Thursday, June 11, 2009

True Vocation Salad

I could have been a celebrity in the 4th grade. When I read the covers of magazines at the grocery store, the scandal, the drama, the NEED to have a small puppy to carry around with you everywhere you go, I think "I SO could have done that!" Here is an example:
In the fourth grade, I had a boyfriend named Dan (someday I may be famous enough to be required to use an alias..sorry Dan, I am not there yet). James found out that I was dating Dan and spread the rumor all over Ms. Berkholder's fourth grade classroom. Enraged when I found out about the "lie James was spreading" (which, of course, was actually true), I insisted in front of the whole class (right there, on the red carpet...of the hallway.. of the elementary school) that James was a liar. Then I reached into my knapsack, pulled out a sort of mushy orange that I had obtained from the lunchroom, and threw it at James forcing him to duck and mushy orange pulp to go sliding down the white painted wall. I pointed at him and, with tears welling up in my eyes (but not down my cheeks, I was totally prepared for the challenges of preserving makeup jobs) insisted that he was a selfish liar and that he was "just lying because he was jealous". Due to my little girl manipulative charm, Ms. Berkholder then rushed over to comfort ME. She took me into the classroom, and poor James was punished and forced to apologize. That story could have gotten me into at least 4 different little squares of grocery store magazine covers.

On our walk today, Christina and I talked about fame, and about dreams, and about how we would be no different famous than we are non-famous. Yet, still, we are compelled to imagine how life would be different if we took our physical bodies and dressed them up in different occupations. Something deeper lies beyond the garb of occupation. It is deeper than naked. It is the thing that drives a person to go on after they have retired or lost their ability to work, or after the layoff. It is what comes after the achievement of goals, when we stop chasing success, when we stop looking for better tools and start using the ones we have. It is our passion, it is the unique gifts we were given allowing us to be truly useful to each other, it is our vocation.

The man who grew the greens for this salad asked for nothing in return when he delivered them, by bike, to my doorstep. An academic and neuroscientist by occupation, he is a gardener by vocation.

To be honest, I had a hard time dressing this salad. The delicate greens melt in your mouth leaving the slightest tinge of spice on the palate so that you remember them when they are gone. The radishes are in harmony with the greens, delicate at first but bold and spicy once they have warmed to your tongue.

The dressing:
1 large slice of ginger (silver dollar sized and about 1/4 inch thick) peeled.
3 Tbsp olive oil
1 Tbsp canola oil
1 Tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
1/2 small nectarine or peach, peeled
(if using a nectarine add 1 tsp sugar)
1/2 Tbsp lemon juice
Blend in Cuisinart

Wash and fluff and pull apart into manageable bites some Italian greens (or a mix of baby mixed greens, arugula, mustard greens. Use whatever you can find, but make sure you have some bold and spicy flavors, remember this is our vocation we are talking about!)
Add some sliced radishes, the spicier the better!

Optional: garnish with baked salmon marinated in 4 Tbsp olive oil, 2 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 Tbsp soy sauce, 1 slice minced ginger, 1/4 shallot sliced. (I marinated for about an hour, but you could bake it right away). You can package the fish in foil and bake at 375 for about 20 min. This makes for a nice, non-dry, flavorful salmon. Let it cool before garnishing the salad and squeeze some lemon juice on top. The lemon juice actually has a molecule in it that combines with the "fishy tasting" molecule making it so that your taste buds don't register the fishy flavor. This is a good thing, because the part that tastes fishy is also a part that contains lots of omega 3 fatty acids.

Christina's vote "A proper salad!"

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