Tuesday, May 31, 2011

salad season is here

As I shared my menu last night, I realized it is 50% salads.  I'm completely okay with that for two reasons: first, salads fit into this whole detox effort I was babbling about.  Second, and more importantly for my overheated Greek husband, they do not require cooking, which means the kitchen (and therefore, the "dining room") remains the same temperature as the rest of our hot home.

Tomorrow, in exchange for him washing the towels I couldn't bring myself to launder on my final day off, I told him he could get a Blendini and turn on the A/C, so if it's cool in my home when I return to it, there had better also be a pile of clean towels waiting to be folded.

Anyway, tonight I made Spinach, Artichoke, and Chickpea Salad from Vegan Express.  From the title, you can guess at least three things that were in it, right?  From the trend salads seem to follow when they find their way into cookbooks, you might imagine that those are the only ingredients, apart from possibly some tomatoes and a crunchy garnish, wouldn't you?  Going into it with that mindset, you might be surprised by how darn many ingredients this "simple" salad had.  Let's just say I got good use from my pretty measuring dishes.

That was round one - a cup of tomatoes, a half cup of carrots, and a third of a cup of oil-cured olives for spite.  Round two consisted of a cup of shredded cabbage, a half cup of roasted red peppers, and a can each of artichoke hearts and chickpeas.  I was supposed to only add a cup of chickpeas, but seriously?  What was I going to do with the half-cup left over?  Besides, we like chickpeas in this family.

Another fun thing was serving the colorful, festive salad in my huge red Martha Stewart bowl using the gorgeous and unique Rosewood salad servers my sister gave me for Christmas this year.  I think they're from somewhere in Africa, but I can't remember where she said they came from.

Anyway, they're beautiful and functional, just like I like 'em.

The lighting for this picture is awful, but I wanted to show our little dinner table all set with the salad and accompaniments.  We have some extra mixed olives, in case the 1/3 cup actually in the salad isn't enough.  We also have a gravy boat because I think it's funny that I have two gravy boats that have never been full of gravy.  Actually, that's not true.  The gravy boat we had our tahini salad dressing in tonight, the one on the table, sat on the table my father dined at as a child and teenager.  Surely, sometime in his youth, that gravy boat actually had homemade gravy in it.  So let me amend my statement: in the 8 years that I have been in possession of my Dixie Dogwood dinnerware set, that gravy boat has been destitute of gravy.  It made a perfect vessel for the tahini sauce from Mister's lambless gyros, which magically morphed into a salad dressing tonight.

The salad was delightful and the tahini sauce really went well with the Mediterranean flavors.  The olives made a salty companion to the barely in-season grape tomatoes, while the crunch of the raw cabbage played nicely with the chopped baby lettuces and crisp orange carrots.  After dinner had settled as much as salad is going to settle, Mister and I ventured out into near-record heat to get a cool treat from Rita's Water Ice (so handy to have one a stone's throw from the apartment - we can tell if it's open just by walking down to the corner).  Chocolate water ice for me, Passion Fruit Ice-Vanilla Custard gelato for him, we headed back to the apartment so I could be introduced to a young Robert DeNiro's sinister side in Cape Fear.  This is just one of the movies that Mister could not believe I had never seen and which resulted in us subscribing to Netflix.  After spending most of the second half of the movie with my hands over my face, we decided to move The Tourist up in the queue, taking what was originally the place of Taxi Driver (I need a short break from intense violence starring Robert DeNiro - you must understand - I was introduced to the old, comedic DeNiro.)

Well...back to "real life" tomorrow, at least for a couple of days.  I'm just focusing on Thursday when I get to take a half day and spend the evening at the ballet.  Then, it's Friday!  See?  I can do it.

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