Happy Mother’s Day everyone! Man, are moms the best or what?? I don’t get to spend the day with my momma today, but I got to spend the whole last week with her on vacation, so I can’t feel too sorry for myself. Love you, mom! This recipe’s for you– I know you’ll love it, especially in post-vacation healthy eating mode. 😉
BF and I spent the last week in the Bahamas with my parents, and it was a much-needed, perfect break. Although I have to say, leaving for vacation directly after my finals ended meant that as soon as I got back to DC I felt like I should be doing something. It feels somehow wrong to have the time to write a blog post and to just generally schlump. I think I might need to head back for some more sun and sea time, the relaxation doesn’t seem to have carried over…
In the Bahamas we stay on an outer island that is almost totally unpopulated and just gorgeous. Restaurant options are scarce, but the resort has a clubhouse that makes a LOT of delicious food (I did not eat a single meal all week that wasn’t seafood– I’m basically part fish at this point). Which is great, but maybe doesn’t align super well with the all bathing suit, all the time lifestyle. Luckily, the scale hasn’t tipped too much in the wrong direction after a week of indulgence, but I still feel the need to detox a little post-vaca. Thank goodness summer’s here and produce abounds so it’s easy to do so!
Summer is all about salads– real ones and those of the pasta/quinoa/fruit variety (and saladless salad, of course). Salads are simultaneously the lazy cook’s bff and the creative cook’s biffle; tossing together whatever you’ve got can be really quick and easy, or an exercise in serious cooking innovation. And since it’s summer and everything is fresh and delicious, you don’t even have to make dressing. How nice is that?! In and out and ready to eat in minimal time.
Last night’s salad consists of baby spinach, goat cheese, toasted pecans, strawberries, and avocado. I love these flavors together, and the pecans add some much-needed crunch to the salad, especially when you toast them. Now that strawberries are close to being in season it’s getting harder and harder to resist buying them each week, and I’m not exactly fighting with everything I’ve got…
I also think I’ve sort of, maybe, a little bit, finally figured out how to tell when an avocado is ripe– I’ve had decent luck when the avocado gives just the teeeeeniest bit when squeezed. But I also tend to err on the side of caution because I’d way rather eat a slightly underripe avocado than an overripe one (ew). There’s no kitchen incident sadder than cutting open an avocado to find it past its prime. Booooo.
A few weeks ago I made my own ricotta for the first time (which, incidentally, would be delicious in this salad and is the reason I’m bringing this up at all). Yes, it was during finals. Don’t look at me like that. I made it through all my exams, didn’t I? Anyway, it was really exciting! I loved the way it turned out. The ricotta was creamier than what I buy at the store, and the draining process let me decide exactly how thick I wanted it. I found a website that supposedly tells you how to clean cheesecloth so you can reuse it (here), but I haven’t tried it yet. Once I have, I’ll post my ricotta recipe along with my (hopeful) cheesecloth cleaning success story– I’m cheap and it’s absurd that you can’t reuse cheesecloth, so I’m determined to find a way!