I am having the kind of day where I just want to tell you about salad dressing, on the one hand and, on the other, I want to cry in your arms about the babies. Ben as the Major General in Pirates of Penzance. Birdy with a Frisbee-induced (and proudly cherished) black eye. My running to-do list that has been in continuous operation for so long that, when I just scrolled down pages and pages to its very bottom, it says, “Twyla? Boris? Toby? Gemma?” about the baby I was very briefly pregnant with, oh, 5 or 6 years ago now.
|Did Ben *love* his ruffly, ruffly costume? As a matter of fact, he did, thanks so much for asking.|
|Shiner, Day 6: The Yellow Phase. When Birdy's sweet P.E. teacher called fretfully to apologize that Birdy had gotten hurt, I said, "What--did you just meet Birdy? She's thrilled to have a black eye!" And it was true.|
It is, as they say, all good. It is. I needed another baby like a hole in the head. And lest you think my to-do list is simply a catalogue of ancient grief, a few lines up from that it says, “naturally occurring objects such as pit, twig, shell, or stem fragments—funny?” There is also the pressing question “trust-fund neuroscience rats?” and some notes for a story I want to write about a phantom phantom limb. Also this Birdy quote: "I put out all these perfect tiny meals for them, but what if fairies are actually big, and they're, like, starving and annoyed?" (And I call it my to-do list! Can you see why my house isn’t exactly spotless? Maybe I need a to-do list that’s separate from my random-shit-to-ponder list.)
Anyways. I have posted before my notes on teaching Ben to make salad, along with our old go-to dressing recipe. Only we have a new current favorite, and I thought I’d share it, since it makes a nice, big batch of salad dressing, which we use all week.
|He is the very model of a modern major measurer.|
|Ben photocopied the recipe and stuck it to the fridge for easy reference. Sensible child.|
|Oh, did you want to see more of the petty-crime collage on the fridge? We've been clipping bits from the absurdist Amherst Bulletin police blotter for as long as I can remember. We have so many good ones.|
The dressing is a little garlicky, lip-smackingly vinegary, perfectly salted, and just barely herbal. Also, it tastes a little like Wishbone Italian, in the best possible way, without any creepy after-taste or anything. And when we have the dressing already made in the fridge, I’m inclined to make healthy salads for my own lunch, which is huge, since I’m always craving chicken wings or a steak sandwich and need to be sure to keep myself well-fed so I don’t dart out anywhere and spend my hard-earned scratch.
|Basic dinner salad: romaine and cukes.|
|Five-minute Healthy Lunch Bowl.|
Makes 1 cup
This is adapted from the “Greek Vinaigrette” recipe in The Family Dinner, a book I am friendly towards but haven’t yet used very much. Although Ben did make the Greek Meatballs from it, and they were fabulous. I know. Ben made meatballs! Major General cutie-head.
1 clove garlic, minced or put through a garlic press
1/3 cup white-wine vinegar
2/3 cup olive oil
¼ teaspoon dried marjoram (or oregano, if you prefer)
2 teaspoons kosher salt (or half as much are you even paying attention?)
Shake it up in a jar. Store it in the fridge.
Healthy Lunch Bowl
Serves 2 or 3
Because I am live-blogging my own lunch, I’m showing you exactly how I made this—today. However, in another moment, I would have made it differently, depending on what we had around. As always, I think you need a mix of tender and crunchy, rich and fresh and, ideally, a little bit spicy. (And is it just me, or are you now thinking of saying “Don’t be such a lunch bowl!” to people who are pissing you off?)
2 cups cooked pinto beans, or 1 15-ounce can, drained and rinsed
2 stalks celery, chopped, with lots of chopped leaves
½ English cucumber, seeded and sliced
1 can oil-packed tuna, drained unthoroughly
1/3 cup green pumpkin seeds, sautéed in a teaspoon of olive oil until just browning
1 tablespoon chopped pickled jalapenos
Combine everything in a bowl and add dressing to taste. Try to be glad you didn’t go out for the hot wings.
Other things I would add or swap in for other stuff
- chickpeas (my usual bean for this salad)
- crumbled feta
- pickled beets
- parsley or other herbs
- a handful of arugula or other greens
- sliced almonds
- raisins or dried cherries
- sliced radishes and/or carrots
- leftover cooked vegetables
- leftover cooked grains (warmed briefly in the microwave)
|Lunch bowl, before tossing.|
|Michael, finishing the lunch bowl.|