It was a bit of a surreal series of events.
One certainly never expects to come face to face with a prolific cookbook author in their lifetime (well, at least this one doesn't) and one certainly doesn't expect that author's husband to hand them a package of cookies.
When we posted the "Back of the Card" bread a few months ago, I wrote a post relating to some of my interactions in the business world over the years and the impressions that those left on me. The infamous Susan commented on that post that she wondered what I would write on the back of her card when we met.
Since several other members of the crew captured the essence of the conference and meet-ups so well, I will leave that prose to them. Now, I didn't capture anything on the back of anyone's business card, but everyone did get a moniker in my head.
On Friday, I had the chance to meet Kathy, the kind and that level-headed Liz with the legs (because she could pull of those tall boots!). Guyla, the gracious one and Patty, the pragmatic. Karen, the keen and Alice, the one with the amazing energy (and my Urbanspoon dining out companion). Of course, we can't forget Dorie, the divine.
The very next day, the rest of the crew joined in - Michelle, the magnificent and Betsy, the beatific (a more serene person I have not met). Mary, the mayor corralled us all in. Tricia, the terrific and Nana, the knowing. Adriana, the alive! There is Susan, the super-one and Trevor, the tolerant (for putting up with us all). And last but not least, in a Dortista bonus round, I was able to meet up with Teresa, the tranquil and thoughtful one.
I am not normally a social person - I was scared witless going into this (What if no one liked me? What if I wasn't cool enough? I know, totally high school, right?). It was comforting to discover that in the midst of the Dorista-enclave it was hard to stay too reserved. A few of them even took on The Dude and kept him entertained one evening while I was out (I have come to suspect there may have been some ulterior motives going on there - ahem, I am looking at you Mary, Patty, Susan & John. By the way, I am supposed to clarify that he is not just the "meat" eater - he likes fish too...)
My IFBC posts (and some new recipes) along with a bit of vacation "stuff" will come along at some point. I am still collecting my thoughts - and it can take a while to wrangle them all in to a coherent pattern. They are about as cooperative as I am.
On to this week's French Friday recipe.
I had every intentions of following the recipes this week, but the whole not-reading the recipe ahead of time kind of bit me in the butt. Thank goodness for improvisation...
We have been eating versions of this salad all summer long. I rarely keep potatoes in the house, so potatoes are traded out for cooked grains (freekeh, farro, quinoa, barley - anything sitting in the pantry waiting to be used up). The decision on what greens and vegetables to use is based on what is sitting in the refrigerator or whatever catches my eye at the market. The eggs are a given and the "extras" follow the philosophy of the rest of the ingredients - whatever is on hand gets thrown in.
It's a great way to bring together those bits and pieces that might otherwise get left behind.
Since I went a bit further off the beaten path than normal, I have included my version below...
Not-Quite Salad Nicoise
Adapted from Around My French Table
2 cups micro greens (I used radish)
1 cup freekeh, cooked & chilled
1 8-ounce tin of tuna in olive oil
6 radishes, halved or quartered - depending on size
6 small tomatoes, halved
2 hard boiled eggs, quartered
1/2 cup nicoise olives
2 Tbs capers
1/2 cup marinated artichoke hearts, quartered
1/2 cup chevre (goat cheese), crumbled
3 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs (scant) Dijon mustard
1 Tbs shallot, finely chopped
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped (~1/2" pieces)
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
To make the salad: Arrange the salad ingredients on a large platter. Personally, I kind of like lining everything up in rows for this salad - but whatever floats your boat works!
To make the dressing: Place all the ingredients in a half pint canning jar or other 8 fluid ounce lidded container. Seal the container and shake vigorously, until the ingredients are well blended (I like to let it sit for about a half hour or so to let the flavors meld). Drizzle over salad ingredients.
This post participates in French Fridays with Dorie, an on-line cooking group that is cooking their way through Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan.