Monday, August 8, 2011

Salad of Fennel, Zucchini and Good Humor

I kept busy all week, distracting myself from the missing friends and lovers. Wednesday I had dinner with a friend and drank on the back porch, Thursday was the taco ride, Friday was crab and karaoke, Saturday was rock climbing and sushi and Sunday I cook. Rather, I assembled cold salads.

I made two jars of pickles a few weeks ago and they are already gone (one I sent with Amanda as a parting gift), so that was definitely in order. I have been craving those pickles for nine or 10 months now. Best I've ever had. I've also started my spree of nonstop caprese salads. As tomatoes are nearly inedible outside of July, August and September, I have to overstimulate my taste buds while I can. The garden I am sharing with the downstairs neighbor is a panoply of produce. The tomatoes are behaving on the heavy-duty cages and the cucumber is training up toward the clothes line, there are enough strawberries to please my neighbors greedy three-year-old and the lawn care folks take caution to mow around the zucchinis.

Home-grown zucchinis are my new favorite. I like them smaller than they come in the store, nearly babies, with the blossom still attached, which I've been stuffing with soft cheese and sauteing. The little ones are crisper but delicate and light. That mush they get at the store does nothing for vegetables. Then there's this salad I saw on 101 Cookbooks. One with fennel and zucchini, arugula and pine nuts and then sprinkled with parmesan cheese, lemon juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Just the thing to assemble while listening to This American Life and feeling just a teeny bit sorry for myself until I heard about a man who was tortured for protesting in Egypt. It's OK to be emotionally nostalgic, but I should always remember hold onto my grip on reality. I made my new roommate try the fennel alone and in the salad. It is sort of strange by itself and sort of awesome with parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Alone it's too much like licorice but with salty creamy sour flavors it's light and aromatic. Much better than celery. The pine nuts were so buttery. All these lovely Mediterranean ingredients just as the day's light began to fade. I could eat a salad like that every day.

Sunday spent with casual cooking at home was such a nice way to ground the week. I really felt so joyous today making breakfast pastries at school. I was just singing my own personal karaoke ("Landslide" by Stevie Nicks if you must know). I was thinking about writing this weekend. Do I even like it? Am I even good at it? But hanging out with my friends Sean and Phil, we were talking about what we would do if we won the lottery. Sure there's travel and not worry about money (which is certainly false--mo' money mo' problems right?), but I would do exactly what I'm doing right now, except I would write more. I would create more space in my life for writing and reflection and who gives a damn if it's not good (well, I do at some point), but quality is not necessarily the point. Peace and happiness is.

1 comment:

Jess said...

yes to the salads and YES to the writing! I think about that too - how I wish I wrote more... kind of silly, I could stop wasting time wishing and start writing. of course it's easy to worry about if it's good or worth it, but like you said, peace and happiness are what matter.