Salad for Dinner
I'm afraid that this is going to be one of those what-I-had-for-dinner posts that some people decry as being to similar to the look-what-my-cute-kitten-did-today posts on cute-kitten blogs. (I don't actually know or read any cute-kitten blogs, but I'm pretty sure that they exist. I have nothing whatsoever against cute-kitten blogs. I agree that kittens are cute. Similarly, I have nothing against cute-puppy blogs, and I agree that puppies are cute. I really don't want to get between the cute-kitten and cute-puppy factions: that sort of thing can only lead to tears, claw marks, and chewed-up slippers. On a different topic, one of the best things about putting your digressions into parentheses is that they sort of don't exist, so that you can go back to your main argument and pretend that you never left it, thus saving yourself yet another "anyway.")
Anyway, I've been making a lot of use of my lime-cilantro vinaigrette. That's partly because it's very good, but more because I made a quart of the stuff, so I really have to make a lot of use of it. There are worse fates (see discussion of getting clawed to death, above), and it's a very versatile dressing, so the other evening, I stopped at Trader Joe's on my way to pick up A., and I picked up some nice salad shrimp, and when I got home, I put eight ounces of the shrimp in a colander and defrosted it with running water, and I made four slices of crisp bacon in the microwave, and I tore a head of romaine into pieces of an appropriate size, and I tossed all of these ingredients together with some of the vinaigrette, and then I ground some salt and pepper on top, and then I got out a block of manchego and a vegetable peeler, and I put some slivers of manchego on the salad, and I tossed it again, and I divided it between two bowls, and we ate it.
As is so often the case with salads, I could have done a lot of other things to it, if I'd been so inclined and had the time and ingredients on hand. I obviously don't have much time to cook these days [whinge deleted], which means that I do a lot of notional cooking. Right this moment, I'm notionally making another four strips of bacon in the microwave, and I'm notionally defrosting a pound of salad shrimp, and I'm notionally defrosting the vinaigrette (vinaigrette separates, you know, and olive oil solidifies upon refrigeration, so you have to take the pitcher out of the refrigerator and microwave it on reheat for forty-five seconds or so and re-emulsify it with your immersion blender; this process is sort of entertaining, but also a bit of a nuisance, though it's much less of a nuisance when it's notional), and I'm notionally crumbling the bacon into fairly small pieces, and I'm notionally mixing the shrimp and bacon with the vinaigrette, and I'm notionally splitting a couple of avocados in half and removing the pits, and then I'm notionally spooning the shrimp salad into the halves. It's notionally delicious.
The actual salad was actually delicious, in spite of the fact that the romaine I had was perhaps not the specimen of romaine that you might choose to serve first to a new race of intelligent beings that was visiting from another solar system (I have a notion that if and when other intelligent life is discovered around the universe, cultures will be judged first on the quality of their salad greens; it is not a comforting thought, really).
In other what-I'm-eating-now news, the vinaigrette on my canned bean salad also solidifies (in little bits) upon refrigeration, but I have discovered that if I pack a container of the salad and another container of muhjadarrah, I can reheat the lentils in the microwave and then mix them with the bean salad. The result is wonderful: it's delicious, and it's just barely warm, so the dressing is liquid and creamy. It's the perfect lunch for the office, especially as it keeps me from having to go out, so I can get even more work done.