Do you ever find that the best-tasting meals are the ones that you throw together somewhat haphazardly and creatively? It happened today. I was home alone for lunch. (I know that you mothers with children in the house will read that with a shake of the head. Your day will come.) I looked around in the kitchen and rejected the usual grilled cheese sandwich with store-bought bread and square processed cheese. I rejected the bowl of Campbell's over-salty tomato soup. And instead I made a salad.
Here, I should post a picture of my salad, but alas! It is eaten. And in my enthusiasm for it, I forgot you and your camera-dependent eyes. Let me describe it: I began with leftover lettuce from last night's supper. I rinsed and spun it in the spinner that still sat in the dish dryer, so handy. I chose a pretty plate. I grabbed a whole tomato. Both the lettuce and tomato were reduced at the grocery, so I felt clever to be eating them so soon. Then, oh my! I would want a boiled egg on my salad, so I must begin that immediately. A farm-fresh brown egg went into water, was covered, and I turned again to my tomato. I prefer them diced, not wedged, in a salad. Last night, Adam asked if I wanted any of the very leftover stinky cheese (some sort of soft brie/blue blend) on my salad, and I'd declined. It was a good cheese, creamy, not too strong. But now, alone in the kitchen? Feeling adventurous and creative? Sure, I said to myself. I'll have some.
I carved off about half of the cheese wedge, removed the thin rind, and crumbled it with my hands on the tomatoes. This was fun. I hoped it would be good, because if it's bad, it will be a strong bad. A decent bottle of poppyseed dressing sat on the bottom refrigerator shelf as well, also reduced and neglected. I dolloped it on the cheese and waited for my egg. In my enthusiasm, and since waiting is tiresome, I grabbed a very old jar of sliced peaches from the deep recesses of the frig. It was hard to open because it was frozen shut! The syrupy liquid was also frozen around the four or five peach slices in the bottom of the jar. Well, if it's been frozen, they're probably not rotten, I thought, and emptied them into a bowl to accompany my salad.
Then the egg boiled. I let it sit, covered for five minutes, which was all the patience I possessed. It was too fresh to peel easily, in spite of adding salt (which our local egg men say solves this problem) and in spite of covering it immediately with ice water. However, sliding a silver spoon inside the shell, and pressing its bowl against the underside of the shell, is a fine way of scraping all the egg out, if you don't mind too much how it looks.
The salad was stupendous. The cheese lent a lovely flavor and texture to the other, blander items. Why don't I do this more often? I asked myself. I polished off the plate, the peaches, and a glass of grape juice, and was immensely satisfied. My mouth tasted good. I didn't brush my teeth for several hours, as the flavors of the poppyseed, tomato, and the blue cheese romanced each other on my palate.
It began with rejecting the ordinary, and grabbing the leftovers. Let's all have a more adventurous attitude toward our kitchens.