Thursday, July 10, 2014

You're Vegan, What Do You Eat? (My Dissertation Advisor's Wife's Salad Dressing)

About 9 or 10 years ago, SL (my dissertation advisor) told me about this place his family had in Colorado.  He and his wife and kids would go out there every summer; the cabin was in the mountains and had lots of amazing wildlife and hiking.  He said that Rob and I should come out with them sometime.  It was beautiful, and we would love it.  Then he limped up the stairway of the Anthropology building (he had a bad knee during those days), and I didn’t think much of it.  I certainly didn’t think I would ever go to that cabin.

SL and I haven’t talked for about 4 years, and both of us have moved to different places since I finished my PhD.  But he got wind that I was living in Colorado now and dropped me a line.  An invitation to the cabin again.  We’d have a cookout with some other Illinois folks who had somehow made it out this way (all roads lead to Colorado?) and do some hiking around the property.

So we went.  It was last weekend, and surprisingly, it was really not even all that awkward to see my dissertation advisor again after such a long time, and particularly, after my life had fallen apart.

SL was right, the cabin and the mountains were beautiful.  So beautiful, in fact, that I couldn’t even stop looking at them long enough to take any pictures.  

This is pretty much what it looked like:

Hills are alive


We went on a hike and saw elk and hummingbirds; we identified deer and coyote scat.  We didn’t see any bears, but SL and his wife assured us they were there and frequent (uninvited) guests at the cabin (as evidenced by claw marks on the walls of the house).  

This was real Colorado.

We went back to the house for a cookout and some of the Fort Collins beer I had brought with us.  I had also brought plenty of vegan food to share, but it turned out we really didn’t even need it.  There was lots of stuff for us to eat.  SL’s wife had made this fantastic arugula salad, which is—at long last—the point of this post.  The salad had a really delicious, tangy dressing, and I asked her how she made it.  It went something like this:

Olive oil, balsamic vinegar, rice vinegar, chopped garlic, and salt.

I came home and recreated it the next day.  

IMG 3528

IMG 3531

Perfect on a hot day, when you just want something fresh and satisfying and don’t want to heat up the kitchen by making something hot.  In my own version, I used a salad mix of spinach and baby kale because I didn’t have any arugula.  The kale is noteworthy here because recently, I’ve swung back to the “hate” side of my love/hate relationship with kale.  Recall, I was unable to eat kale for about 5 years as a result of my hyperemetic aversion to it.  I thought I had finally conquered that whole thing earlier this spring, when at long last I found myself able to eat marinated kale salad again and loving it. But alas.  Kale salad was the last thing I ate before my 5 Day Migrane, during which there was All The Vomit.  I’ve been off kale ever since.  

This salad was my first brave attempt to eat raw kale again, and it went okay.  SL’s wife’s salad dressing definitely helped make it more palatable, but I’m going to remain pretty cautious around kale for, oh, say, another half a decade or so.  The salad dressing is amazing though.  Maybe tomorrow I’ll have it again, this time just on spinach.

Thanks for reading.

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