Wednesday, March 26, 2008

*cuke fluke.

Every so often an event comes along that changes the way you look at the world. Maybe it's something terrific, like Olean (FDA-mandated warnings aside, that stuff is fat-free fat. Possibly the greatest invention of all time, aside from Bovinity Divinity may it rest in peace.) Or maybe it's something utterly disillusioning that tests your faith in humanity, like


Tonight was neither of those. It was more of a serendipitous stumble, a scenario that very well may prove that I am a terrific cook when I'm ... not cooking.

I knew I wanted a sandwich, because really, when do I not want a sandwich? I was also, BELIEVE IT OR NOT, tired of pasta. And also, frankly, of cheese. (I KNOW. Look for the horsemen.) Tomorrow I'll probably make a grilled cheese with a side of pasta salad, but tonight was light. I couldn't decide between soup and sandwich or salad and sandwich, but I had a strange hankering for chopped salad. Specifically cucumber.

The sandwich search was harder than you might think. Without meat or cheese, a sandwich isn't much of a sandwich. Although! It occurs to me. I do love a pb&j. But it seems, particularly when you take meat out of the equation, people don't think much beyond the tomato soup/grilled cheese combo.

And then I found this. Granted, the title is muy dorky, and there's something I inherently don't trust about Ellie Krieger. She's always telling me I can have all the foods I love and be thin. She has some agenda about "portion size" or something. What a nutso. I mean, look at her. That's not an honest face. That's the face of a woman who sucks down half a bag of Oreos in the bathtub. Not that I know that face.

Then, finally, I unearthed this gem. All my favorite things, and not a hot stove in sight!

Wait. Gotta boil the eggs. Sigh. Luckily, though, I am an expert. While the eggs boiled away (I let the chill come off them first as recommended, JLB!), I assembled the salad ingredients:

I diced up a cucumber, drained and rinsed a can of cannellini beans (perhaps my favorite among the canned beans), chopped red onion, crushed a clove of garlic, and gathered salt, pepper, white vinegar, olive oil, and a pretty red tomato. I had to toss the soggy black basil because it was wet. And sort of the color of charcoal. I stirred together the cucumber, beans, and onion with some dried basil.

Then, I whisked together the olive oil, vinegar, salt, pepper, and crushed garlic clove.

Once I tossed the cucumber and beans with the dressing, I peeled the boiled eggs. They joined the other ingredients:

Lettuce, red bell pepper, red onion slices, dijon mustard, mayonnaise, and a multigrain wrap. Those wraps are disappointing to me. I thought the problem was with the variety I tried before (spinach), but it turns out they all sort of taste like the third ingredient is recycled paper.

I diced up the eggs (4 whole, 4 whites) and woke Rip Van Puppy

for a treat: the extra yolks. They're a bonus food—he thinks they're delicious, and I think watching him try to master the texture of them is hilarious.

The boiled eggs, mayo, mustard, salt, and pepper (is it weird that Ellie doesn't define the amount of salt? It doesn't seem very health-conscious to let us crazy Americans loose with the sodium) get mixed together and spread on the wrap.

Topped with the vegetables, and swaddled up.

Yeah, that's how CL tells you to present the salad. It's prettier than it is practical, and I think I'll just chop the tomatoes into the salad next time. The flavors of both recipes were spot-on, though. Weird, right? I didn't burn anything or slice any body parts, and I only dropped two of the boiled eggs in the floor.

I am going to fall down a lot tomorrow.




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I am a work in progress. I perpetually need a hair cut. I'm totally devoted to my remarkable nieces and nephew. I am an elementary home cook and a magazine worker bee. (Please criticize my syntax and spelling in the comments.) I think my dog is hilarious. I like chicken and spicy things. I have difficulty being a grown-up. Left to my own devices, I will eat enormous amounts of cheese snacks of all kinds.