dinner salads

Tonight’s dinner is brought to you by yesterday’s lunch.

Our friend, Susan, came over from Princeton for lunch and a pasta-making lesson from Cucinare Victor. I’ve known Susan since we worked together at San Francisco General Hospital almost 30 years ago. She’s a Registered Dietician, I was a Senior Food Service Supervisor. I was a provisional employee of the City and County of San Francisco. One of their many hiring freezes was in place, so they could bring me in and pay me scale and all, but I couldn’t become a full-time employee with retirement benefits. After a year in limbo, I applied to UCSF – and got into their retirement system. We continued to see one another since UCSF and SFGH are affiliated and we have mutual friends who are now as spread out as we are!

She’s been bouncing around the country with her husband the Doctor and their two kids and it’s been great finally having her within driving distance. We still don’t see one another nearly enough – but retirement is on the horizon for me… methinks a few more dates are in our future…

Susan is a natural in the kitchen. She’s one of those people who just gets it. Show her once, she does it once, and next thing you know she’s off creating and making it her own. I think understanding food is why she’s such a great dietician. She gets it.

Our original plan was for her to come over and she and Victor would make some pasta and we’d have it for lunch. And then we decided we would just have lunch and Victor would give her some pointers on pasta making, and then we decided they would make the pasta dough, we would eat lunch while it was resting, and then they could make pasta after and she could bring it home with her for dinner.

I decided I’d make a few different salads and we could nosh on them…

First was a South of the Wall Mexican inspired chicken salad.

chicken salad

I had grilled chicken the night before, so the leftovers were converted to a salad. Red onion, celery, mayo, guajillo pepper adobo, garlic, cumin, S&P… It was good.

Next up was a Fava Bean Salad. I had a couple of bags of dried fava beans on the shelf from Manitou Trading Company, so I thought I’d get creative with them.

fava bean salad

This one had leeks, bell pepper, assorted olives, capers, tomatoes, celery, carrots, pomegranate vinegar, and olive oil. And S&P, of course. Another winner. The dressing was light and went well with the clean-out-the-refrigerator conglomeration of ingredients.

Next up was a Wheat Berry Salad with Hard Red Winter Wheat Berries from Palouse Brand in Washington. I really do love specialty food stores and online shopping. The world is delivered to our doorstep.

This one had currants, dried cherries, and dried apricots all soaked and plumped in our homemade Pistachio Liqueur.  Basil, oregano, parsley, thyme, and mint from the garden, pistachios, blood orange olive oil, blood orange syrup, and apple cider vinegar for the dressing.

I’m a huge pan of wheat berries. This one was another winner.

And then there was our traditional potato salad. It’s a riff on my Mom’s Potato Salad – pretty much the only one I ever make.

And there was a plate of romaine and another plate of sliced tomatoes and sliced peaches… and a baguette.

That beautiful slice of quiche on the right side of tonight’s dinner plate came from Susan. She asked a half-dozen times what she could bring, a half-dozen times I said nothing, and she arrived with a freshly baked quiche. I am so glad she doesn’t pay attention to me!

I really should have photographed it before we switched it from her pie plate to ours. I cracked her perfectly-fluted crust, but what the picture lacks in perfection it more than made up for in flavor. Dayum, it was good!

We had it for dinner last night and tonight, with one piece left for Victor’s lunch, tomorrow.

‘Tis the season for salads. Our garden is getting waterlogged, so I have no idea if anything is ever going to grow, but starting June 30th, I’m going to be a regular at the local farmer’s markets.

I think this is going to be the best summer – ever.