Sunday, April 29, 2012
spring picnic days
We had a spate of gorgeously sunny weather this past weekend. Even I, a devout rainy gray day lover, was lulled into happiness by the streaming sunshine. Yes, even living in Southern California the first warm spring days are cherished- leaving a certain giddy optimism in the air. On a Saturday morning walk with Harriet we stopped and sniffed roses and sweet peas; wished good morning to our neighbors and said hello to lots of other dogs (turns out, Harriet is a very social dog. She insists on it.)
In the afternoon, I baked a ham. The spur of the moment, post-Easter purchase fed us for a couple of days. Saturday evening, a large wedge accompanied us to dinner at a friends house. It was a casual, laid back supper of darn near perfection- our friends brought out a large cutting board on which we artfully arranged wedges of beautiful cheese, prosciutto, salami, small dishes of mustard, and different crackers. On the side, an arugula salad, a cold lemon basil pea salad and slices of the ham. It was such a happy little feast with friends and made me resolve to eat similarly more often.
The next day, I assembled the little plate above for my lunch: ham, smear of mustard, cornichons, Aknak crackers, narrow wedges of cheese, and a cabbage slaw. I enjoyed it in between loads of laundry and a run to Target. Not a glamorous day, but it was momentarily elevated by a thoughtful meal.
The cabbage slaw was quickly assembled in between errands. We recently began getting a weekly box of organic veggies. This weeks box included lovely little crowns of red cabbage and of green cabbage and a very young red onion (okay, so I do not know all the farming words, but the onion looked fresh and young, not old and worn out.)
The slaw recipe is from Alice Waters cookbook, "The Art of Simple Food." Our weekly veggie box has pushed me to a new understanding of eating seasonally and I confess that I now regularly consult Ms. Water's book for direction on fruits and vegetables new to me. Her writing is very approachable and conversational (see below.) Under her tutelage, I am learning about the importance of a good vinaigrette.
Tear off and discard the tough outer leaves of:
1 small cabbage
Cut into quarters and remove the core. Turn cut side down and slice crosswise into thin shreds.
Mix together in a large bowl with:
1/2 sliced red onion, sliced as thin as possible
Prepare a vinaigrette by mixing together:
1 tablespoon cider or wine vinegar
fresh-ground black pepper
Stir to dissolve the salt and then whisk in:
4 tablespoons olive oil
Taste for acid and salt and adjust as desired. Pour the dressing over the cabbage and onions and mix well. Taste again for salt and acid. Eat right away or let sit for awhile to let the flavors permeate and the cabbage soften.