Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Salad

It has been an explosion of spring. I came back from a trip to Ohio and the magnolia's were in bloom, along with the crab apples, violets, tulips, daffodils. Our rose bushes have even come back to life. It's as if winter never happened and things could stay this way forever. They won't of course., one swift wind and the magnolia blossoms will drop (many already have). Soon I'll be able to buy locally-grown produce at markets and farm stands, but in the meantime, I'm settling for stuff shipped in from Mexico.

Broccoli, asparagus and radishes. Exactly what the day called for (except that I couldn't find radishes and picked turnips instead). The broccoli and asparagus, warmed just to crisp-tenderness and brilliantly green, played subtly with bitter turnip slices and spring onions. I topped the salad with creamy toasted pine nuts and shavings of parmesan cheese. Drizzled with this Portuguese mayo-esque dressing (Portuguese to make it sound fancy and complicated), this salad, oh this salad. Though the dressing (it required emulsification--a word that draws fear and trembling) required a bit of fiddling, I came out victorious, by adding extra lemon juice. Really, it was a proud moment watching the mixture of whole milk, garlic, lemon juice parsley and olive oil go from just a mixture to a thick, creamy sauce with a few extra squeezes from a lemon. Eric declared the dressing light but flavorful, perfect--quite a compliment. I'll be making it again tonight.
And now to digress to something that is bothering me: my downstairs neighbors. They moved in just a month ago. My landlord called to say someone just signed the lease, and when I came back from out of town, they were there with their stuff in our garage and children's toys littering the yard. They bought a satellite dish, used our washer and dryer for a week (while we were using it! and without asking!!) and watch an excessive amount of TV (though compared to how much TV I watch, almost anything would be excessive), but all this is nothing compared to the sex.

My room is directly above theirs, and I can hear them every time they copulate. Every. Time. The first time I heard it, I came home from the Old Market at probably 1 a.m. Sliding under my covers, I said aloud to myself, "oh my gosh, is that ... moaning?" This is no bed-creaking, panting sex; this is moaning, grunting intercourse. Not only is it gross, it's grossly unnecessary. It has forever ruined Sideways for me because all I can picture is the scene from the movie when Paul Giamatti crawls into that couple's house to steal back the ring--those people are my downstairs neighbors. And they each have children, who I am absolutely positive can hear them. Why, you may ask. Because while it's not quite ridiculous that I can hear them seeing as my room is directly above theirs, but Megan has heard them whilst sitting in the living room. Sunday they did it twice, once in the morning, once at night. They keep me awake flaunting all the copious and apparently very good sex they are having, while I try to plug my ears and imagine myself on a beach, on a hike, anywhere but there.

Asparagus and Broccoli Salad: from 101 Cookbooks
handful asparagus spears
several stalks broccoli
1 tablespoon butter
1 turnip
1 spring onion
parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts

Eggless Parsley Mayonaise: from David Lebovitz from The Portuguese Table
1/3 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic
3/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons dried parsely or 3/4 cup fresh

Chop the asparagus and broccoli into bite-size pieces. Melt butter in a skillet. Add the broccoli and asparagus, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and saute for a few minutes, until vegetables are brilliantly green. remove from heat and place in serving bowl. Toast pine nuts in skillet for a couple minutes, until they are lightly browned.

Chop spring onion. Slice turnips on the slicer side of a grater. Toss onions, pine nuts and turnips with green vegetables. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Meanwhile make the dressing. In a food processor, blend milk, garlic, pepper and lemon juice until the mixture is frothy. If your processor has a hole, use it to pour in the olive oil. Mine does not, so I removed the milk from the processor into a bowl and whisked constantly while ever-so-slowly drizzling the oil into the milk. The dressing should thicken nicely. If it doesn't (which mine did not), add a few extra squeezes of lemon juice. Stir in parsley and season to taste with salt and perhaps extra lemon juice. Toss over the salad and serve.


Maria said...

oh no! I'm so sorry to hear about your neighbors. That's horrible. So are they still using your washer/dryer? And is the garage yours or do you have to share? Uhg, bad neighbors are no fun.

On another note, have you watched Food, Inc? I'd love to get your thoughts on it. It's turned me from only eating chicken to vegetarian and questioning everything I put in my mouth.

Lainey Seyler said...

yes, i saw that last year. amazing! and sort of infuriating how the government encourages this bad eating. i've been watching food revolution on abc lately. it's pretty good.