I love life’s simple pleasures: the colors of autumn, sipping a great cup of coffee, putzing about the house in my crappy old blue plaid pajama pants.
In my own life, I find that I am constantly striving for simplicity. I want to take the time to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. And to be quite honest, I’m failing miserably.
My life isn’t simple, at all.
I’m always busy.
I’ve probably said this before, but I’ve discovered that cooking can be extremely therapeutic. When I step into the kitchen, everything feels different. I fall into a certain rhythm while chopping, slicing, and stirring. I find enjoyment and fulfillment in tweaking and adjusting, tasting and perfecting.
Maybe it’s cheesy to admit, but the kitchen is where I find my sense of simplicity. Specifically, when I cook food and share it with others, somehow everything just feels right. And sometimes, this feeling translates directly into the actual food on the plate. When life feels busy and overwhelming, I’m often compelled to make food that is remarkably simple and beautiful.
This is one of those things. It isn’t fancy and it isn’t complicated.
It’s simplicity on a plate.
It’s everything I’m striving for, and not quite achieving.
I’ll get there eventually.
SHAVED APPLE, FENNEL, AND CELERY SALAD
Note: For some reason, I really wanted a creamy dressing for this salad so I used a little mayo. But I think it would be quite nice with just oil & vinegar. Also, I tossed some dried lovage into the dressing but I didn’t include it in the recipe as it’s not a terribly common pantry item. At the last second, I tossed a few toasted pecans into salad and it was the best decision I’ve made in awhile. You should try it.
1 apple (current favorite apple varietals: Honeycrisp, Pink Lady, Elstar)
3 stalks of celery
1 small fennel bulb (with fronds)
1.5 teaspoons olive oil
1.5 teaspoons mayo
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
salt & pepper, to taste
Using a mandoline (or knife or food processor or magic!), thinly shave the fennel bulb and celery stalks (reserve the fennel fronds for the dressing). With a paring knife, cut the apple into thin matchsticks. (I like to slice the apple with the mandoline and then use a knife to julienne the apple into smaller pieces.) Gently toss the apple, celery, and fennel together in a bowl.
Mince the fennel fronds until you have roughly 1 tablespoon. Stir together the olive oil, mayo, vinegar, minced fennel fronds, salt, and pepper (and lovage, if using). Taste, and adjust the portions if necessary. (I happen to like a lot of pepper.)
Gently toss the salad with the dressing, just to coat. Serve at room temperature. Garnish with fennel fronds and toasted pecans.
Note: This salad keeps for about a day in the fridge, but it really tastes best the day you make it. Enjoy!