In the movie Star Trek: Generations, my favorite captain, Jean-Luc Picard, has suffered a family tragedy and he muses about the passage of time. His enemy has just informed him that time “was a predator that stalked us all our lives.” Picard feels time “is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment because they’ll never come again.” Like Picard, who has “become aware that there are fewer days ahead than there are behind,” I wonder if time is really more of a sort of toxic friend; one you can’t leave behind, as much as you might contemplate doing so. Now that I am over 50, I have started to assess how many times I might want to re-read a novel, or see a DVD…I tend to value time more now, even though sometimes I relish not really doing anything during particular moments of time.
I suppose this is not exactly a happy sort of blog post, but I figure there are plenty of motivational blogs that will encourage you to stick to your New Year’s resolutions and other blogs that will sell you products that will cleanse you of last year. I’m still into the comfort food stuff. I lost 19 pounds in 2013, then I gained every single one back. But at least, I didn’t gain more than that. So my 2012 ended up even. This year might be better regarding weight loss—I really don’t know, but I’ll give it another go. All you can do is keep trying.
So, a refreshing salad is in order. But first, you need to make Savory Seasoning, a dry mixture that is often an ingredient in my recipes. I’ll include it here, then place it under the Recipe section of the blog (see the main bar above). I do believe a new year is a good opportunity to be somewhat more forgiving to one’s self; resolutions can be ongoing processes, not black and white excuses to berate one’s self for failure. Let us hope 2014 will be a year of learning to be more patient and sympathetic. Make it so.
- 2 tablespoons sea salt
- 1 tablespoon whole peppercorns (all black or a mix of colors)
- 1 tablespoon dry parsley flakes
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon dry thyme
- ½ teaspoon dry marjoram
- ½ teaspoon dry sage
- ½ teaspoon dry rosemary
- ½ teaspoon celery seed
Combine the salt and peppercorns in a blender or a small food processor. Pulse until peppercorns are mostly broken; this will take about a minute. Add the remaining ingredients and pulse another 30 seconds or so. Keep in a tightly covered container in your pantry. Shake or stir before using. Makes about 1/3 cup and retains pungency for about three months.
I like to leave some of the peppercorns almost whole for a zesty flavor. I use this in many other recipes as well as sprinkling it on various foods, such as steaks or pork chops, eggs or vegetables, and even an occasional sandwich.
Ellen’s Favorite Salad
- 5-6 cups light green lettuce, torn into large pieces (such as Bibb, Boston, Butter, or living lettuce)
- 2 ounces lightly toasted sliced almonds
- ½ cup dried cherries
- 2 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled into small bits
- 1 cup celery, cut diagonally into ¼” slices
- ¼ cup almond oil
- 1 tablespoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon honey mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon Savory Seasoning
- ¼ teaspoon salt
In a large bowl, combine the lettuce, almonds, cherries, cheese, and celery. In a shaker jar with a tight lid, combine the remaining ingredients and shake well. Adjust seasonings, if desired. Pour over the greens and toss. Serve immediately. You can make the dressing in advance and mix your greens, but don’t toss together until right before serving because these types of lettuce are fragile. Not recommended as leftovers. Serves 4.