I am a creature of habit. When it comes to food, I know what I like and what I don’t. I know what tastes good, what tastes meh and what I would rather leave on the shelf. Lately, I’ve been having a lot of working lunches. Don’t confuse that sentence for white table cloths and artfully arranged centerpieces or anything. My working lunch consists of a stack of folders, a ream of papers, my laptop and a salad with a side of popcorn on my dining room table. Seated next to me, my tote bag, erupting with additional folders, pens, magazines and power cords. I’ve got my slippers on and my jewelry off, with a half of a paper towel tucked under my keyboard to catch wayward crumbs. It’s all very high end, CEO level lunching over here.
While I would much rather have lunch out with friends or even lunch in, for that matter, I’m grinding, grinding, grinding. The school year is coming to a close, so I’m coordinating the schedule for the summer. I’ve got a folder for that, stuffed with finished applicatoins, calendars from the respective camps, brochures for camps for next season and the like. I’m working on consolidating my presence on the Internet and trying to brand myself. I’ve got a folder for that. There’s the packet on how to maneuver through Google Analytics (which is taking years off my life). There’s the packet on how to use Bit.ly and Buffer. There’s the packet my awesome social media consultant put together to keep me on task (it’s like a social media syllabus).
I’m writing, writing, writing. I’ve got a folder for that. Several drafts of my book are wedged between spreads of illustrations. There are post it notes reminding me to send out drafts to the editor, to
revise write an “About the Author” paragraph, narrow down who will be included in the dedication.
I’m working on my photography. I’ve got a folder for that. I recently received an order from SmugMug that included over 150 prints that I plan to put in albums. See, I’ve got photo albums from elementary school, one for every year of high school, one to two for every year of college, and one to two for every year after that. It’s a lot. I also have several photos boxes (9) to hold the photos that don’t make it into the albums. When I took V’s photo in for her birthday, I realized I couldn’t remember that last time I put a picture of her in an album. I pulled out the latest one and the last picture was from that time V came home from the hospital. Ooops.
I’m blogging, blogging, blogging. I’ve got a folder for that. My hand written notes dividing each post into a specific category book-end a ream of paper that it is the sum total of all the posts I’ve ever published. Per my father’s urging, I’m trying to select my favorite as well as most well received posts for a collection of essays. Easier said than done. As I’ve amassed all manner of working implements, I’ve constructed an improbable wall around myself comprised of my favorite books, my dog-eared planner, several electronic devices and cords, three magazines that I’m planning to read, two catalogs that I want to peruse and 1 sweating bottle of water.
There’s just enough room to slide my salad plate in so I can fork baby lettuces and avocado into my mouth. Lately, I’ve been munching on my old tried an true of baby lettuces, grape tomatoes, red onion and grilled chicken drizzled with garlic infused dressing. Dinner the other night was taco night at our house, so lunch the next day was an amalgamation of the usual salad and the Mexican leftovers. What I’m craving, though, is the simple clean taste of the house salad from Can-Can Brasserie. I was talking to Jessika over at “Oh My Goji” about it last week and have had a taste for it ever since. Just thinking about the shallots and the slight bite of vinegar couples with the sweet crunch of sliced grapes is enough to get my mandibles tingling. I’ve tried to duplicate it myself, to no avail. It’s not the ingredients that fail me, it’s the dressing. Some kind of oil, vinegar, shallot, and maybe champagne concoction? There’s an herb that I’m missing, I think. I have no idea and all of my iterations have fallen short. Guess that means I need a field trip to Can-Can to sate this palate!
In the mean time, try your hand at a simliar recipe and tell me what you think. Happy Friday, y’all!
Butter Lettuce Salad with Champagne and Shallot Vinaigrette
Use the best-quality ingredients you can find to prepare this simple salad, which combines butter lettuce and fresh herbs with a Champagne and shallot vinaigrette. A garnish of chive blossoms adds a splash of color.
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup Champagne or Prosecco
- 1/4 cup Champagne vinegar
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 heads butter lettuce, larger leaves torn, smaller leaves left whole
- 2 Tbs. snipped fresh chives, tips and blossoms reserved for garnish (optional)
- 2 Tbs. snipped fresh tarragon
In a small bowl, whisk together the shallot, olive oil, Champagne and vinegar. Season the vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
In a serving bowl, combine the lettuce, chives and tarragon. Toss with as much of the vinaigrette as needed to evenly coat the salad. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the chive blossoms and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Cooking for Friends, by Alison Attenborough and Jamie Kimm (Oxmoor House, 2008).