plain yogurt, a squirt of anchovy paste, garlic, lemon, rice vinegar, salt and

A mix of herbs (maybe NOT basil, though?) : parsley, chives, tarragon.

Instructions:

1. Put 1/2 c mayonnaise and 1/3 cup yogurt into cuisnart along with five cloves of garlic, juice of half a lemon, dash of rice or white vinegar, a squeeze of anchovy paste, a teaspoon of stevia, and two fistfuls of herbs.

2. Mix

3. Add additional veggie for greener color, such as chard or spinach.

4. Taste and adjust acid, salt, and sweetener until dressing sings.

This adventure was based on two recipes from the NYTimes recipe app (which I cannot recommend enough). Here and here. Mostly the latter.

Note: the first recipe uses basil, so that might be worth a try. It also adds the creamier Greek yogurt which I definitely want to try.

Since I generally rely on the tried and true oil and vinegar dressing (with Dijon and garlic), this made for a really nice change.

Locally grown pepper, lettuce, radish and pea sprouts were worthy carriers of this Green Goddess mix!

Kitchen notes:

1. If you chop fast, leave a generous stub on your carrots, celery, cukes, etc. Since you’re a home cook and not a professional, you can pop these tidbits into your mouth. Way better than chopping a flap of your thumb off. Trust me I know.

2. Keep anchovy paste in the fridge. Essential for Caesar salad. Never goes bad, as far as I can tell.

3. Stevia is, by volume, four times sweeter than sugar. Adjust your dashes accordingly.

4. If you hand mix, use a whisk and a bowl with steep sides. But I have to say, this recipe is one of many reasons to keep a mini-cuisinart to hand.

5. Even if you live where growing veggies is impossible (like here — too much shade), treat yourself to container-grown herbs. It really is nice to have fresh basil, chives, sage, and parsley on hand. Pesto has been one of the most pleasurable foods of the summer (worth the outrageous cost of pine nuts!)

6. Re: knives. Either marry someone who will sharpen your knives for you or learn how to do so yourself. Nothing ruins kitchen prep like dull knives. * * * Having said that, it’s more important to know the status of your knife’s edge than to have a sharp one when it comes to safety. That is, as they say, another story, one that involves blood, an onion, and a poor attempt to assist a professional home chef in Cambridge.

Puzzle, dunk, and beans

The crossword puzzle gets me out of bed on Sundays, eager and curious.

Another beautiful day. It might rain at six. Regarding our patio dinner postponed from last night, K quips, “We should hold it yesterday.” It ended up being beautiful at six last evening.

A dunk a day keeps the depression away! Not gonna happen, but how grateful I am when we go.

You know it’s time to chuck a suit when the elastic crackles as you put it on. Since I love polka dots so much, a piece of the Lycra/poly blend will go into the fabric stash. I’ve used other synthetic polka dots to good effect.

Here’s a hint about tonight’s bean salad.

Here’s a hint about how the chicken will be served.

Here’s a link to GimmeSomeOven for their chimichurri recipe. Yummmm! I hope there will be some leftover for leftovers!

Gutters and lemon squares

It was cooler and then not. One pile of dirt has been dispersed, the other sifted of rocks. More news on patio in another post.

I made lemon squares and cut K’s hair. Worked on a bunch of chapters. Yesterday, met “the guys” over at the lake.

Saturday afforded some beautiful late afternoon light.

K cleaned gutters and I laid additional slates in the landing area. One of the beauties of watching a professional crew is learning how to do something. My rubber mallet, small yellow level, and trowel have been busy!

For instance, I’m interrupting the median plantings so that when the nearby elementary school resumes in-person learning, it’ll be clear where to step. A good use of the multitude of rocks uncovered in our patio project. My mother used to joke that rocks are New England’s best crop.

Recording the above because dinner prep is in the works. I’m roasting tomatoes, soaking beans, chopping olives and cooking rice for a rice, corn, and bean salad. Tons of garlic and shallots will add flavor.

Fortuitously, even before the obscenity that is Ivanka hawking Goya beans on her twitter feed, I ordered heirloom beans from California. Very exciting for this mid-level foodie!

Two friends are coming over to watch Hamilton this evening. I’m excited way out of proportion to the event. I’ve seen both friends recently and have already watched Hamilton once, but it feels special.

For one thing, I haven’t had a reason to tidy the living room in a LONG time. Plus, I love an excuse to rearrange the furniture (we’ll sit six feet apart and wear masks – except when eating).

And when have I cooked for friends last?

Pantry salad

Pantry Salad — serves 6

3 T sesame seeds

One chopped spring onion (or 2 scallions)

1/2 c pine nuts

1/4 c chopped parsley

Can of cannellini beans

1 chopped roasted red pepper

1 ear of corn, cut off the cob

1 c purple rice, cooked on toothsome side

Vinaigrette with extra garlic and salt

This salad is prettier before the addition of the rice. If you want those bright colors, either skip the rice or use brown or white instead.

I subbed rice for the kasha which I thought were buckwheat groats (oops). Technically, an ear of corn is not a pantry item and not even in season, but I had some because of a planned dinner party tonight. You could make it without the corn.

Other good additions: chopped hearts of palm; chopped Spanish olives; diced red onion.

Those of you who know how negative my self-talk tends to be might not recognize me after I produce a perfect omelet. Or a really tasty salad. After taking the first bite of this one, I said, “Oh my god! Who am I?”

Meanwhile, turns out that cancelling dinner guests for tonight was the right thing to do. I’ll still make sweet polenta with mushroom ragout. It’ll last for days!

Earlier, I took to cleaning up the perennial beds. Raking as a minor act of salvation.

My new life hack, discovered by accident (aren’t they all?): using a plunger to open a leaf bag, then using plunger to keep bag open while filling, and finally, using it to tamp leaves down as I go.

I used to put the bag over my head and punch it open from the inside, like a crazy person. Needless to say, at five feet tall, swinging a leg into the bag for stomping mid-rake session wasn’t accomplished with any grace either. So I’m loving this!

I also spent some time hacking and heaving and pulling at the maple roots that were left behind after a shitty stump removal. That little pile of roots depicted above? Took forty minutes.

Since my comments don’t take over at Joanne’s blog, let me shout out here: Wolf Hall is one of my favorite books ever. Be a good choice for a re-read. I just can’t believe how skillfully Mantel crafted her historic narrative. Also: she has a new novel out.

One more shout out: Happy birthday to my mother-in-law!! (She’s the only family member who reads my blog regularly.) Stay healthy. Stay strong. If you were here, I’d pull out some of the salad before adding the garlic — just for you.