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Because, seriously, can we go on a cucumber-tomato salad summer world tour? From the classic Greek salad (horiatiki), to the Palestinian/Arab/Israeli salads in their infinite variations, their close cousins, the shepherd’s salads (shirazi in Iran, çoban salatası in Turkey, shopska in Macedonia and Bulgaria), plus the kachumber in India and all of the variants, like fattoush and I’m going to need one of each. I was particularly struck by what Ottolenghi said in the intro to the fattoush salad in his Jerusalem cookbook, that freshly chopped vegetable salads like this are served with every meal and that friends visiting London often complained of feeling like they ate ‘unhealthily’ because there weren’t fresh salad with each meal.
I apply it in the kitchen as well. Thus, while if we’re being completely honest, life is currently a swarm of getting recipes ready for the next book (eee!), a to-do list for this month as long as the remainder of this year, kids waking up way too early, mama going to bed too late, an apartment that has yet to clean itself and let’s not even talk about what’s going on in the produce drawer — i.e. real life, and not even a bad one — rather than dwelling on the chaos, I think we should cook for the life we want, not for the life we have. Thus: I choose picnic bars.
In 2007 — you know, back in the days when I imagine that all of our conversations might have gone “What should we do today?” “Oh, I don’t know, anything we want.” — I had this salad at the then new-ish Spotted Pig in the West Village and attempted to recreate it. It didn’t go well and because I was as mature then as I am now, I had a tantrum and didn’t get back to it until 2009, at which point I made a roasted carrot dish with a bit of cumin and topped it with avocado slices that had been tossed with some lemon and everyone was happy. However, in 2011, Jean-Georges Vongerichten published a book of his homecooking favorites including this salad, which is also on the menu at ABC Kitchen and in 2012, April Bloomfield included the recipe in her first cookbook and I’ve thought it might be nice to circle back to these more complexly spiced and textured versions.
underlings dictating them to you, are as follows:
a picture of the cake layers stacked up in my freezer, ready for their big debut. You’d think people would comment on the cake, right? Nope. More like: “You have an empty freezer. You have an empty freezer. How?” “I didn’t know it was possible to empty a freezer.” And I was all “People have full freezers? We just use it for vodka and ice cube trays.” Oh Deb of 2008. Come see your circa-2016 freezer and witness the havoc 8 years and 2 kids have wreaked on it.