With life going crazy lately & tugging Joe & I into continually opposite schedules, with friends asking for dinners & adventures before they leave town for the summer or for good, with my habit of making overwhelming to-do lists for each day–I’m struggling to embrace the fact that it’s summer. That this is the time when I should be recovering from & preparing for the next stage of graduate school.
I’m making a very concerted effort to take things as they come & appreciate the simple things I accomplish through each day. I’m trying to slim down my to-do lists & minimize stress. I’ve been doing things I’m not usually very good at: being simple in the kitchen & allowing myself time with friends.
Now that the farmers’ market is in full summer glory, it is getting easier to simplify things in the kitchen. This week, we have all sorts of no-cooking-required ingredients, from radishes & salad turnips (for this salad, I hope) to snap peas & strawberries. Less stress in the kitchen: check.
I’ve put the kitchen to work a few times this week, finally making vegan brownies that we shared with two sets of friends–for an impromptu pizza night, then a long overdue dinner with another married couple in school here. It took a year for us to get together, but we made it–& just in time. She’s walking all over town in an effort to bring on Baby Number 2. I don’t know if it was brilliant planning on their part or wonderful luck, to have the baby born during summer vacation from school & right before temperatures skyrocket.
For our simple outdoor dinner, we shared soup, homemade bread & this salad that I’d been dying to recreate after having it at an event last Friday.
- 1 bunch of watercress, with the stems shortened to a manageable length
- 2 large navel oranges, sliced thin
- 1 “brick” of fresh goat cheese, like this local one I used (which was certainly not $14 at the store–crazy!), crumbled in your hands
Voilà! No, seriously. Toss the watercress & orange in a bowl, squeezing the orange a bit as you toss so that the juices are released. Then, take the little cheese log & break it up over the salad. Toss it around, again smashing it a bit to break it up & get it coating the leaves a bit. Enjoy. No dressing, oil or seasonings required.
While it looks delicate, watercress is a hearty, flavorful green that packs a punch nutrient wise. It has significant amounts of vitamins A & C, folic acid, calcium & iron–a great ingredient when you’re trying to decrease the grocery bill, cooking time & junk food intake.
Along with the salad, as I mentioned, I brought these vegan brownies–though there’s some debate about whether or not the stout is vegan; I used Bell’s, & I’m not sure where they stand in the vegan spectrum. The brownies were a big hit all around, even when people learned that black beans were a main ingredient. (Or maybe because they learned that black beans could justify a second piece?)
Happy Mother’s Day, Mom! We’re all children, even our moms with their children. Which is really nice, when you think about it.