Monday, June 06, 2005

Be Careful What You Bring Home

DH is down in Orlando at something called the ASTD Conference. I am not sure exactly what that is but it sounds like they are discussing sexually transmitted diseases. No, that couldn't be right. I just checked out the web site for ASTD and this conference will apparently assist DH in "achieving his strategic goals and attaining excellence promoting workplace learning and performance in his organization." (borrrr-RINGGGG!)

I have a feeling that some conventioneers may have the "strategic goal" of visiting DisneyWorld, Universal Studios or any of the other delightful entertainments Orlando has to offer. DH and I have eaten our way through EPCOT, Disney and most of the Orlando attractions many times so that isn't a big draw for us. DH was much more excited about networking with other corporate trainers and picking up new ideas to share with his team than battling la tourista at attractions. (or so he says)

Former Mayor Rudy Giulliani was the scheduled leadership speaker this morning and DH was eager to get a seat up front so he said he was going to get to the convention center an hour early. If I had gone along, I would have spent the days alone shopping and lounging about eating bon bons but I needed to stay home with the wee Dirty Harry who is too old to go to the kennel. He has good days and not so good days and I will not leave him with anyone else. He's kept me company for 15 years so I shall be by his side as needed. Poor guy gets frantic without at least one his humans to attend him.

Last night, I just had a salad for dinner. Well, a salad and many glasses of wine. I didn't need to cook or play wifey and it was dreary and rainy so no need to go anywhere. I like a good salad and DH, in W4D mode, turns up his nose at just a salad for dinner. When the cat's away, the mice will play and for me, that means eating a big ole salad if I wish.

I love a good spinach salad. they are really easy to make if you have the ingredients on hand. For my basic spinach salad you need:

-- about 5 large mushrooms per person
-- one hard boiled chopped egg per person
-- two rashers of crispy cooked bacon per person
---- ( a "rasher" is a strip of bacon)
-- about 2 cups of loosely packed, freshly washed and dried spinach

Slice it all up nicely as shown below. Sometimes I will add a purple onion or herbs but I really like best, a salad just as listed above. However, feel free to personalize your own plate.

The secret of a good salad is the dressing. For spinach salad, I like a good basic French vinaigrette. Everyone raves about my basic vinaigrette and I have no idea why for it is the basic recipe that I probably scarfed from Julia's cookbook thirty odd years ago when I became interested in cooking. This is how I make it:

Combine 2 TBSP good wine vinegar with 1 tsp of prepared, quality Dijon mustard. Add about 1/2 tsp of salt, 1/4 tsp of freshly grated pepper (please do not use canned pepper, yuck!) all in a non metallic bowl. Trust me on the bowl part and use glass or ceramic. Stir it up and then whip it, whip it good, with your small kitchen whisk. If you don't own a cute little whisk, use a fork with long tines.

Once you have made a nice blend of all the above ingredients, you are going to slowly, very sloooow-ly, add 1/2 cup of the best olive oil you can find. (Don't buy cheap olive oil or try to use that salad oil crap. Always buy the best virgin olive oil that you can find and afford. Quality ingredients make quality food.) Back to the recipe... add the olive oil in a tiny, thin stream beating with the whisk until it makes a creamy emulsion as you add the oil. This should take several minutes if you do it right. If the dressing starts to separate, you are adding oil too fast. My recipe for basic vinaigrette makes a piquant, creamy dressing that is much better than shaking the ingredients in a bottle. Sheesh. Whisk, drink some wine, enjoy the creation. Do not shake!

Let the dressing sit for at least 30 minutes before you use it. I like to add some very finely minced garlic to my dressing for spinach salad. If you wish to vary my recipe, try adding lemon juice for all or part of the vinegar, or 1/2 tsp of curry powder, or a tsp of very finely grated sweet onion, or a couple of anchovy filets that have been pushed through a sieve or even a couple of hard boiled, sieved eggs if your salad does not have eggs already in it.

One last tip for spinach salad, I always dress the greens separately from the toppings. I think that's a personal choice since I don't like wet eggs or soggy bacon.

There you have my Sauce Vinaigrette that everyone raves about. You can adjust the recipe to include sesame oil and ginger, or hot sauce, or Worcestershire, but the basic recipe is the springboard. Start with it and your friends will always ask you to bring a salad.

Here's a photo of my finished spinach salad.

Spinach Salad
Originally uploaded by flaurella.

No doubt DH wishes he had one of my salads than the rubber convention chicken, gray veggies and cardboard bread he had last night but we all must make sacrifices. Should he bring home anything other than STD reports or STD training tools, no doubt you will read about his demise and my conviction in the papers and this blog will be history.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Its hard work at the conference, each session is always on the other end of the building and this building is huge with 10k folks running around with yellow bags and tags (bag buddies)its tough work. Its not boooring as you would think lots of ideas and new stuff to share.W4D