Monday, June 21, 2010

salad days

Life is not fun at the moment. My dad's terrible. We had to put two beloved dogs to sleep Friday. My husband left me yesterday. There's another poor tortured dog at YCAA. And the heat. Not the heat so much as the humidity. And Bill the Jack Russell's little rear end problem has not resolved.

So can we talk about salads? Do you have a favorite summer salad? The best thing I've ever eaten was chunked very ripe heirloom tomatoes with basil, olive oil, a little balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper. And garlic! Lots of fresh pressed garlic. In high summer, when it's all fresh from the garden, there's nothing better. Unless you toss a few bits of a good, whole grain, rustic bread in the mix. Heaven in a bowl.

So yesterday I made this:
Torn butter lettuce
Diced mango
Diced avocado
Diced cucumber
Chopped cilantro
Ground pepper
Dressing: fresh lemon juice, olive oil, lots of garlic.

It sounded better than it tasted, at least with the ingredients I had. Missing my Progreso market fruit lady, who always picks out the best mangos and avocados para hoy? o manana?

The mango and cucumber were a little bitter, so I added some honey to the dressing and it helped. If I make it again, the mangos will be perfectly ripe, the avocado lightly salted, and I'll skip the cilantro and add pecans or toasted almonds. The dressing was great. Definitely one I'll make again for other salads.

So what green, crisp, fruity, savory growing things are you munching on this summer? I'm wishing for a perfectly ripe avocado with a squeeze of lime, freshly ground pepper, and Pick-A-Peppa sauce drizzled over it all. Or something with blueberries in it. What are you eating? Tell, please.



Blogger Greg said...

I watched a documentary earlier this year showing some Brazilian food growers dividing their crop of mangoes according to which nation got which produce. It seemed that the Brits get the runts whilst other nations apparently know what a mango should look like. As for our avocados - they are weapons grade.

I'm not feeling very culinary right now, so I have nothing to suggest, but you've made me want to dip back into "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" to see what salads they made.

And as for the ingredients in your first tossed paragraph, I'm very sorry to hear them all. I hope Mike resurfaces, if he's still welcome. I hope this doesn't jeopardise your escape to Yucatan.

June 21, 2010 1:31 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

Hi Greg ~

I love that book!!! Thanks for reminding me, as I'd like to reread it as well.

Michael just went back to the house in Mexico. He is still my sweetheart but I feel abandoned nonetheless.

I remember hitting a Safeway supermarket late one night with a tremendous case of the munchies and absolutely plowed. My altercation with the manager on duty ended with tomatoes smashed all over the floor as I showed him how wretched they were by throwing those pink-tinged hard rocks all over the store.

Most produce in the big supermarkets is like that. Picked before riped, gassed to look good, and sold to us as "fresh." Sad to hear UK is the same.

When perfectly ripe, mangoes are food-of-the-gods delicious. I slice them right next to the long skinny pit, then just scoop out the fruit with a tiny spoon I keep just for that purpose.

Nice to "see" you here Greg. Hope your mama is doing okay...

June 21, 2010 1:40 PM  
Blogger David said...

Oh thank God you clarified about Mike. I was seething, thinking "how could he do this to her now of all times?"

We've had a dog loss recently, and my partner's dad's alzheimers continues, I'm so feeling for you right now.

So, food. I'm recommending the mixed grill my sweetie's business partner made us for dinner last night.

She sliced up zuchini and two different yellow squashes, some onions, a bulb of fennel and asparagus. Brushed everything with olive oil and grilled. Also grilled a big piece of cod, a couple chicken breasts, and a flank steak.

Sliced the proteins up after cooking, loaded everything onto a platter and drizzled with cilantro butter. Set in the middle of the patio table and let everyone serve themselves. Lots of flavor, not much work.

June 21, 2010 2:01 PM  
Anonymous lynette said...

David, that sounds heavenly!!! Yum. Ooooh, cilantro butter. How luscious. We do a lot of veggie/meat grilling in the summer, only my grillmaster's not here. I'm a fan of adding pineapple to the mix of all those savory vegetables.

Sorry to hear about your dog and papa troubles. Lately, it seems as if everything just piles up. Nothing gets finished, no problem resolved, just add another one to the tottering tower.

It's probably a frame of mind. My husband standing at the grill while I make cilantro butter would probably cure it. Thx for dropping by...

June 21, 2010 2:20 PM  
Blogger A said...

