First off, thank you.
In the past week, a handful of you have
said one kind thing or another
for which I am grateful,
especially as I think about how
Bird and Babe will continue in the future.
As the Gent and I read this past week, we came across this super simple recipe for a salad in Ms. Adler's chapter "How to Stride Ahead." (This chapter is essentially about how to stride ahead by putting to use all the vegetables you've cooked and roasted for the week. These may take the forms of salads, sandwiches, soups, purees, risottos, curries or other things you've dreamed up.) This week, I share about the salad I made and another dinner party I threw a few weeks ago.
If you grew up with salads being iceberg lettuce with sliced cucumbers mixed with tomato wedges (that have yet to ripen), then you may, too, have a natural aversion to a "salad." (For what it is worth, this is no slam to my mother!) Though I've come to appreciate mixed greens with olive oil, a pinch of sea salt, and some vinegar, salads are still not necessarily a staple in this household. So, continuing on in this chapter for yet another week, I bring you a rendition of her recipe to be found on page 45 of An Everlasting Meal: Cooking with Economy and Grace.
I took out all the ingredients and let them "sit" to be room temperature. I had cooked my greens for the week, so it was a delight to just take them out of the fridge and let them be (having done the prep work when I got home from the market days before). I then combined the ingredients as she instructed (letting first the onion of any kind and the red vinegar get acquainted with each other for 10 minutes before then adding a teaspoon of mustard for another two) into a large mixing bowl. I subbed out a couple of ingredients to match what I had--and overall, I think I could walkaway with the appreciation for a new kind of salad. Next time, I'll halve the mustard and the red wine vinegar since yours truly really doesn't care for things too acidic... But this highlights one thing I appreciate about her recipes and book: it is not a book about recipes inasmuch as it is a book about a way of cooking. Something I believe in and operate out from. I have benefited from reading about how she manages her kitchen as well as preps creatively for the week. This does truly allow for some "striding ahead" to take place while eating wholesomely. (I'm still amazed at how good vegetables are like boiled radishes or cabbage.) There was no measurement for how much red wine vinegar to use and herein ushered a conversation between me and my ingredients that otherwise would have been meddled with by teaspoons. Though, I also admit I was trying to follow what she was doing and "over-achieved" by not listening to my intuition about the vinegar and instead, kept pouring away!
A few weeks ago, right after I returned home from Vancouver, I hosted a second dinner with friends. This dinner was a dinner that was about intentionality: we gather to share what's going on in our lives. Since we all live everywhere, we try to do this once a year. The Gent and I were stoked, but also exhausted from our recent international travels (he was in Zurich when I was in Vancouver) and from processing some deeply personal things in our lives. We chose to still go through with the dinner, and I am so grateful we did. As one friend remarked, "It's rare when people can actually open up and share what they may be going through because we're all going through something, and yet we usually just keep things at surface level. This was a good reminder." I personally benefited from the night--so much healing occurred in my heart by sharing--verbally sharing--in the presence of others--real, physical presence of others. This is something I've been learning over the past couple of years and then experienced tonight. Here are some photos the Gent was able to capture--and I incorporate it into this series because (a) some of how we cooked was influenced from An Everlasting Meal (it also simply complemented how the Gent and I orient ourselves) and (b) it came up in conversation. It truly is amazing how the end of one meal--or even the end of one conversation--can be the beginning of another. And when that happens, how rich life is!