Sunday, May 20, 2012

Life Events

Today is the day her ring comes.


I'm typing this while she's at work, awaiting my grocery list for the cabin trip we are about to take for the weekend.  I know, I know... it's kind of a "done deal".  I already said yes.  But just because I said yes, doesn't mean she will.  (of course she will)

If you're reading this on the day it's posted, this is the day I've asked Cori to marry me (back).  We're currently in the woods in her family's cabin - one of the single most special places to her.  I will have gotten the ring, put it in a monkey box (pictures to come, I swear!), the tea set up in a mug, the dress (again, pictures to come) hung with care, and I'm desperately trying to surprise her.

Cori is very difficult to surprise.  This is due in part to a) her being my best friend I naturally tell everything to, and b) her ability to find shit out.

I'll be honest:  she knows this is coming.  The surprise (and delight) will be in her not knowing what point during the weekend it will happen, nor does she know about the dress or the monkey (monkey boxes are severely underrated).

So while I'm securing my bride-to-be in this little contract called an engagement, I'm going to leave you with a fresh early-summer salad.  Cori loves salad, and I love Cori, so this works out.

Let's start with crafting the perfect dressing, shall we?  LET'S START WITH THE PERFECT MUSTARD.  This whole grain mustard is heaven-sent with the perfect amount of grainy-ness, zip, and tang.  At The Broad Ripple Brew Pub, Cori and I will order their fresh soft pretzel (made in-house) with beer cheese (!!!) and this mustard.  Amazing.

Also, this is my favorite spoon that I own.  Okay, okay... I own six of them.  Whatevs.  They were on sale at Anthropologie and they came in several colors.  Don't judge.  We all have our things.

The dressing is made up of simple goodness:  garlic, Worcestershire (just got autocorrect cuz I can't spell it), honey, fig balsamic vinegar, and the mustard.   You don't really need much on each salad to create really big flavor - just make sure to taste the dressing as you go and add salt/pepper where needed.  It's not rocket science, it's just dressing.

Side Note:  Why do we have to capitalize Worcestershire sauce?  Is it a last name?  Who IS this Worcestershire anyway, and why is he forcing his frustratingly-spelled name upon the masses like this?  It's rude and I want to push him down.  

Another Cori favorite is the red onion.  These purple pounds of zing are great for almost any dish where onion shines.  The onion was thinly sliced and scattered on top of the salad just before the mushroom and cheese.

I just love red onion skins... they remind me of oyster shells.  I can't stop staring at this picture...

Large, HUGE mushroom caps.  These are only doused with Worcestershire sauce before getting sauteed in their wholeness.  If you start cooking the caps gill-side down, it will seal in the moisture before you flip them over!

Once cooked, they get sliced and placed on top of the salad along side cherry tomatoes, the onion, and crumbled goat cheese.  If goat cheese is involved, I'm involved.

I now pronounce you Foodie and Salad.

*UPDATE* Since I wrote this on Friday morning, several things have changed. 
1. I couldn't wait to ask Cori at the cabin.  
2. I decided to make her go downstairs to get me some water (rude, right?), and when she returned, I had the ring, it the monkey box, sitting in Weeble's porta-tray.  I told her Weeble had a present for her, and then handed her the porta-tray thing.  She was surprised and excited (and totally loved the monkey box).  The dress was presented later on at the cabin during lunch.  She loved it too.  

Grilled Portabella "Steak" Salad with Tomatoes & Crumbled Goat Cheese
Adapted from For the Love of Salad

The Dressing
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard (or favorite mustard of choice)
1 clove garlic, finely minced and mashed
2 tablespoons flavored balsamic vinegar (I used fig)
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

4 large portabella mushroom caps
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

6 cups hearts of romaine lettuce, hand torn
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup crumbled goat cheese

To make the dressing, whisk together the mustard, garlic, vinegar, honey, and Worcestershire sauce  in a small bowl.  Drizzle in the olive oil slowly while constantly whisking until well combined.  Salt and pepper to taste, then set aside until ready to use.

Place the mushroom caps, gill side up, in a large bowl and drizzle with the Worcestershire sauce.  Let stand at room temp for about 15 minutes.

In a grill pan or sautee pan set over medium-high heat, warm up 1 "swirl" of olive oil.  Place the mushrooms, gill side down, in the pan.  Cook for 5 minutes per side, then transfer to a cutting board and slice thickly.

To serve, toss the romaine, tomatoes and red onion in a bowl, and then combine with just enough dressing to coat the salad without making it soggy.  Arrange the salads on salad plates and top with the sliced portabella slices and goat cheese.  Have fresh cracked pepper and the remainder of the dressing on the table to serve.


  1., love, love everything that is going on in this post. <3 <3