Like A Baby
I consider myself a pretty grown-up person. I pay taxes. I drink herbal tea. I just bought an anti-aging cream that promises to reverse the space-time continuum of my face.
That said, this weekend was a little touch and go in the maturity department.
On Friday night, I dropped Scott’s fancy camera in the driveway.
The screen cracked and went blank, and then I cried. In the immortal words of Tina Fey, “I cried like a three year old who just wants to take her toy cash register into the bathtub.”
I had a strong urge to lie down in the driveway and sob. On a scale from 1 to 10–where 10 is an attractive life partner and 1 is an emotionally unstable woman kicking her feet in the air like an overturned lobster– I was about a 2.
Scott dragged me into the house–either because he loves me or because he didn’t want me to wake the neighbors–and we ordered a replacement part for $19. Nineteen dollars! That’s about one kidney less than the cost I was expecting, you guys. I ran around the house whooping and hollering for joy.
Then I slathered my eyes with anti-aging cream, had a cup of herbal tea, and went to bed.
I slept like a baby.
The irony of this does not escape me.
The next day, I made this simple fennel salad. It tastes fresh and sophisticated. Very grown-up. If you haven’t had fennel before, it’s crunchy and slightly–just slightly–sweet. It’s has loads of Vitamin C in it. Vitamin C neutralizes free radicals or whatever.
Try tossing the fennel with grapes and Pecorino. The original recipe calls for toasted almonds, and those are fine–but if you like grapes and Pecorino, don’t miss the chance to pair them up here. The saltiness and dryness of the shaved cheese is awesome with the sweet juiciness of the split grapes.
2 large bulbs of fennel
2-3 Tbsp. lemon juice
1/4 c. fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/4 tsp. salt
and one or more of the following:
a handful or two of grapes (optional)
a small block of Pecorino Romano for shaving on top (optional)
1/3 c. sliced almonds (optional)
Cut the fronds off the fennel. Rinse the bulb and remove any dirty outer layers. Remove the round core from the bottom of the bulb. If you have a mandoline, cut the fennel in half lengthwise and shave across the fennel. If you don’t have a mandoline, cut the fennel into quarters. Use a vegetable peeler or a sharp chef’s knife (a big knife) to shave the fennel into thin slices.
Transfer the fennel to a medium bowl with a measuring cup. If you have about 4 cups fennel, add 2 Tbsp. lemon juice to the fennel. If you have about 6 cups fennel, add a little more lemon juice (up to 3 Tbsp.) Add the salt and toss. Let the fennel sit on the counter for 10 minutes.
Rip the mint into pieces with your hands and add to the fennel. Add the olive oil and toss. If adding grapes, cut them in half crosswise. If adding sliced almonds, toast them over medium heat or in a toaster oven first. Shave in pieces of Pecorino Romano, if using, and a dash or two of pepper. Toss. Taste and adjust salt/pepper/lemon/oil, etc. as desired. Serve.