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November 09, 2011: Salad Dreams & Copper

November 9, 2011

There’s a little boy on my front stoop. The strong, low angle of the Autumn sun filters through his blond lashes to light his beautiful young face, so light in color, that it almost hurts to look at him. Harrison is 5 years old, and his mouth is slightly smudged with the chocolate donut with sprinkles he is munching. Alternate to his bites, he is gulping from a small container of milk that he cradles with two hands and this makes me wonder at what point in our life do we gain the confidence to grasp our containers with the one hand, and what measure of innocence do give up along with that particular transition.

Lisa, Harry’s mom, has surprised me with a spontaneous visit, just when I thought the highlight of the day was to reduce a pile of wood, from fallen trees of last weekends’ storm, to kindling. She has kindly brought donuts and coffee, junk food that is, these days, almost devoid from my diet. As we soak in the unseasonable warmth and sunlight, Harry, way ahead of the adults meandering, has wolfed down the donut and is sorting through the limestone gravel of my driveway and proclaims that he has found “gold”…actually a yellowed, weathered piece of limestone. This prompts an impulse that sends me inside to search my nick-nack shelf and I am pleased to find a genuine piece of raw copper that I can hand over to Harry with the explanation of the difference of the two metals. Harry pockets both the limestone and copper in his red fleece.

We walk around back, first to see a pile of wood from the huge branches that fallen around, and through my deck. Kind neighbors have helped clear the branches from the deck, but the devastation remains. Harry, weirded out by the wreckage, will not step upon the remains of the deck, despite our assurances that it is safe…now. Remembering how just a few nights earlier, when both oak and pine fell inches from where I was sleeping, with massive destruction, and after a night of worrying that a larger branch would squash me like a bug, I get Harry’s hesitation.

Harry has a goal today: he is on a quest to find a particular “Ninjago” an obscure (to me anyway) Lego toy and we are off to Target. Now, I must have been in a Target before, but I really don’t remember a better time shopping anywhere. I tease Lisa that I have the best times in her company, and it is a double pleasure when Harry is along. I don’t know what I find more entertaining: Lisa being startled by the automatic toys firing up as we pass by, or Harry’s ease and knowledge of how they work.

It is a kind of relief to find that the original recipes that I make for this blog, come from a familiar source. Whether a good photograph idea, a recipe, and even these days, that story idea, it’s all from  that creative essence that comes in quiet times. Running, a shower, the dreaming fugue just before sleeping, spark the source and ideas just flow. The other night, before sleeping, I was musing how I could use the last of the supplies from my friend Pamela. The salad just had to have Pam’s canned beet slices and her magnificent find from her CSA: Watermelon Radish. Musing, the recipe just coalesced in my mind.

I had a shopping list for materials for the salad, still just in my imagination, without any real means to buy them. Between rounds of tag around endcaps with Lisa and Harry, Lisa put a basket in my hand and shooed me off towards the food aisles to “get what I needed” and the salad, thanks to her kindness, could then reach the reality phase.

After, we were off to the Wayside candy store. I helped Harry get his rainbow dose of multi-colored M&Ms, Lisa got some penuche fudge, and I, on my quest for the perfect soft licorice, tried theirs. We then tried to walk in for lunch at the Wayide Inn, but being a warm Autumn weekend, we were out of luck. We had to settle on pizza and eggplant parmesan at a local pizza shop (more junk food!) A perfect visit, on a perfect Autumn day!

For the salad, preheat the oven to 350°F. On tin foil, roast walnuts, turning often, for about 20-30 minutes, until toasted. Cool. On a base of Baby Spring Mix salad, I added slices of Pam’s beets and Watermelon Radish. I had never heard of this radish before, until Pam brought me some from her CSA. This radish is delicate in taste, without the heat of our smaller radish, but with enough zip for a unique addition to a salad. It’s got just the tiniest bite, a real snap in texture and is very pretty. Just remove the skin and slice thin. I topped the salad with craisins, chunks of blue cheese, and the toasted walnuts. I finished with the following vinaigrette and ground pepper and a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence.

Vinaigrette:  Add 1 Tblsp. Balsamic Vinegar to 3 Tblsp. Olive oil and 1 Teasp. Honey. Mix well.

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3 comments

  1. Sounds delicious! Thanks for commemorating the day in writing, it was fun to read this and get a new recipe to boot.


  2. What a lovely day you had with Lisa and Harry! I’m glad you weren’t hurt in that awful storm, though I’m sorry that your lovely back deck was damaged.


  3. This looks delicious!! A perfect fall salad.



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