I’m currently in a swarm of many behind-the-scenes things that I genuinely couldn’t be happier about even if it would also be okay if they didn’t all fall in the next few weeks (the deadline on the next cookbook, the launch at-last-so-overdue-hooray site redesign, a hopefully very cool new project or two, the first birthday of this fiesty love, all of the end of the year chaos that comes with a school-aged kid), that if there were a textbook definition of Bad Times To Take a Vacation, my June might be under it. Thank goodness I am not married to anyone burdened by such trivialities. Thus last weekend, when he surprised me with a birthday weekend away in Mexico City, a place I’ve been telling him I wanting to go to for the better part of a decade, but briefly expressed concern that this wasn’t the “best” time to get away, I was like “SHUT UP WHICH AIRPORT I ALREADY CALLED AN UBER.” The more dramatic the mess, the more dramatic the escape hatch required, right?
Last week, because we are edgy, rebellious and pretty much the dictionary definition of renegades, we broke the law. We decided we’d had enough of having an outdoor space and no fire-breathing apparatus to exercise our American-given right to burn food on in the summer months and brought home the tiniest, safest and most docile grill ever manufactured, basically the fluffy kitten of the barbecue landscape. As I figure we’re going to be asked to remove it any moment now, all of my previous summer goals have be redirected to the following: enjoying every second of it while it lasts. We are going to grill everything. I am halfway to fulfilling my fantasy of setting all my food on fire.
If you needed another reason to add to the list of why you’d probably never want to be cornered at a party with me, I should tell you I’m more than a normal level of fascinated by the intersection of tomatoes and cucumbers in salads around the world. And I want to talk about it.
Me and this salad go way back. In 2007 — you know, back in the days when I imagine that all of our conversations might have gone “What should we do today?” “Oh, I don’t know, anything we want.” — I had this salad at the then new-ish Spotted Pig in the West Village and attempted to recreate it. It didn’t go well and because I was as mature then as I am now, I had a tantrum and didn’t get back to it until 2009, at which point I made a roasted carrot dish with a bit of cumin and topped it with avocado slices that had been tossed with some lemon and everyone was happy. However, in 2011, Jean-Georges Vongerichten published a book of his homecooking favorites including this salad, which is also on the menu at ABC Kitchen and in 2012, April Bloomfield included the recipe in her first cookbook and I’ve thought it might be nice to circle back to these more complexly spiced and textured versions.
Several years ago, a harebrained idea to make a wedding cake for friends led to me sharing a picture of the cake layers stacked up in my freezer, ready for their big debut. You’d think people would comment on the cake, right? Nope. More like: “You have an empty freezer. You have an empty freezer. How?” “I didn’t know it was possible to empty a freezer.” And I was all “People have full freezers? We just use it for vodka and ice cube trays.” Oh Deb of 2008. Come see your circa-2016 freezer and witness the havoc 8 years and 2 kids have wreaked on it.
As a person who at least two to three nights a week doesn’t understand why we plan menus and grocery lists when we could just be eating an egg on toast, scrambled, crispy, poached or soft-cooked and smashed, I, too, would expect this site to have more frittata recipes than it does. (It has one. Sorry.) But I don’t make them much at all because they always feel like a lot of work for something that’s essentially a baked omelet with none of the 2-minute butter-drenched speed of a French one. (We’re also on an omelet kick.)