Sometimes there’s nothing better than a night to oneself. Having had a very full day, I decided to get off the F train in Dumbo, 3 stops away from my own station, and walk home. I wanted to clear my head, get some air and exercise, and I happened to be wearing comfortable enough clothes in which to do all of this (in a perfect world I would always wear clothes that are beautiful and suitable enough to walk a mile in, but alas, this is not my reality right now). The weather was gorgeous. ‘I’ll get a pedicure,’ I decided, switching gears towards Court Street. A pop-toned raspberry-red was the color I had in mind.
Passing the used book store on Court I spotted a first edition copy of Tender is the Bone by Ruth Reichl, the former New York Times restaurant critic and current editor of Gourmet, in the windowsill. $6, the clerk told me (suggested retail $23). Sold.
Next, at the nail salon, I cozied up to the August issue of Vanity Fair, specifically the story about Julia Child (“Our Lady of the Kitchen” by Laura Jacobs), and then, feeling polished and happy, I headed home, grabbing the laundry and a bottle of fairly cheap Montepulciano d’Abruzzo on my way.
The plan was to order take-out from Fragole, but after all of that culinary reading I was feeling inspired. I had wine and intention. What else does one need to cook a meal, really? OK, food, preferably fresh food. A look into my refrigerator revealed:
1 bag of of wilty-stemmed radishes, 1/2 jar of week-old tomato salsa, lots of bread-and-butter pickles, 1 head of bib lettuce, chipotle peppers in adobo, 4 strips of bacon, 1/2 bag of organic green beans, 5 flour tortillas, 1 pad of the simplest goat cheese, a brick of cheddar, and some fresh herbs (parsley, mint, basil) from the garden.
A Bacon-and-Bibb Salad was my first thought. Just cut the bacon into bits, fry them, blanche the beans quickly, toss the lettuce, beans, and sliced radishes together with chopped parsley and basil (p.s. some are weary of pairing bacon with basil; personally, I think the combination of these two dominant flavors is bold and delicious)…
…then toss the salad (lettuce, radishes, beans, parsley, basil) with olive oil and champagne vinegar to taste. Top it with the bacon and two dabs of goat cheese, some salt and pepper, and serve with some of your best linens and a book:
dinner for one
It’s no Julia Child (sigh), but it’s not a bad way to end the day, either.