I have had this post that I have been writing many times in my head.
Endings have been different. Beginnings have been different. The body of it has been written countless times at night in waves of consciousness at that point of sleep and awake from a mind that won't quit, but it has been lost in dreams, and erased by mornings. It has had many incarnations, and struggles with identity. It is always at the tip of my keys as I write, but I still can't entangle it from that inside part of me that keeps me hushed instead. It clutches that egg, and wants to sit on it forever, but it is a story I will soon have to tell before it blows me apart. This part of me throbs, and I consider it a very ugly part of my being. I'm sure we all have parts that are not for the public, but someday I will share. I hate to be so secretive, I'm sorry about that. I will gather the strength to write, I just have to hole myself up at the right time, and let the keys fly so I can let this beast go with the proper send off, instead of leaving bits of me behind in it's wake.
Sharing is tough, and I'm never really sure a public blog is the right format to let my family laundry dry. I do though, have this urge to write, and to have this platform. It is freeing in a way, and so much funner than a diary. I like writing. And I like sharing. Writing is the control that I crave. It is challenging, and routine. An assignment I give myself that I don't want to fail. So, I give my Sunday best, and push through those days that I don't feel like writing or sharing, like today.
So, since I am feeling a bit glum, indifferent, and flat out uninspired, I will share a recipe with you, which will help me feel better. I do love sharing this part of me, the part that feels light and airy. The Betty Crocker part. I am a kitchen hound by nature, and the coming of fall has pushed me elbow deep into recipe central.
I make this salad often, and add grilled chicken to it to make it a quick lunch. It is a simple prep, but if you are going to eat off of it for a couple days, keep the ingredients separate, and only put on the dressing right before eating it, because once mixed, it won't keep well.
1 Bag of mixed baby greens
1 Bag of hearts of romaine salad mix
2 Pears, cored, and diced
1/4 Cup crumbled Feta cheese
1 Avocado peeled, pitted, and diced
1 Bunch of scallions thinly sliced
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Pecans
1/3 Cup Extra virgin olive oil
3 Tbsp. Red wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp. Sugar
1 1/2 tsp. French's mustard or Grey Poupon if you like Dijon
1 Clove of garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste
In a skillet over medium heat, combine the 1/4 cup of sugar, and the 1/2 cup of pecans. Continue stirring and watching until the sugar has melted, and starts to caramelize the nuts. Then, give it a good stir to coat all the nuts, and remove from heat immediately. Don't leave the stove while cooking these, as the sugar will burn these babies faster than you can think of a word to vent your frustration. I have burnt them many times before by trying to multi task, but I beg you, for the sake of perfectly candied pecans, be bored for a couple minutes, and man the stove. Candied pecans done right will make your salad perfecto. Transfer the nuts right away onto waxed paper to cool. Do not let them cool in your pan, as they will become an expensive clump of bad words, and left to sulk and soak in the pan you thought you just ruined. Experience, my friends, experience.
Once the pecans have cooled, chop them into small pieces and set aside.
To make the dressing, blend all dressing ingredients in a blender. I like to make this ahead of time, at least 2-3 hrs before hand, so the flavors can mellow a bit before adding it to the salad.
In a large bowl, lay the lettuce down, and top it with the rest of the salad ingredients. Sprinkle with those gorgeous candied pecans you made, and drizzle it with the dressing. Give it a big stir, and serve. If you want to add an extra hint of fall, you might add a pinch of cinnamon to the sugar when you candy the pecans, and add a handful of dried cranberries to the salad. Add or subtract to your tastes, it's a very versatile salad.
My dad taught me a trick to dicing an avocado way back when I was a wee one. To dice an avocado, spilt it in half, and take out the pit. On each half, carefully take a knife and score it vertically, then horizontally to make a cross hatch pattern. Doing this with a butter knife will work just as well and can ease the anxiety of accidently puncturing one's self with one of it's sharper sisters. Ya know. Just, sayin'.
Then, take a spoon, and gently run it down the sides of the avocado, to gently scoop out the diced pieces. This part grosses me out since I don't like avocado at all, but I put it in because everyone else like it. One against the green doesn't win. Blech.
I hope you enjoy this salad. It makes it to holidays, birthdays, any days, at our house.
You can omit the avocado if you like.
I feel better now, thank you.