Blog, do you know what I mean when I use the phrase marriage kitchen? Probably not, because I made it up. A marriage kitchen is one in which there has clearly been some registering going on. You might find fancy knives, a Le Creuset, a food processor, microplanes, a mandoline, a giant cast iron skillet, and the obvious: Kitchen Aid Mixer. One or two of these things probably just indicates that you’re dealing with an adult who cooks. All or several, however, and you know that there has been some serious cheating registering at some point. (Or that the kitchen-owner is wealthy, but most of my friends are teachers, social workers, and graduate students. So.)
I recently had one of those screw-all-you-married-people-and-your-fancy-ass-kitchen-tools-I-can’t-trick-people-into-buying-me-despite-being-as-much-of-an-adult-as-you-no-fair! moments at a married-couple-friends’ house. I don’t want to sound like a materialistic kitchen-supply-grubbing kind of person. I don’t consider myself one; you can decide for yourselves if I am or not. I am, however, someone who passionately appreciates things that work well; that accomplish efficiently, even gracefully, the tasks they are meant to accomplish. Inversely, I am also someone who succumbs to blind rage when dealing with crappy equipment. Buying ten of the same cheap thing and throwing them all into a landfill does not help anyone. Someday I will tell the story of my hand mixer’s gingerbread-induced asthma attack and death, my ensuing temper tantrum, and much later my dear parents buying me Simon Darre the Kitchen Aid for my birthday. (Classic White, if you’re wondering). I think I wept, but you’ll have to ask my roommate at the time because I blacked out with joy. (Not really. I didn’t weep either. But I did smile and yell and possibly jump up and down in the girliest manner.) Do any of you make bread? Do any of you know how easy a bread hook makes making bread? Glory.
Anyway, a while ago (yeah, I’m slow) lovely new friends had a few people over for a fantastic Alfredo pasta meal, full of gluten in conjunction with my return the land of the (truly) living. (I gave up gluten for a month. Now I’ve given that up.) I was told to bring a salad, but was obviously running late and needed to slice some tomatoes at their house.
Enter: the best kitchen tool I’ve ever encountered. My new friends the Dahms are really good at a lot of things—conversation, humor, hospitality, decorating…picking friends—but they’re especially good at cooking freaking awesome food. Now I’ve learned their secret: a knife that slices for you. It’s like the Sorcerer’s Apprentice, or Molly Weasley, or the three fairy godmothers. Of course it’s Wusthof and probably a million dollars, as it would embarrass even any other Wusthof knife I’ve encountered (in other people’s kitchens), but that just means it knows its own worth. So, if you’re wondering what to get me for Christmas…get me that knife. I could make potato chips! Or the Ratatouille ratatouille! Without a mandoline! Which I also don’t have!
Onto the salad…I made an adapted version of this Barefoot Contessa salad that my mom told me about because I thought it would be nice paired with a heavy Alfredo meal. It’s the simplest, most delicious salad ever. Arugula might be my favorite lettuce. Lemon is my new favorite acid in dressings of any kind. It got reviews almost as good as my review of that knife.
- a package of prewashed arugula
- one heirloom tomato (get real, it was a regular beefsteak tomato)
- a few ounces of Reggiano cheese
- two lemons
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Borrow the best knife in the world, cut your tomato in half, and slice it thinner than you ever thought possible.
- Juice the lemons (you should get about 1/4 cup) and whisk with the olive oil, salt, and pepper.
- Toss the arugula with the tomato and as much dressing as you’d like.
- Use a vegetable peeler to top the salad with lots of shaved Reggiano cheese. It’s a little milder than Parmesan. (I just got it instead because it was a little cheaper.)
- Buy that knife.