It’s certain that fine women eat/ A crazy salad with their meat. William Butler Yeats
Or instead of their meat. I have always liked those lines of poetry. Norah Ephron liked them too and way-back-when, I read Crazy Salad, her collection of essays about, fittingly, women. Ephron is the one who said, “Writing is how I make sense of everything that happens to me.” But try as I might, oh sainted Nora, to write my way through this calamitous week of dinners, I cannot tell you why some meals fall flat, while others soar. To answer that question, and to solve various other domestic puzzles, I need Sherlock.
Tell me you are all watching this season. BFF Jesse and I thought our devotion to Benedict Cumberbatch was a sign of our good breeding and quirky taste, but mobs of wailing strumpets are stalking him all over England and as it happens, most people, regardless of gender, are likewise slaves to his pallid charms. It’s sad really, to find out you’re ordinary, just as Moriarty so cruely (and in that peculiar, annoying accent) accused Sherlock of being in that tense, memorable scene last season…
Oh! But back to food! So, we at Chez Marycake have endured several days of beastly bad meals. My lasagna had unacceptable mouthfeel, the Dover Sole tasted like cat food (the cat agreed) and there was another atrocity in there that I blocked out. Cooking for your loved ones can be demoralizing on the best of days and to paraphrase the Queen, (Elizabeth II, not Latifah) “I do not look back on the events of the last week with undiluted pleasure” (at least not the culinary events, some other nice things have transpired).
All this failure has sent me running, penitent, back into the arms of “Mexican Night,” a sure win at my house. So tonight it’s avocadoes and homemade pico de gallo (Easy! Whir the following in your food processor: a can of drained, fire-roasted tomatoes, one bunch of cilantro, one shallot, the juice of one lime, a dash of salt and a jalepeno with seeds and ribs removed) but I shudder to think of the minefield of culinary troubles that is the remainder of the week.
While desperately paging through one of my scrawled notebooks of food ideas and other oddments, I found a little recipe that I remember throwing together out of what was around at the time and Eaters, it was tasty. It’s healthy and easy, though perhaps not as hearty as I would like. I find that as much as I enjoy quinoa, it doesn’t keep me full for long. However, my inability to sustain satiety is legendary; pay me no mind. I have decided to pronounce this a main dish salad, provided you eat enough of it. I can hear all those paleo-dieters weeping right now, and by all means, feel free to substitute this entire dish with say, a steak, but I think this Crazy Salad is more interesting (and maybe y’all wouldn’t be so weepy if you ate some carbs).
Cook one cup of quinoa, any color, according to package instructions, with half a boillon cube added to enhance flavor. I like Rapunzel brand.
After the quinoa has cooled a bit, add as much parsley as you can bear, then:
some chopped dates or apricots,
pumpkin seeds or other nut of your choice,
olive oil and a dash of salt to taste.
This salad is not guaranteed to please your children or drive a man wild, but it could keep a fine lady happy for an evening. Have it while you devour the latest episode of Sherlock, at least one of them is a main dish.