What can be simpler than a sandwich or salad? Isn't a salad itself the essence of simple living?
Kind of. The lettuce you can cut right from your garden. The onions you can pull out of your garden (though mine didn't grow this year). But there's one thing that doesn't grow in your garden - salad dressing.
I have to admit, I'm a sauce kind of guy. Sandwiches and hamburgers are usually dripping with mustard and ketchup (and sometimes mayo) and salads are usually drenched with dressing.
But then a fascinating thing happened - a few friends of mine started eating salads without dressing. For me, this was a shocking idea. Salad without dressing? Absurd! But then I started thinking about it. What parts of a salad are simple and what parts are not. Well, the dressing isn't. It's also the worst part for you, and the part that is the greatest distance from the garden.
But here's the deal - I can't do dry lettuce. I just can't. So I had to find a simpler way.
And then it dawned on me (you all are probably smart enough to figure it out - I'm a city boy, and these things take some thinking for me).
Strawberries are one of the closest things that nature has to a sauce. They are juicy and sweet, and most importantly, liquidy. So, I tried to make a dry salad with only lettuce, onion, and sliced strawberries. And you know what? It worked! I had to use several strawberries, but, as long as I got a slice or two with each bite, the salad tasted pretty good!
If you were too desperate for a sauce, you could probably go a little further and actually crush the strawberries into a sauce, but I found that just having them there, sliced, was sufficient.
So there you have it - lettuce, onions, and strawberries - a royal, and simple, meal. Little or no preparation, just pulling things out of the garden and into a bowl.
This same concept also works for sandwiches. For sandwiches, I also like using avocados the same way I use strawberries. They are themselves a sauce. In fact, just a little rough handling of avocados is basically all it takes to make guacamole.
And who doesn't like a guacamole sandwich?
Tasty... and simple.
I don't like cucumbers, but they are very easy to grow. However, I do like pickles, but a lot of people made pickling sound hard. However, it's super-easy and super-quick with the right recipe. This is a modification of this recipe.
I got two small cucumbers from the garden. They were probably half-sized. I only picked them because I was impatient to wait for the rest of them. I then sliced them thinly. I also sliced a half of a small onion. I put these things in a small jar.
I then took 1/2 cup of vinegar and mixed it with 1/2 cup of sugar, and added just a little bit of salt, mustard seed, ground turmeric, ground cloves, and dill. I then boiled it until the sugar disappeared.
Once the sugar was dissolved, I just poured my stuff over my cucumbers, closed the lid to the jar, and stuck it in the refrigerator.
24 hours later...pickles!
I wonder, however, if all of the spices are needed. I think next time I'm going to go super-simple and see what it tastes like with just vinegar, sugar, and salt.