Mixt Salads by Andrew Swallow, recipe #1: Mashup
This recipe -- Swallow's twist on the chopped salad -- made a huge trough of boiled cruciferous vegetables scantly embellished with treats like feta, pine nuts, and bacon. While the concept is sound, the proportions seemed off. One head of cauliflower, one head of broccoli, and one pint of cherry tomatoes, which is what the cookbook specifies, is simply too much plant matter for four humans.
I think I failed to cut the broccoli and cauliflower tiny enough, which may have adversely affected our experience. (Swallow says to cut the vegetables into "small" florets, which I interpreted as a lazy person would.) But I still don't see how amid that ocean of vegetable anyone could possibly taste 1/4 cup of feta or a single tablespoon of olives. With half the quantity of base vegetable, I think the recipe might have worked beautifully. After eating what was on our plates, we all lingered at the table, fishing the precious pine nuts and bacon from the giant bowl of watery cauliflower and chatting. Although it goes against everything my mother taught me about manners, I sometimes suspect communal picking at food is better for fellowship and conversation than plates.
Anyway, I will make no sweeping judgments based on one disappointing recipe. Tonight I am attempting an enticing recipe that involves an $8 bag of chanterelles from the supermarket and four duck eggs from the backyard.
In other news, I started A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan last night and it is so incredibly good that I was reading at 2 a.m. I can't describe the novel without making it sound overcomplicated and pretentious and since it's no longer my job to try to do so, you'll just have to trust me! It's wonderful.