Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Suitor Salad

I woke up with an emotional hangover and the powerful urge to make pancakes. After standing up from feeding the cats, I noticed Julia Childs, with her curly hair and crooked neck, smiling back at me. She was framed in a vintage book store orange cover, and her eyes squinted and sparkled like a monk a state of spiritual fulfillment.

Outside of the kitchen their is a world of choose-your-own-adventure stories to pick from. Now and then I find myself wandering down the path of unpleasant endings, and I have to flip back the pages and start over again on a new track.
I look for flour, but we have none. Instead I find a box of whole grain pasta, and feel inspired to make salad.

The kitchen is full of miracles. It is a place where thoughts can be set aside and my senses can have a turn at being heard. Now and then my mind tries to talk over my senses, saying 'oh no, that will never work, mayonnaise with sesame oil?' But the toasted aroma seduces me and soon I am the servant of my senses again. The vibrant colors of purple cabbage and bright green leeks call me to surrender my pride like the returning suitor who shows up with a dozen roses, hat in hand.

The salad:
Cook 1/2 box of whole grain omega healthy pasta. Rinse it and allow it to cool. Sprinkle with salt, soy sauce, or ume plum vinegar (I prefer the vinegar). Add 1 1/2 leeks chopped small. Add 1/4 red cabbage and 2 cups of sliced grape tomatoes.

The dressing: I wondered if it would work to make my own mayonnaise using toasted sesame oil. After starting the process I realized that pure toasted sesame oil would be too strong. The dressing turned out to be delicious. Here is what I did, exactly: I started with 2 egg yolks in my mini food processor (using the blade attachment). I whipped them with 1 clove of garlic, 1/2 tsp rice vinegar and 3/4 tsp of mustard powder. Slowly, I drizzled in 2 tsp toasted sesame oil. I then added vegetable oil, a tsp at a time, whipping the dressing in between each tsp. As it started to solidify, I started adjusting the flavor. I added lemon juice (1 tsp) and cider vinegar (1 tsp). I added some salt and a touch of sugar. It still wasn't quite right. I added a touch of brown miso paste, and ahhhhh delicious!

Christina's vote: "This salad gave me a willingness to listen"

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