Some of you may not know this but I am a definitive type of person. I like things absolute, locked in, solid. Black and white is my favorite lens through which to view the world. I deeply believe in cause and effect. If you do X, then Y will happen. However, no matter how much we want things to turn out as we think they should, they never do. Logically I know this to be true, and yet I am always shocked when events don't turn out as planned. I also think it is hilarious that with my allegiance to seeing things in black or white, my husband name is Gray. The universe is trying very hard to teach me a lesson. With my definite nature, there was a two year span in my early twenties when I did not eat anything raw. That's right, no salad, slaw, crudite, or fresh fruit for two years. (Well, maybe half an apple every other day but that was it.) I told you I like to stick to a plan! At the time I followed a macrobiotic diet that espoused the necessity for all food to be cooked to aid proper digestion. This diet promised complete digestive wellness if I just stuck to the plan. Are you saying that if I do X, Y will happen? I'M IN!!!! At the time I was dating a guy who, almost nightly, made these huge "everything but the kitchen sink" salads. Surprising enough, he did not have a salad spinner. "What?", you say. I know! This was just a piece of a larger world-view problem. He would wash and dry every single lettuce leaf by hand, leaving the salad limp and waterlogged. Seeing as I was never going to eat salad again, I thought, "Why not give him my spinner?" This spinner opened his eyes to a world of possibilities! He spun in the morning. He spun in the evening. Nothing this man ate went to his lips without first taking a whirl. The relationship did not last much longer but I felt good knowing that whenever he used that salad spinner, he would think of me. I had made my mark.
Fast forward a few years....I had a new man (Gray) and I was eating salads again. I know, I said I like to stick to a plan but after years of nothing raw, resentment filtered in. It felt good to let go of my food restrictions, and for goodness sake, not everything had to be black and white. There were now shades of Gray. Once reintroduced, salads became a nightly staple at our dinner table. Every night Gray dutifully washed and dried each perfect salad leaf, one by one. We were standing in the kitchen in our usual spots. Me chopping fresh summer herbs and Gray at the sink, washing away.
Out of no where he blurted, "I can't! I just can't do this anymore!" (My husband has a flare for the dramatic.) "What!", I said. "I cannot bear to wash another leaf of lettuce this way," he screamed. "I hate it! You know, have you ever heard of an invention called a SALAD SPINNER!"
I had come full circle. All the harassment I hurled at my previous boyfriend had now smacked me in the face.
"Well, I used to have one," I sheepishly replied.
"What do you mean used to?", he said.
"I gave it to an ex-boyfriend," I whispered. "Why?", he blurted.
And with a big sigh I finally admitted it. "Because I thought I would never eat salad again."
"You are INSANE!", he screamed.
I know I'm insane, I thought. Why do you think I never mentioned the salad spinner issue before!
For the record, Gray and I now own a salad spinner. It was given to us by my mother as an engagement present. We use it all the time. We spin in the morning. We spin in the evening. It has opened up of world of possibilities and probably saved our relationship in the kitchen.
It seriously irks me that situations, people, and things are forever in motion with nothing set in stone. As the Definitive Queen, life's changeability and uncertainties shake me to the core. I know, I'm working on it. I will take a deep breath, and let it go. And then do that again 100 more times. That being said, I love salad and am happy to have it back on the menu.
Little Gem Salad with Fennel, Peach and Cilantro
- 6 heads of Little Gems or 1 1/2 heads red/green leaf lettuce (I highly recommend not using pre-bagged salad mix. The leaves are always dried out and flavorless.)
- ½ fennel bulb, thinly sliced/shaved
- ½ peach, cubed
- ¼- ½ cup cilantro, chopped
- 2 green onions, chopped
- ¼ cup toasted pine nuts
- 2-3 tablespoons good quality olive oil (I LOVE Bariani)
- 2-3 tablespoons good quality balsamic vinegar (again, Bariani)
- Celtic sea salt
Wash, SPIN, and rip lettuce into bite size pieces and place in a large salad bowl. Add all remaining ingredients to the bowl. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and Celtic sea salt and toss thoroughly.
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