I made carrot salad the other day–one of my very favorites.
a variation on a French theme. something referred to, sometimes, as salade rapide. slow food whipped up quickly.
sometimes, it features raw beets as well as carrots (a glorious, jewel-toned variation). sometimes, it has pistachios (mine had walnuts, either addition has a toothsome richness that balances out a dish at once complex and simple; a few ingredients muddling the distinction between earthy and sweet).
it’s a wildly pleasant thing, carrot salad. mineral, crunchy and juicy, sharp with coarse black pepper and mustard vinaigrette, boasting of an entire bunch of parsley, whose verdant freshness balances out the root vegetables. (parsley just tastes green.)
carrot salad is a color story, too–a bright little bowl of winter & spring, roots & herbs, of contrast. it’s lovely that you can see the dish’s balance, just as you can taste it.
lately, balance has struck me as interdisciplinary, cross-sensory.
watched Antonioni’s Red Desert the other night, and found its colors suggestively mesh & viscerally collide with each scene’s mood, its ambling dialogue & piercing post-industrial sounds.
the film precariously balances quiet & loud, but mostly is a piece of remarkable visual storytelling–it is a moving painting.
also read this interview with David Lynch in AnOther magazine, in which he discusses the relationships between film & painting, or, for our purposes, between color & sound or taste or mood. between the visual & the aural, or the imaged & the imagined).
that’s the thing about balance, and the relationship between the sensory & the cerebral: these things have a way of wanting to be; and, perhaps more importantly, it’s not intellectual, but intuitive.
so, no recipe for carrot salad–one that’s set in stone doesn’t exist. you create the balance, by knowing your ingredients, by tasting and looking for something that’s a composed mess, a garble of winter & spring. no spelunking the philosophical depths of Antonioni. sometimes, you just let a thing of beauty and balance be.
today, I made a big batch of rice with cilantro, scallions and steamed spinach; some olive oil, european butter, plenty of salt + pepper.
whipped out julia child’s quintessential tome to remind myself of how, exactly, to cook rice, a ragged copy of mastering the art of french cooking, dog-eared and stained despite being used mostly to remind myself, over and over again, of how, exactly, to make homemade mayonnaise.
the rice is to be had with roasted chicken and a smattering of feta, the former being something I’m proficient in making myself without the aid of julia, but is sometimes–on cool winter nights that edge on balmy, that speak of spring–still more satisfying purchased from the neighborhood mexican diner two city blocks away, a hidden gem unchanged by time and boasting the finest roast chicken in town, chicken crispy-skinned and so tender it falls of the bone if you look at it funny.
chicken & rice. this is the food of finally, in late January, pausing to reflect upon the past year and the upcoming one. the food of slowing down, of looking up, of nostalgia and of the most basic makings of a happy, productive life–ingredients for contentedness that will never, blissfully, thankfully, change.
film stills from amelie.
sweet-salty irish butter on a bagel.
oh, and buttery avocado mimicking the cool, smooth mouthfeel, with plenty of kosher salt, cracked pepper, and sambal oelek–the king of asian hot sauces, people.
rising early for the first time in weeks, to sun and blue skies, awake.
cream in my coffee. sun in the sky, you know how I feel.
digging the typography and general graphic genius of alaina sullivan right now, and, to the utmost, the work of sign-painter & illustrator extraordinaire stephen powers–do yourself a favor and check out his street art. fuzzy feels, wonder feels, wondrous feels.
have a lovely day, kiddos.