Warm salad with roasted mushrooms and tiny roasted potatoes and tarragon-white wine dressing

salad-isaacIsn’t it funny how big events seem to go so quickly in other people’s lives? They fly by in bright fleeting flashes of significant moments. You hear somebody is pregnant, and next you know they have a baby. None of the seemingly endless slow growth and change, the day-in-and-day-out joy and discomfort and bewilderment. To hear about somebody else’s trip abroad is planning, postcards, and stories when they get home; they’re back before you knew they were gone. They talk of going to college, you blink, and they have a degree and a job.

I suppose our memories of our own lives are like this as well. You never remember the hard work and the tedium, the work to raise each day above the tedious. You don’t remember the hours of sitting and waiting, between events, soaked in anticipation or recollection. When my boys were little I was sure I would remember every single moment, every gurgle and wave of the chubby little fist. Of course I don’t! They’re all mixed together in a sleep-deprived slurry of good intentions. I mostly remember the moments we photographed, which is why we take photographs, after all.

I love this quote about Rupert Brooke, “He was magnificently unprepared for the long littleness of life.” Not me! I’m ready! This is one test I’m completely prepared for! I love the littleness of each day, the petty pace of each tomorrow! Because, honestly, that pace is picking up, it’s not creeping any more, it’s flying, and I’m limping after it, trying to catch up. I want something big to work towards, of course, but thank god for the small things to look forward to each day. The cup of coffee, the making of a meal, the eating of a meal, reading with the boys, Malcolm’s happy walk, Clio’s sweet grabby paws, David putting his arm around me in the middle of the night, Isaac’s lovely silly songs, walks to school and home again, Clio leaping at us with frantic kisses every single time we walk in the door, inevitable spring, day after day, season after season, year after year.

I used to wish time away a lot when I was younger. I was so eager to get on to the next thing, and I’d wish away large chunks of days and weeks. I was thinking the other day that I don’t do that any more; there aren’t enough hours in the day for all of the foolish little things I want to get done. Where am I going with this? I don’t know!! Another incoherent ramble brought to your by your friends at The Ordinary. It’s a drizzly day, is all, and it’s January, and that’s the kind of mood I’m in!

mushroom-potato-saladWe’ve decided to eat mostly vegetables for a few weeks. I mean, we always eat mostly vegetables, because we’re vegetarians, but we’ve decided not to combine them with pastry and, you know, all that stuff, but to make them the stars of the show. So… soups and stews and warm salads like this one. This was delicious! So tasty that I couldn’t save any to photograph prettily the next day. It involves a bed of baby spinach and arugula topped with tiny roasted potatoes, crispy roasted mushrooms, crunchy walnuts, smoky smoked gouda, and a dressing of tarragon, shallots, garlic and white wine. Crunchy, soft, warm, cool, Yum!

Here’s Everyday by Yo La Tengo.

10 oz mushrooms, cut into quarters
1 t sage
about 2 cups tiny potatoes, or larger potatoes cut into 1/2 inch chunks
2 t rosemary
olive oil to coat (1 or 2 tablespoons for both the mushrooms and the potatoes)
4 cups baby spinach or baby arugula or a mixture of both
1/2 cup walnuts toasted and chopped
salt and freshly ground pepper


2 T olive oil
1 small shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup white wine
1 T fresh tarragon, chopped

Preheat the oven to 425.

Toss the mushrooms with enough olive oil to lightly coat each and the sage. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Toss the potatoes with the rosemary and enough olive oil to lightly coat each, and spread in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 25 to 35 minutes, until the mushrooms and potatoes are browned and crispy on the outside, but soft inside.

Meanwhile, warm the olive oil in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic, and cook until they’re brown and a bit crispy, but watch carefully that they don’t burn. Add the wine and cook for about five minutes till it’s reduced and thickened. Stir in tarragon.

Meanwhile, arrange the spinach and arugula on a pretty platter. Scatter mushrooms and potatoes over. Pour over the wine and tarragon and toss slightly. Top with walnuts and slivers of smoked gouda, and a shake of salt and a grind of pepper.


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