There is so much happening here in our woods, I don’t know what to tell you first! The biggest news is that the kitchen construction is really beginning to move forward. We’ve been so occupied with structural problems, it’s taken the focus off the creative part of the process. But last week, I got to have some real fun. With power tools!
We rented a belt sander and I used it to bevel the edges of 440 square feet of white oak floor boards. Brian was home for spring break; he and Bob “fed” me the wood and then stacked it. It was a huge project, but working as a team, we finished in 9 hours. The floor guy is coming today to install it!
After the sanding project, I turned my attention to getting ready for Empty Bowls, which happens this Friday! I loaded the bisque Sunday, glazed and loaded the kiln starting at 5 am Tuesday, fired in the evening. The kiln cooked yesterday while I worked at the dr deb office, and I got up at 4:30 this morning to unload my treasures! I have 30 soup bowls to donate, plus a big pasta bowl for silent auction. I hope to take some pictures later and post them on my Empty Bowls page and on Instagram and Deb’s Pots Facebook page.
And in the middle of all of this, Sam showed up to crash here for most of the week. It has been such a joy to get to spend time with him! The best part so far happened the other afternoon. I was putting away some laundry, and I heard my son’s voice in his bedroom across the hall. Brian left Sunday to head back to GWU for his final two months of college! It was Sam in Brian’s bed; the two friends were Skyping, hatching up a plan to travel to Europe after graduation. More details on that exciting possibility as the specifics develop! I stopped in to say hi to them, truly happy for their presence in my life.
Tonight, a few of Sam’s Geneseo friends will be joining us for supper. I haven’t done much entertaining lately, what with no kitchen and 3 feet of snow on the ground. But it didn’t take long for me to figure out what I can manage in my makeshift basement studio cooking space. I am going to cook up a big pot of tomato sauce and some pasta, good bread, and one of my famous, fabulous, arugula salads.
If you follow me on Insta, or if you’ve ever had a meal in my house, you’ve met my salads. We have them almost every night. Over the years, they morph; today I am giving you my current version.
This recipe functions as a basic template; change the type of leaf, vinegar, oil, nut, fruit, and cheese and you will be able to create an endless variety of wonderful salads.*
Right now, I am using supermarket prewashed baby arugula. But when I can get greens from the farm market, they are my first choice. I am a fan of the salad spinner for cleaning and drying greens. When I am at the beach and don’t have the spinner, I wash leaves in a big bowl and then put them in a pillowcase. I go outside and do my helicopter imitation; I love watching the droplets fly in the sunlight as my lettuce gets dry! Then I pop the pillowcase, greens enclosed, into a plastic bag until supper. All kinds of leaves store well, washed, wrapped in a cloth inside plastic.
12 oz baby arugula
¼ cup white balsamic vinegar
¼ cup good xv olive oil
1 tbs. agave or honey
1/3 cup crumbled Roquefort
1/3 cup toasted pistachios
1/3 dried tart cherries
salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Choose a beautiful salad bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients with extra space for tossing. Put the arugula into the bowl, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and then drizzle the vinegar, oil and agave over the leaves. Toss gently but thoroughly to coat all the greens with the dressing. Then arrange the other ingredients over the top. Bring the bowl to the table and toss once again just before serving.
mixed baby lettuces, romaine, butter lettuce…fresh herbs
good aged balsamic vinegar
walnut or almond oil
stilton, aged parmesan, smoked gouda, goat cheese or good feta
tricolor raisins, dates, fresh apple, fresh pear, or orange segments
This salad makes a full meal with the addition of some extra protein. I often make supper out of salad with some grilled chicken for me, steak for Bob and half an avocado each. A piece of roasted salmon or halibut is nice on top of salad as are some sauteed shrimp, baked tofu, or fried eggs. And a plate of salad with stuffed mushrooms is just wonderful!