One of the benefits of having a relatively free summer is being able to do all of those things I didn't have time for during the semester. Volunteer, see people, try new things. One day I was bored and decided to go to the library (3 blocks from my house!) and register for a card. While I was there I (surprise surprise) perused the cookbook section.
I had heard about Gwyneth Paltrow's new cookbook, My Father's Daughter, but had written it off as a celebrity chef-wannabe's collection of ghostwritten recipes. While that may or may not be true, I found it at the library and found it to be a beautifully designed book of down to earth recipes that surprisingly fit my palate.
So I took it home and made something. Namely, her ivy chopped salad, I'm guessing was so named because the variety of ingredients and herbs in it. All told, there was (in counterclockwise order) butter lettuce, cilantro, scallion, salmon, chard, corn, zucchini, basil, beets, grape tomatoes and a balsamic/lime/honey vinaigrette. Rather than throw away the chard stems, Cris pickled them in rice wine vinegar (sugar added).
When our plates were assembled, I compared them to the picture in the book. Just as pretty, but our salmon slices were more prominent so I decided to name the post salmon salad.
The great thing about this salad is that it tastes as good as it looks, and as an added bonus, every bite is savored with the knowledge that the salad is also super good for you. Lean protein and a load of vitamins and minerals. If only every healthy meal could be as easily assembled!
Besides inspiring me to cook, the cookbook has also sparked the idea of having my own cookbook. I already have a list of dishes I would include, ranging from childhood favorites I still can't make myself to things I learned in culinary school. I'm sure the book won't come together for another year or so, but it's an idea I'm going to hold on to...