There has always been a part of me that has been drawn, like a bumble bee pulled toward floral nectar, to the sickeningly sweet feeling that accompanies nostalgia. If you were to see what I brought with me to Florida when I relocated back in June, you would find fewer things, and the most gem-like of memories. Think: champagne bottles from times you made important friends, laughing Buddha knick knacks discovered at Goodwill, stenciled swear words, and a 45 featuring the most nonsensical Christmas song ever.
Admittedly, I have been a little distraught (quite possibly the understatement of the century) over the things I let go of. My favorite Gustav Klimt painting, for example, couldn’t top my Matisse collection, and had to move on to a dear friend’s loving home. I miss the firm mattress (I’m weird) that I picked out for myself post-college. I miss all the cooking utensils that had enabled me to make all the things I made when I started this blog. I miss, above all else, my collection of books: fiction, nonfiction, cooking, and otherwise. I am sure you are reading this and wondering why I didn’t take this stuff with me. Answer: because it exceeded the 100 pound limit of excess weight that allowed me to ship my car.
If you know me well, then you have heard me say the words, “Such is life,” many times. It has become a mantra in my experience of the mundane, and it reminds me to free myself from my attachment to how I think my life should look. Sure, there are things we can control. And sure, we could probably control a little bit more than we think we can. But sometimes, the wind blows and brings with it the kind of gusts that want to blow you somewhere new, and you just have to go with it.
And then you find yourself using the cookware that you did keep (think: an unused Nordic Ware baking sheet) in your brand new apron (the one that replaced the old, stained one with its pulled fabric and stringy threads) with your favorite family members (who are visiting from Germany). You break out your walnut cutting board (that traveled in the trunk of your car with the fancy food photography lamps you got last Christmas) and you start chopping up a red onion and some carrots and then suddenly you’re doing the same to a pink lady apple before popping it all in the oven to roast into tender sweetness. You let that mixture cool while you spread some arugula on a serving platter and whip together some plain greek yogurt with lemon and scallion. You shave some fancy cheese. Then, you sit down to a family meal unlike any other you have had in years.
All of this made me start to wonder if you have to get other things out of the way so that you can make room for The Things That Are Happening, as well as their counterpart, The Things That Are Going to Happen. I hope this salad makes your list for the latter, because we ate all of it, and then licked the bowl clean.
Arugula with Roasted (Fruit and) Vegetables
Roasted Fruit and Vegetables:
1 unpeeled pink lady apple, cored and sliced into 1/2″ thick wedges
1/2 red onion, sliced into quarters
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into 1/2″ thick wedges
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
sea salt and black pepper, as desired
1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 scallion, white and light green parts only, sliced thinly
1 tsp lemon zest
sea salt and pepper, to taste
4 cups arugula
1/4 cup Raspberry Bellavitano Reserve Cheese (Gruyere or Asiago will also work), shaven or grated
Roasted Fruit and Vegetables:
Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Combine sliced apples, onion, carrots, olive oil, sea salt, and pepper on a baking sheet, ensuring everything is evenly coated. Bake for 20-25 minutes, redistributing occasionally. Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl and refrigerate until cooled completely.
Meanwhile, prepare the vinaigrette by whisking yogurt, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, scallion, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.
On a large platter, distribute 2 cups of arugula. Top with half of the roasted fruit and vegetable mixture. Top with the other 2 cups of arugula, followed by the rest of the vegetable mixture. Evenly distribute cheese on top, following by desired amount of vinaigrette (note: this recipe makes more vinaigrette than you need here, which can be used to top grilled chicken or sliced cucumber or whatever your little heart desires).