Tuesday, October 04, 2005

Raising The Threat Level

Sometimes I fear I am raising a terrorist. Odd Toddler, who is getting closer and closer to the Terrible Twos all the time, steadfastly refused to take his 11:30am nap today. We have a routine around here, and we rarely deviate from it. He ate two YoBaby yogurts at 11:00, snuggled with me for a couple of minutes in the rocking chair, and then lay down in his crib to take his nap. Instead of sleeping though, he fussed. For an entire hour. I tried to work but couldn't. I finally gave up and got him out of bed.

Without an adequate amount of sleep, Odd Toddler is nearly impossible to get along with. Today was no exception. Since I couldn't work, I did the only thing I know to do when I feel stressed out. I cooked. Through endless temper tantrums (most of them from Odd Toddler), I made baked macaroni and cheese from scratch, steamed some broccoli and cauliflower, and made Toffee Bars.

The highlight of The Day That Would Never End was when Yolie brought over a bag stuffed with fresh mesclun from her garden. She read yesterday's blog about my salad dressing fixation and so she brought new inspiration to me. I vaguely remember reading something recently about which types of vinaigrette recipes to use for bitter greens and which to use for more simply-flavored lettuces but of course the gist of it was lost. Since Odd Toddler was too busy wrecking the house and pitching hissy fits, I didn't exactly find the time to go upstairs to my office and do an internet search.

I pulled down my 1968 Southern Living Salads cookbook and was chagrined to find not one single recipe for vinaigrette. A few other cookbooks had recipes that were far too complicated for what I had in mind, and many recipes called for ingredients I didn't have on hand. In frustration I nearly gave up. But then it occured to me to try developing my own vinaigrette recipe.

Mesclun is a mix of spicy, peppery, slightly bitter greens and so it probably would have done best with a simple drizzle of olive oil and the merest dash of vinegar, but that just isn't how I work. I fiddled and I tasted, and I added and I tasted, and I adjusted and I tasted, and on it went until I found myself with a delightfully bold dressing that would have been perfect on a baby lettuce mix with some crumbled goat cheese.

Of course, that isn't the kind of salad I made. Instead, I served an incredibly aggressive salad topped with an overpowering vinaigrette. Such is life.

  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 4 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp hot sauce
  • 2 tsp honey
  • 1 Tbs chopped cilantro
  • 3/4 cup olive oil
  • Salt & pepper
  1. Whisk together the vinegar, mustard, garlic, hot sauce, honey and cilantro.
  2. Slowly whisk in the oil.
  3. Add salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Feed to toddler so that he will stop stomping his feet and wailing.

1 comment:

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