Thursday, August 21, 2003

Phew. I'm a little run down right now- the week before classes start is quite different from the no classes, no students time of the summer.

The past two nights have been salad nights. Tuesday was the warm goat cheese salad from A New Way To Cook. I was going to add the heirloom tomatoes from the Farmer's Market, but we wound up having company so I used the heirloom tomatoes to make bruschetta, which we ate standing up in the kitchen straight from the toaster oven. I am a classy hostess! The warm goat cheese salad was delicious- mesclun with the NWTC everyday vinaigrette, though I think next time I'll just make a regular vinaigrette. Sprinkle chopped tyme and fresh black pepper over goat cheese and bake at 350 for a few minutes until soft but not collapsing, and then divide it over portions of the salad. Simple and delicious. I skipped the black pepper since I was using peppercorn goat cheese. Ah, goat cheese.

Last night was caesar salad from the very intimidating Zuni Cafe Cookbook . The salad was not difficult at all, though Jeff was astonished at how many dishes salad could generate. Judy Rodgers would have been horrified to know that I used bagged TJ's romaine, and even more horrified to know that I used anchovies from a tin in olive oil instead of anchovies packed in salt (and I then saved the extra anchovies, knowing there was something I wanted to make that required anchovies, and now for the life of me cannot remember what, and do you have any idea how many recipes I've read lately? I have anchovies in my fridge and no clue what I wanted to do with them). Had Judy Rodgers known that I had contemplated adding frozen precooked shrimp to the caesar salad, she probably would have cried. I didn't, don't worry. The caesar was much more filling, due to the croutons, and I don't think I can ever go back to croutons from a box after that.

On a side note, some of my herbs are suffering sorely. Does anyone know of a good gardening book/website for people who are gardening out of pots on top of cinderblocks on their balcony and are plant challenged? My chives are browning regularly, my mint seems to have recovered but had some sort of yellowish eating away problem, and my cilantro. Oh, my cilantro. The ONE herb I use all the time, and it won't grow. It shot up, but it was this non-cilantro looking thin leafed stuff, that confused me because it was clearly growing out of the cilantro below. Now I worry that thin stuff would have grown into cilantro and I have ruined it, and I should just chuck it and start anew, which is probably not the way to garden. I love cilantro- I even wear coriander lotion, for pete's sake. Why won't my cilantro love me back?

Here is where I say, too, that I know there are people with some sort of genetic deficiency where cilantro tastes like soap to them, and I know that is probably a legitimate reason to not like cilantro, but still. I find people who don't like cilantro a little suspect.