These are the Salad Days

by Rachel Crain on July 7, 2011 · 2 comments

in Salt Blog

See this picture of vegetables? It’s not what I wanted to post with this blog. I like it just fine. I took it right after doing the vegetable cleansing soak I told you about last time. And see those radishes up front? I pickled those a few weeks ago with lots of garlic and whole black peppercorns. They are tangy and crunchy and firey and garlicky enough to keep Dracula away. And regular humans might not want to share close talking secrets or kisses with you. The key limes you see to the right went into creamy lime bars with a pretzel crust for the pool party. You heard that right. I said pretzel crust. All the rest of the good eats in this photo went into a juicer and then over the lips and past the gums. But what I wanted to post here was my first ever shot-by-shot photo demonstration of a salad recipe but I don’t have the right tools to get down to that kind of serious blogging business yet. Alas, this is the photo I had and waiting on the tools I need to create the look I want has held up this new blog entry for long enough. Starting this blog and keeping it up with stories about food and life and unemployment and living in Las Vegas has been important to me so, as I’ve written about before, I am learning to make do with what I have rather than getting hung up on what I want. Speaking of such things I have news from the job search front lines.

The mysterious job offer at _____ was mysterious because it wasn’t really an offer and no job came out of it. One week after signing the paperwork that gets the hiring process started I still had not heard from the store manager to tell me exactly what I was being hired to do and when I would start. She did say it would take some time for the hiring paperwork to process so I decided to keep waiting. When two weeks passed without word from her I called the store and was transferred to her desk. She answered. I reintroduced myself to her and asked if there was still a place for me with her store. There were a few flustered mutterings of, “I’ve been on vacation. I just don’t know yet. I will get back to you,” before quickly ending the call. I never heard from her again.

It’s easy to say that I didn’t really want that job anyway and that would be true but the greater truth is that my constant prayer through out my job hunt has been that the right job would be opened up to me and the wrong job would be shut down against me. As frustrating, deflating, confusing and even scary as this job hunt has been I can still say that I am thankful that my constant prayer has been heard. I can send out my thirty-fifth and even fortieth resumés with complete confidence that I am exactly where I belong and being gently guided away from the places where I don’t. And so it is with that loving hand on my back that I go forward.

In the meantime there is lots to do with an entire summer ahead of me. I have a tan for the first time since I was a little kid. I’m in better physical shape than I have ever been in my entire life thanks to long, empty days and a gym membership. And thanks to tan shoulders and that gym membership I got to wear a pretty maxi-dress to dinner with my husband. I felt like the Queen of Summer in that dress, wearing it with the necklace he bought me on our first wedding anniversary. A puka shell necklace from the gift shop located at our camp site. Thanks to the gym I can also keep eating and eating and eating as I teach myself to cook with new recipes I discover every day. If you follow me on Facebook than you may have read about last Sunday’s fresh corn Johnny Cakes. Give me griddle cakes of any kind as long as they come with pools of melted butter swirling in hot maple syrup and I’m more than happy to run five miles on the elliptical again.

July in Las Vegas means we are more than 100-degrees high on the barometer and with that comes the summer monsoon season. The greatest downpour of rain I’ve seen here yet came rushing down from the sky on July 3rd and coated the air with a heavy, jungle-like humidity that is still hanging around four days later. (In the desert 20% humidity feels like a rain forest.) This will be my third summer here and I think I might actually be getting used to it. Check back with me in another month. If I haven’t started committing random criminal acts caused by heat rage than we should be in the clear. Las Vegas will be a pizza oven set far above the 110-degree mark every day by August. I love pizza ovens but only if thin crust and guys named Ronny Cammareri are involved.

When it’s this hot it’s time to take advantage of the fresh produce at your farmers markets and in your grocery stores and toss a couple of cool salads that don’t require the oven, stove or grill. Here are two that I made recently. They are fresh, easy and make for good leftovers the next day with your lunch.

Shaved Fennel Salad
I used julienned apples instead of zucchini and toasted, shaved almonds instead of pine nuts in this recipe. I served it with a salmon burger the night of and dressed a sandwich with it for lunch the next afternoon. I strained the salad of any dressing that pooled at the bottom before saving my leftovers to avoid it getting soggy overnight.

Raw Corn & Radish Salad
I didn’t follow this recipe exactly step-by-step. I combined the corn, radish, red onion and finely diced pepper in a medium salad bowl. I used cilantro instead of parsley and threw that in too along with salt and pepper. Instead of getting out my blender I used a small bowl to whisk the lime juice, honey, cumin and oil and then dressed the corn with it tossing it all together. I ate this on top of chicken fajitas the night of. Both made for great leftovers.


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Jess July 11, 2011 at 10:05 am

I’m in awe.


shannon July 17, 2011 at 7:18 am

You rock Rach! We have fennel in our garden! Ill use yer recipe when its time to harvest:)
Good luck with the interview!! I will say some prayers fer ya.
Pizza ovens-ugh! We’ve had a ton of rain here lately which has been awesome! It’s super green and pretty here! It does make it muggy though and I do prefer the dry heat to humid heat. That makes me feel sticky and grimey.


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