Tuesday, October 12, 2010

My Idea of Fast Food

Monday was one of those full days that ran a little longer than planned. I had monthly financial reports to prepare, and Dave had a dentist appointment. We got home a full half hour later than usual--charmed by the autumnal views during our drive, but famished. That kind of situation used to be a recipe for culinary compromise in the form of ordered pizza or a bowl of cereal. Luckily, that day I had a plan.

To be honest, I had had no plan earlier in the day. For some reason, even though dinner is my hobby that usually gets hours of menu dreaming and scheming each Sunday afternoon, I had been plumb blocked on the subject of Monday's dinner. What I had were some options floating around the back billboard of my mind and some trust that I would figure out something. That trust thing is new. I'm still savoring it.

Then, in a few free minutes between finishing my reports and leaving the office to pick up Dave for his dentist visit, I indulged myself with the reading of some of my beloved blogs. That pleasure was my mealtime salvation. Farmgirl Susan had posted about a salad she'd been wallowing in for days that instantly made me say to myself "That's what I want for dinner tonight."

A bed of greens was topped with sliced and seared sausages, cherry tomatoes, and homemade ranch dressing, among other things. It looked hearty, satisfying, and, most important, quick. This I could pull off no matter what time we got home because I already had some romaine and homemade ranch dressing in need of using and time to hit the grocery store for tomatoes and crusty bread while Dave's pearly whites were getting their semi-annual buffing. My dinner dilemma was solved.

Now we could hold hands and enjoy the scenery on the way home, knowing that dinner was only about 15 minutes away once we hit the door--without being disappointing or nutritionally disastrous. I found some lively, mozzarella-speckled Italian style sausages that were lean and nitrite/nitrate free; greens and tomatoes contain actual vitamins; and homemade ranch dressing doesn't have all the unpronounceable chemicals of commercial dressings. Add a glass of red wine (for the cardiovascular benefits, of course), and you've got a quick, hearty, and palate pleasing dinner.

And I must say that the salad was indeed hearty--perfect for the man at the table and for the season. He man enjoyed the heft of meat and creamy dressing and lots o' flavor. She enjoyed the spiciness of the sausages balancing the assertiveness of the fresh garlic she had used in the dressing. The components and flavors nodded at fall but accommodated the unseasonably warm temperatures we were actually having. It was just a spot on salad for our day.

A while back I read a quote from some chef saying that his idea of fast food was an omelet with fresh chives. I don't know that I would have thought of putting sausages in a salad, but I'm awfully glad that Farmgirl Susan did because an easy, lively, filling dinner like that is my idea of fast food.

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