Thursday, October 30, 2014

Word Salad

This afternoon, I am sitting in an area coffee shop with the intention of working, but as I scroll through the images in the photo files of my laptop and flip through the notebook of scribbled recipe notes, my mind is just a jumbled word salad. There are so many stories and recipes that I want to share with you all, but my brain is screaming with an unintelligible jumble of words. Nothing makes sense on its own. Ideas are flowing freely, but not fluently.

Did you know that I visited Chicago last fall and have since been working on perfecting my own homemade deep dish pizza? Did you know that a good dog toy lasts about a week with Nilla, and a bad toy lasts mere minutes? Did you know that since posting my tried and true homemade pasta sauce, of which I can quarts and quarts each year, I have found a roasted tomato pasta sauce that might rival it? Will my dryer finish the drying cycle, or is the temperature gauge indeed on the fritz? Did you know that I once again volunteered at the Antiques Roadshow...this time in Albuquerque? Did you know that I brought home 20 pounds of freshly roasted New Mexico green chiles (That was an aromatic drive across several states.) and have a profound love of green chile cheeseburgers (of course, with an egg, if I have the option)? Does anyone appreciate political campaign phone calls? Did you know that there isn't a day that passes without me scrolling through the Zappos app on my phone looking for the perfect 3/4 height boot? I didn't buy new Halloween costumes for Tabby and Jenn because you really can't top dachshunds dressed as hot dogs, can you? Did you know that I actually survived the food presentation at the Etc. Expo for Her and might have even enjoyed it a little (except for the poor quality of the presentation "kitchen")? Did you know that after 20+ years of marriage, last night, Hubs admitted that he may actually like pears...especially when I throw together a pear galette with warm caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream for dessert? Did you know that tomorrow is Halloween, and that I usually invite some of my friends who live in the country over for a casual dinner and to help pass out candy to my little ghouls, but just realized that I dropped the ball and haven't invited anyone? Did you know that I am addicted to candy corn? Did you know that the USPS has lost 2 (2!?!) of my packages within one year? Did you know that I have ground beef defrosted at home and no clue what I will be doing with it for supper? Did you know that there is a head of cauliflower in my fridge that was supposed to be a side with supper last night, but I forgot to cook it? Did you know that I haven't yet raked a single leaf from the yard, and it is driving me nuts? Do you know the best place to purchase durable, warm, white, fluffy, down alternative comforters? Mine is showing the effects of weekly washings to rid it of dog hair. Do you like fennel? I was recently surprised at how many people were turned off by the thought/taste/idea of a licorice-y flavored vegetable. Did you know that I came to the coffee shop today because the dust in my house has reached gas mask proportions, and instead of clean, I decided to try to blog (and drink a dirty chai)? (Maybe this is why I haven't invited anyone over for tomorrow?)

So...that is only a small sample of the random mixture of insanity in my brain. All of the frivolous craziness. I won't bore you with the real stuff that haunts me. We will keep it light. Just a Word Salad, not the main course.

However...word is that this Green Apple and Celery Salad is the word. Word. Salad.

I enjoyed this as a light, fall lunch, but think that it would be an elegant addition to a Thanksgiving menu. (It would even make ahead well...just toss the dressing over other ingredients prior to serving.) The crisp celery and green apples are pleasantly contrasting earthy and tart flavors. The sharp mustard vinaigrette lends a tangy balance to the salad. I can see this being a very welcome freshness in the middle of all the heavy mashed potatoes, roasted squash, stuffing, gravy, and turkey weighing down the upcoming holiday table. Word. Salad.

(adapted from Bon Appetit)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
5 teaspoons honey
2/3 cup olive oil

1 large bunch celery
2 large Granny Smith apples
1/4 cup fresh parsley
3/4 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Add first 4 ingredients in a small mason jar.
Secure the lid and vigorously shake to combine.
Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Slice celery thinly on the diagonal. (My microplane made quick work of both this slicing and the thinly sliced apples.)
Core and thinly slice the apples. (Peel, if desired, but I didn't.)
Chop the parsley.
Combine celery, apples, parsley, and walnuts in bowl.
Toss with dressing to thoroughly coat.
Season with salt and pepper. (Serves 8.)

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