notes from maggie's farm
Well, it's mid-year, and by no means a surprise, it's hot as Hades.
It's the dog days of summer, and I, and likely, you, don't have the time, the energy, or the inclination to spend my days in the kitchen whipping up a hot and heavy meal. What we need is easy, healthy, simple dishes, but all still filling and flavorful. I think we've got a few delicious answers.
Years ago, a friend of mine, Mark, a confirmed bachelor, stood in the middle of his ill-equipped kitchen and promised me that odd melange of ingredients he was chopping and throwing into a (chipped, quite ugly, bachelor-like) bowl would become a salad of which I'd eat bowls and bowls.
It had been a staple on his mother's weekly menus, and he, though previously a self-avowed non-cook, was flirting with vegetarianism, and discovered that his pubs and pizza joints weren't as veg-friendly as restaurants are these days. He'd have to...gasp!...prepare a few of his own meals! So, though he still hoped his mother would indulge his cravings occasionally, this it was this particular salad for which he eventually broke down and begged the recipe.
I've made a few adjustments (since I simply cannot abide that 'salad dressing' stuff), added only the scallion greens, not the whites, and sliced the cauliflower instead of chopping it finely, but Mark was right. Since that time, I've eaten bowls and bowls full of the stuff. I make giant batches of it, and eat it for days. It's an amazingly delicious combination that even the man of this house is delighted to find in the fridge. And with only four ingredients, I bet it will become a favorite go-to for you, also, when light and healthy is the order of the day, or a summer dinner party begs the question, what to bring? It's really laughingly simple--
Remove the outer leaves from a medium head of cabbage. Holding by the stem, slice in 1/4" thicknesses from outer edge to core. Turn a quarter turn and slice to core, again. Repeat for remaining sides, until only core is remaining. If desired, very thinly slice, or chop, the tender parts of core, leaving the woody end for the compost pile.
Toss with one (approximately) four ounce can of sliced ripe olives, drained, and one bunch of scallions, sliced down to, but not including, the whitest ends. (Reserve those for this ingenious idea.)
Toss that all together with enough mayonnaise (I've used Helmanns and homemade mayo before, but feel free to use your favorite--even a low-fat or fat-free version) to bind the ingredients. Depending upon the size of your cauliflower, between 1/2 to 1 cup will do. You may wish to finish with salt and pepper or a little lemon juice, but, truly, as much as I love all three, I find it unnecessary. Why gild the lily? It's really a perfect marriage of 4 rather simple ingredients.
Let it rest in the fridge for an hour or two before serving, to allow the flavors to 'bloom'. Then, ...
Be sure to join us all week for our favorite (and perhaps soon to be your's too!) fresh, simple, lovely summer salads as we do our best to beat the heat and suffer through these record-breaking temps together.
Tomorrow, we'll be In the Garden, for your July to-do list, too. Are you beginning to reap what you've sown? We're up to our ears in peppers, kale, cucumbers, and tomatoes, as well as a few other lingering goodies, and we'll have squash, okra, and beans filling up the baskets in no time at all. It may be hot, but these gorgeous veggies are worth the sweat-equity. And could that possibly be thunder I hear?