Where there is love there is life.Mahatma Ghandi
It stands true that there is nothing more powerful than a get together of like-minded souls. I was honored in the past week to play host to a group of people that are indeed, very special to me. They are special to me for their friendship, and they are special to me for their talents, energy, support, and most of all their desire to do something for the greater good.
After two years of working with the team at Not So Fast, I feel like just about the luckiest woman in the world to have come across so many wonderful people, and to have them in my life taking part in whatever form they are ready to help in. We are a team, and good people are worth celebrating, even if just to say thanks for being awesome. So we did.
It thought it would be fitting to plan a simple meal – resisting the temptation to impress them with fancy place settings and hard to pronounce ingredients (as much fun as I have dreaming up possibilities). I would say though that, in the end, this meal would be my black jeans and white t-shirt to the rows of pretty flowered dresses I often pass by and wish (maybe just a handful) could be mine. But flowered dresses just are not me.
We ate this simple Red Lentil Soup, and it was served with plenty of fresh crusty bread and this giant salad. It’s sorrel season here in BC, and I was thrilled to walk the 10 meters to my neighborhood roundabout and pick some just an hour before serving.
For those who’ve never had it, sorrel is a wonderful spring green that resembles spinach a little, grows freely, and tastes sour. It’s high in vitamin C and was pretty much our standard salad fare as kids growing up (we rolled up whole leaves at the dinner table and squinted our eyes while we ate them). Paired with crunchy fresh romaine and fresh green pea shoots, this was about as fresh and springy a salad as I could imagine.
Just add bread & cheese & wine and call it a night. Right? Well that is indeed what we did.
Perhaps the best part of the menu (never mind, this IS the best part of the menu) was a chance to share my latest favorite salad dressing. It’s ridiculously simple, and just about the least expected combo you could imagine.
Just 3 magical ingredients that most people stock in their kitchens. No mess with salt & dijon & sweetener. No blending & no noise, and best of all no clean up. Just a clean jar, some fresh greens, and you. Here is our salad de-constructed, and as usual the possibilities here are always endless. But once you discover this dressing I don’t think you’ll ever go back, it’s that good.
Less fussy & fancy entertaining menus means more time to enjoy the pleasure of good company. More joyful gratitude in the simple things means more enjoying what there is, instead of wishing for what there’s not. Fewer dishes on the table means more chance for each dish to shine – so showcasing beautiful foods in season is what a beautiful meal is all about.
More time with those you love means more connecting on levels in-depth opposed to the surface. More focus on freshness means less clutter on the mind and on the table. More simple & thoughtful entertaining means affordable gatherings are easy, without all the pressure & pretension of show.
3 Ingredient Soy Balsamic Dressing:
- (1) cup olive oil
- (1/2) cup balsamic vinegar*
- (3-4) tbsp soy sauce or tamari (or to taste)
Simply measure out your ingredients in a clean jar or container and stir with a fork or a whisk. You can also add the lid and give the whole jar a vigorous shake. This dressing is unexpectedly amazing and goes with everything: steamed veggies, pasta salad, beans & rice, you name it. I’ve fallen in love with its bold flavors and simplicity….it will be featured in my next recipe too.
*It is somewhat important here to use a decent balsamic (but don’t go crazy). Some cheaper or more ‘sour’ vinegars can come off too harsh here. As with most things, the better quality vinegar is more expensive, but goes farther in the end and creates a much better experience all around. Mid-range is fine, just not cheap. Never cheap.
Raw vegetable salads are so beautiful when kept simple and color is key. My fave is mixing 2 or 3 contrasting greens with a few colored vegetables such as bell peppers & radishes (inspired by my girlfriend Janna) as I did here. Top with lightly toasted almonds or seeds and any salad gets instantly upped in appeal. Of course a ripe avocado wouldn’t hurt either. Avocado never hurts anything though (as evidenced by my last post & my Instagram feed).
Nothing makes a meal more memorable than the company with which it is enjoyed. I am beyond honored to know such amazing people and to share in the simple & perfect beauty of good works, and good friendship.
If you’ve got a special group of folks in your life (who doesn’t?), don’t let expense keep you from getting together. Share in the work, and share in the fun. Keep it simple. But above all, do it, don’t wait. It’s so worth it.