Shaved Beet Salad with Herbed Ricotta Salata

There was a blur of commotion, stretching the last few weeks.  During the final days, I simply went into auto-pilot, waking up early, working late into the night, barely coming up for air.  Checking off task after task from the never-ending list.  Relying on my friends and family collaboratively in ways I’d never had to before.

Two days before, my closest girlfriends showed up in town and we celebrated.  We drank wine and snacked on cookies, strawberries, and salty chips and salsa.  It was oddly the perfect combination.  We went for a day-before run together and then ate blueberry chocolate pancakes for breakfast.  We celebrated with cider and an Irish-themed dinner with our closest friends and family.

And then the day came and it was a whirlwind.  I remember what I was doing every hour, but as if I wasn’t truly there.  I remember every feeling, every teary moment, but until I see the pictures to affirm or disaffirm, I know I missed many special details.  There was simply too much to take in.  Too many good people who came to celebrate with us.  And then we were married!

In a moment, all the weight of tasks, of expectations, and cooperating with a multitude of time-consuming, albeit awesome people were lifted.  W and I can now come home together and relax, tend our burgeoning garden, and eat salads (because that’s what you do when it finally feels like summer!)

This salad is one I think fitting for our new roles.  It’s fancy and simple, with strong, earthy flavors of raw beets, herbs, and cheese. It’s a grown-up salad, because well, now that we’re married, we might sometimes want to act like adults!

Shaved Beet Salad with Herbed Ricotta Salata, adapted from Eat Well Feel Well
4 medium size beets, tops and bottoms removed and shaved or sliced as thinly as possible
1 small handful lemon verbena
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1-2 Tbs. fresh orange juice
3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and ground pepper to taste
Herbed Ricotta Salata

Slice or shave the beets paper thin.  Put them in a small serving bowl.  Add the herbs, garlic, oil, juices, and spices.  Serve with a sprinkle of cheese.

To make Herbed Cheese:
1/2 cup ricotta salata, crumbled
2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
1 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. fresh or 1/4 tsp. dried thyme
2 tsp. fresh lemon verbena
1/4 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
Pinch of salt

  Mix together all cheese ingredients together until thoroughly combined.  Feel free to mash the cheese a bit.

What’s Blossoming?

It seems much has been happening in life.  I went from a few months where I questioned daily my place in the world, where I had hours to reflect, ponder my needs, desires, and motive–where I simply wanted only to get out there and create, to do anything–everything!  And now, what I would give for a few days of solace and peace and stillness in my heart to let my thoughts blossom.

At the end of the day, I feel my wishes and dreams are like bitty spring buds, attempting to break through the cold, damp medium of this slow spring.

Foremost in my heart is the desire to find the job–the one I truly love, and to feel like I’ve found my place in the world where I can call mine.  I realize at this time in our society, merely having a job can seem like an accomplishment.  But for me, the girl who had always been so clear in what I wanted, loving every moment of my work is essential.

Another blossom slowly sprouting upwards is that of my lovely William.  Our new life together.  I say new in that I feel our relationship is merely in its infancy.  We’ve only known each other (almost) two years–and yet it is so clear in my mind that I’m ready to spend the rest of my life with him.  Every moment we don’t see eye to eye is time I frustratingly wish we could take back and replace with treasured snachets of whimsy.

I have one more snippet of blossoming spring to share and these are perhaps more dear only because they are tangible and a sign of warmer days to come–basil babies.  I must admit I’ve watched them grow with such anticipation that they practically each have names!  Perhaps this is what happens when they are given such pampered beginnings–placed right on top of the heater, in the windowsill, with full blasts of springtime sunshine, without a care for the bitter wind and rain!

And yet–this is how we all should be, slowly springing upwards always–never a thought for life’s adversities, not a doubt that all will always be exactly as it was meant.