"There's only one hard and fast rule in running: sometimes you have to run one hard and fast."

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

In Which Steve Makes a Salad

Riveting subject, I know.

Having pneumonia during a flu epidemic has meant being in quarantine until I can get a flu shot. After a week at home, watching my neighbors rake my leaves out of their yards, I had run out of things to eat and had to make a trip to buy groceries. For those who aren't from the Twin Cities, we make up for terrible weather by having the world's best grocery stores. And I can turn the most mundane thing into an adventure.

I went to my favorite Asian market and saw that they had mizuna (spider mustard) and tah-tsai (a spicy kind of Chinese cabbage), so I had the idea of making a version of Mesclun. This was a spicy combo, so I thought to cool it with mint; I have catnip, mountain mint and bergamot still fresh in my yard and I could add dandelions, as long as I was foraging in my lawn. I then headed to another grocer, where I picked up a fennel bulb with the feathery leaves attached (I'd use the greens and save the bulb for something else), plus some parsley and dill. Then I got the idea of fines herbes and added tarragon and chives - fresh chervil being hard to find, impossible in Minnesota at Halloween.

One more grocer and I had my arugula and watercress, plus some frisee' and lacinato (dinosaur kale). This was already a $30 salad, so I headed home.

I picked the last green leaves in my yard, then cleaned and mixed the greens. It was heavy on pungent, bitter and spicy notes, so it needed to be rounded out and I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar (for sweet and sour) and a sprinkle of sea salt.

It was awful.

Had you going though, didn't I?


Glaven Q. Heisenberg said...

Had you going though, didn't I?

Yes. Because as soon as I saw this line:

I drizzled some extra virgin olive oil

I thought, "He's been stuck at home with pneumonia for a week. By the end of this post, he's gonna eff that so-called 'virgin' olive oil and then brag about it."

But you didn't.

Couldn't close the deal, huh?

Next time, use Extra Whoo-wer-y Olive Oil. (It's the only kind we have here in Joisey.) Even YOU will get some that way.

SteveQ said...

EXTRA virgin, G., the safety seal on the bottle's extra thick.

Anonymous said...

LOL - "This was already a $30 salad, so I headed home."

That's why I read this blog :)

Jean said...

You definitely had me going! I was expecting another triumph from Steve's Evil Kitchen! :)

I hope you are feeling better. Take care!

wildknits said...

You had me wondering how it you would end up turning those ingredients into something edible.

And why, if you were in quarantine you were out shopping!

Seasonal flu shot may be of some help... H1N1 is here already, by the time the vaccine is distributed and we all qualify for it (most of us are low on the priority list) we'll be through the current outbreak.

But now I want to know where the good asian markets are! We lost ours in Duluth and the Wildknits family needs some kim chee - preferably a gallon jar of same (yes, it is a staple around here), and nori and... well, it is hard to have lost the First Oriental Grocery Store.

Carl Gammon said...

Wow, for a minute I was thinking you've been watching too many chef competition shows while stuck at home.

As for me, I prefer a simple honeymoon salad.

Honeymoon salad? You know... lettuce alone!

SteveQ said...

Lisa, what choice did I have? I was out of food and live alone; even food deliveries would break quarantine.

Don't know asian markets in Duluth, but there must be a Whole Foods - they'd have nori and kim chee, I'm sure.

wildknits said...

No asian markets in Duluth - and no whole foods as in the commercial grocery vs our co-op. They do not dabble in the quantity of kim chee we are talking (gallon jars).

I know - the problem with quarentines (worked on this issue during a clinical rotation with St. Louis Co. Health Department at the height of the Bird flu pandemic scare) is how to get foods and medicines to people!

You must be on the mend though... see you at Murph?