To quote Simon and Garfunkle: Gee, but it’s great to be back home.  Home is where I want to be.

Yep.  So true.

The wedding was a blast.  We had a great time with the family, meeting Jessica’s new in-laws, finally meeting my nephew Jacob’s wife, Rachael.  And little Phoebe Rose – the sixth to carry the name Phoebe in our family.  I wish we lived closer.

The downside of travel – other than the airports and airplanes which totally and completely disgustingly suck – is not having my own kitchen.  Restaurants are great – but not for every meal every day. Fortunately, we had a local restaurant – not a cookie-cutter chain – by the hotel that had some pretty decent food.  Fresh chilies in my omelette, fresh chilies on a burger… It was great to be back in Civilized California!

So to start counter-acting all of that restaurant food, it’s salad-time around here!

Today I made three different salads.  A lentil, a rice, and a pasta.  I’m working on portion control, so I didn’t make my normal feed-the-entire-neighborhood-and-the-school-down-the-street batches.  Nope.  Small, reasonable batches.  Enough for dinner and tomorrow’s lunch.  I’m workin’ on it…

The pasta salad was first.

I cooked up about six ounces of mini cheese-filled ravioli.  I added 3 stalks of blanched asparagus, sliced, a minced green onion, 6 sliced pepperoncini, oil cured kalamata olives, and about a half-cup of red pepper and onion relish and about a half-cup of fig and caramelized onion sauce.  Clean out that refrigerator!

The Lentil Salad started off with about a cup of French green lentils.  I cooked them up and added some golden raisins, currants, walnuts, celery, diced red onion, green onion, herbs d’Provence, salt, pepper, red wine vinegar and olive oil.

For the rice salad, I cooked up a half-cup of whole-grain brown rice.  To it, I added some walnuts, celery, diced carrots, peas, dill, salt, pepper, and white wine vinegar and olive oil.

They all went into the fridge.

For the salads, I plated some iceberg lettuce and baby romaine, topped it with the three salads and some grilled beef tips.  I made a quick 1000 Island dressing with mayonnaise, chili sauce, and pickle relish.

It’s great to be back in the kitchen!