Friday, May 26, 2017

Hello from Providence

Good morning! I'm in Rhode Island, where I'm trying to figure out how the universe hasn't invented nap cafes. Seriously, we have places you can go pet a cat in a strange city but nowhere to nap? Cmon humanity.  My stomach is churning with a strange mix of nostalgia, excitement and anxiety- either that, or I've over caffeinated myself in preparation for my reunion.

Since I have nothing new to say about food (that is, until I can talk Seven Stars Bakery into giving me all their recipes), I have decided to post some pictures of animals. Here are some pictures of dogs supporting Bears Ears National Monument! And here is a picture of my brand new ducklings:

(I'm sorry the picture is blurry- it's the only good one, because the heat lamp screws up the lighting)

Yes, I now have ducks... which is not at ALL weird. I can envision my next several days of conversations: "How's your surgical residency? Prestigious and super important for society? That's great! I live in Utah and my biggest accomplishment is owning like 3.5 baby birds, the latest of which I've abandoned to come to this reunion".

Totally normal conversation. Definitely helping my anxiety.

Anyways, they have giant, cold, floppy feet and sometimes out of nowhere they lose their balance and fall over. I'm officially in love. Happy Friday- and if anyone is reading this, PLEASE get around to inventing a nap cafe.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Watercress and avocado salad with apple onion dressing

Hi all! I was supposed to have a couple of relaxing weeks, but then congress set healthcare on fire. Since all of the legitimate activists in Utah were busy with Bears Ears and the rapidly imploding justice system, I ended up spending yet another week making snarky, desperate signs for my congressman to ignore:

In addition, I'm on week four of a new job and have two (awesome!) new roommate/landlords who came with two dogs, a cat and a gluten allergy. I'm also up 23 baby leek plants that keep threatening to freeze to death, community permission to get ducks (!), and did I mention that congress set healthcare on fire? I feel like all my friends in medical school... except, you know, they're doing real-person important things, and I'm freaking out about how to stop bugs from eating my spinach.

On the bright side, spring in Utah brings a flush of volunteer edible annuals and perennials. It's a yearly reminder of why I love my pseudo hippie-commune so very very much. Sage, sorrel, lavender, arugula, parsley, horseradish, more mint than I can handle... the wild areas of our community are erupting, and I want to eat it all, and right now. I find myself slightly panicked by the approaching summer. I've already missed the two week window where dandelion greens are edible and will have to wait for next year. What can I preserve? What do you do with three pounds of horseradish? How can I take advantage of it all, consume it all at once? Why am I eating so many tortilla chips? How does time keep passing so fast?

Do me a favor and don't psychoanalyze thas one, ok?

Just last week I found out there was a giant patch of watercress behind my friend Kellie's house. Turns out one of my hippies, the one who was going to teach me how to eat dandelions, has been cultivating it for a couple years in the unused space next to a spring. I've walked past it hundreds of times without recognizing it as watercress, or even as food. I would make the world's worst forager.

Nonetheless  I picked an entire basket before realizing I didn't have any idea what to do with it. Luckily for me the internet provided, and in the first couple lines of Google's search results I found a solid use for watercress and the best salad dressing I've made in years. It's got grated apple and onion and soy and rice vinegar, and the special power to make a two-ingredient salad (just watercress and avocado) taste so delicious that even the most anxious among us can relax into spring.

Watercress and Avocado Salad with Apple Onion Dressing
Stolen from Epicurious

1/4 cup unseasoned rice vinegar
4 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp grated yellow onion
1/4 cup finely grated peeled apple (any Gala-like variety)
3 Tbsp neutral tasting vegetable oil
1 avocado
6 cups watercress, leaves and thinner stems only

A note on grater size: As directed, I used the large holes of a box grater for the onion and the smaller ones for the apple. If you have a four-sided box grater, I trust you to figure it out. You have a fancy box grater. You've got your shit together.

Combine rice vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, onion and apple in a jar and shake until you're pretty sure the sugar has dissolved. (Alternatively, you could do this in a bowl with a whisk, but you know I'm all about salad dressing in jars. Built in storage!). Add vegetable oil, then shake or whisk again until mixed.

When you're ready to serve, put the watercress in a salad bowl and toss with the dressing- I'll leave the exact amount to you, but I like mine dressed pretty heavily. Pit and peel the avocado, then cut it into chunks and toss with the dressed watercress. Eat immediately.