Oh, I'm so sorry the universe is piling it on this week! Try to enjoy the quiet moments -- catch a peaceful minute or two sitting outside, enjoying the quiet if it's cool enough at dawn or dusk, looking at the horizon.

I love a fresh summer tomato salad with nothing but a pinch of salt and a few drops of balasmic vinegar. No pepper, no garlic. Just luscious tomato. My favorite greens though are arugula and butter/Boston lettuce. Favorite vinaigrette: small clove of crushed garlic, heaping teaspoon of good Dijon mustard, olive oil, wine vinegar, black pepper, pinch o' salt.

I'm lazy as hell with fixing salads, but I've been wanting to try the following forever. I've seen it with chopped fresh mint, and I think I'd add that.

Per serving:
•3/4 - 1 cup of cold watermelon, cubed
•1/4 cup of feta cheese, crumbled or cubed
•1/4 medium red onion, cut in paper-thin slices
•1/4 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar or balsamic vinaigrette
Place the watermelon in a bowl, top with most of the onions, then the feta cheese. Place remaining onions on top. Sprinkle with balsamic vinegar, and serve.

June 21, 2010 11:43 PM  
Blogger LSL said...

I'm relieved Mike will resurface as well! But so sorry to hear about the pups. So tough. And your dad. Always your dad, Lynette. I'm sorry.

I have no culinary advice for you. You wouldn't want it if I did! But I'll send lots of love with a little peace of mind and a dash of a cool breeze to get at that humidity. Hugs.

June 22, 2010 1:32 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Always nice to see you writing again, Lynette. Even though we have the FB connection, it's not the same!! I can't really talk, as I have gotten away from it myself. I'm sure when you get to Mexico, you'll have the time to be creative again, and maybe write that book. Your blog is a wonderful collection of material, not to mention the adventures you will have in your new life!

So sorry for all of the things life is throwing your way right's just one of the valleys of life, and you know there is a peak coming soon!

We BBQ and eat a lot of salads and grilled veggies at this time of year....I throw in what I have usually, for salads, but can't wait for the sugar snap peas to be ready....and of course homegrown tomatoes...this year I planted the tiny yellow pear ones too. I love to add fruit to my salads....apples, nectarines....I like sweet and savory together. Adding chunks of chevre (goat cheese) is good too...especially rolled in chopped pecans....a nice change from feta/gorgonzola. My favorite salad to take to a BBQ, or make for a party is a rice and black bean salad with three colors of peppers, grn. onions, cilantro, peanut oil and lime juice, s&p...always a hit!
Sending you hugs and good wishes in the coming days/weeks!

June 22, 2010 9:36 AM  
Anonymous lynette said...

Joe, it's better today, will be better tomorrow. It always takes time to get out from under the burden of too much shit, and I am impatient. I agree, not much better than luscious tomatoes. The only plants I have this year are volunteers, so it will be interesting to see what comes up. Now that salad sounds luscious. I will make that this weekend. Yum.

LSL...So nice to hear from you. I've lost track of all of my old blog friends and I miss it. I have to get out and visit :-) Hugs back.

Chris ~ I know, it's not the same, but it's easy and fast, right? Life periodically sucks, but it does for everyone, I know. I love sweet and savory together too. Mike hates fruit in his salads, but it doesn't stop me. He can dig it out ;-) Yum, that rice and black bean salad sounds like a real treat. On the list. Gracias, senora.

June 22, 2010 9:45 AM  
Blogger Spouse Walker said...

I have a salad i often make for myself in a large bowl lasting days.
Red leaf or romaine lettuce
red grapes
cherry tomatoes
yellow or orange pepper
Within hours or at least by the next day,there is no need for dressing. All the juices blend into each other. DELICIOUS.

June 22, 2010 10:03 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

I'll send you the recipe in a message of FB....too much for here!

June 22, 2010 10:08 AM  
Blogger BigAssBelle said...

Ewe, that sounds divine...I'm getting such great ideas from all of you!!! Happy :-)

June 22, 2010 10:13 AM  
Blogger ish said...

The best salsa I've ever made came from from mangos: you want super ripe ones that are soft and sweet not firm. Cut up the meat in small bits, cover in fresh squeezed lime juice, add fresh chopped serrano chiles to taste (they can be hot). Let it sit for an hour before you start eating it to let the flavors stew. It's addictive.

June 22, 2010 11:54 AM  
Blogger . said...

If I remember correctly, you complain constantly about cold when it's even the slightest bit cold outside. Now you're complaining about heat?

July 06, 2010 9:14 PM  

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