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May 15, 2009

Anonymous glamour? Sign me up!

May 15. Day 319.

It's Monday as I write. Excuse the delay, gentle reader. I've been busier than Borat in a china shop.

Old Business: Ever since returning from that week in France, I've been obsessed with this salad. Because this blog is about giving and getting, I thought I'd share the recipe.

Open Source Salad (modify and claim ownership as you please. Just eat it! Yum.)

Into the bowl: Trader Joe's Herb Salad Mix, evoo, balsamic vinegar, snow peas, and really sweet, juicy tomatoes. Don't skimp on the tomatoes, please.

Into a frying pan: equal parts roasted pine nuts and bits of prosciutto or pancetta (or, replace meat with walnuts). A tiny drop of evoo, just to get it all nice and fragrant. Roll them around for one minute or so.

Into oven on high heat: pats of chevre on sliced baguette or even sliced wonderbread (strange but true, works great in this salad -- that's how they serve it in France), at around 450F or 500F -- toast it, basically, for a few minutes.

Mix prosciutto and pine nuts into salad. Plop the gooey-crunchy toast on top.

Use the bread to sop up the dressing and nudge the greens onto your fork.


(Variations I've enjoyed: add cilantro, grated cheddar cheese, fried onion, fresh onion, different salad bases, asian sesame dressing.)


New Business: Invigorated by that burst of antioxidants, I took off to Cafe Bassam to meet a friend for a glass of wine. Bassam's is this otherworldly place I've written about before -- dozens of clocks on the walls set slightly out of tune make it an ideal location to lose touch with reality and completely chill out.

It was getting close to midnight, or so the clocks hinted, and the "Haven't asked yet" panic started setting in. I glanced around, looking for ideas. Ask the cafe owner for a free drink? Ask someone sitting next to me something personal and fascinating? Ask a stranger to let me test drive his or her car? No, no, no.

And then I noticed a couple sitting at the table next to ours, reading a program. Was it from the opera? The same opera I went to last week and LOVED?

"Excuse me, is that the program for Madama Butterfly?"

"Yes it is."

"How did you like it?"

"I thought the soprano was wonderful."

We started talking, and in the next ten minutes we:
--traded names and basic contact info
--learned about each other's life histories in fast forward
--offered to help one another professionally (well, they're retired, but they offered to put me in touch with people -- very nice, thanks!)
--discovered we love all things Italian
--talked about how to be an extra in an opera

About that last one: my friend, who works for a nonprofit and has never acted before, randomly signed up to be an extra in an opera a few years ago. She didn't sing, but she was on stage in full regalia. Got her hair done, got to wear a pretty dress and a nun's outfit, got to experience the drama from the inside out. I'm so doing it!! Next season!! Frilly dress, bright lights, and anonymous glamour, here I come.

Gained: another one of those "no financial gain, but glad I asked" moments.
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