It Was Bound to Happen

October 11, 2011

Here was my Monday.  Up, showered, me dressed, boys dressed, me fed, boys fed, Graham’s lunch box packed.  8:45 drove Spencer to preschool, and 9:10 got Graham on the bus to his first grade class.  Sent a few emails and then 10:00 headed to Book Larder for a staff meeting.  Then worked for a few hours doing book related things.  3:30 went home to wait for Graham to get off the bus, gave him a snack, and then 4:15 drove him to an art class he recently started taking.  4:30 went to pick up Spencer at school and took him home for a snack and a few minutes of play for him and a few minutes of cooking prep for me.  5:45 got him in the car and we went to get Graham.  6:10 back to the house and started cooking.

I made bean and cheese tacos for the boys which means making guacamole for Graham to put on his.  I envisioned a miso soup with lots of vegetables for Randy and me, and also roasted some tofu because I was craving it.  And a salad – we have salad almost every night.  I had pulled a stick of butter out of the fridge early in the morning with a plan to make cookies and I resisted the urge to give up on that plan and got them going and in the oven.  So, simultaneously, I was making soup, cookies, tacos, guacamole, salad dressing, roasted onions, and roasted tofu.  After a busy day, one of these things was bound to not go right.

Fortunately, it was just the soup.  Everyone got dropped off and picked up at the right times and in the right places and we had other things to eat, so I tried to be philosophical about the soup.  It tasted fine but I did not cook the vegetables enough and crunchy is not the right adjective I like to use when describing soup.  Having something not turn out made me realize how infrequent it is in my house to have a cooking fail.  I’m not patting myself on the back here, I’m just observing.  I cook a lot.  All that practice comes in handy.

The highlight of our meal was the salad.  Last week, when I was working at Book Larder, Tara stopped in.  She mentioned that she was the lucky recipient of 20 pounds of Asian pears and did I have any ideas of how to use them.  Immediately I thought of a salad that I used to make years ago, back when Asian pears were harder to find.  I got the recipe from some magazine and, rather than trying to remember where, or even looking online, I decided to re-create it.  I’m kind of in love with this dressing.  The whole salad really.  The only downside is I only used one Asian pear so I don’t think I helped Tara with her problem.

One Year Ago:  Bittersweet Chocolate Pudding Pie
Two Years Ago:  Holly B’s Praline Almond Scones
Three Years Ago:  Quick Olive and Cheese Bread

Arugula Salad with Asian Pear and Roasted Onions
Dana Treat Original
Serves 2 (generously)

You will have dressing left over which is a great thing.  Toss it with soba noodles, use it as a dip for vegetables or satay, or just drink it.  :)

For the Dressing and Marinade
1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
¼ cup tahini
2 tbsp. soy sauce
2 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
1 tsp. chile paste
1 tbsp. toasted sesame oil
2 tbsp. canola oil
2 tbsp. water
2 tsp. sugar

For the salad
1 medium red onion, halved, peeled and cut into thick slices
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated
½ an avocado, cut into bite size chunks
1 Asian pear, cored, and cut into matchsticks
4 ounces arugula
Sea salt

Place all the ingredients for the dressing/marinade in a blender.  Blend until very smooth.

Place the onions in an oven proof baking dish, pour a couple tablespoons of the marinade over top and toss well to coat.  Set aside and allow to marinate for 30-60 minutes.  Meanwhile, preheat oven to 425ºF.  Place onions in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, tossing once, or onions are soft and browned in spots.

Place the grated carrot, avocado, and pear in a salad bowl then place the arugula on top.  Sprinkle the leaves with a pinch of sea salt.  Drizzle a couple of tablespoons of dressing over top (you won’t need much).  Toss and add more dressing to taste.  Serve the onions along side the salad.


  1. This sounds marvelous Dana. I will have to keep an eye out for Asian pears. I wish I lived close enough to stop by the book larder. What a fun place!

    Comment by Phoo-d — October 11, 2011 @ 1:10 pm

  2. This is my most faavorite type of meal. One that I could seriously go to second base with.


    Comment by Bev Weidner — October 11, 2011 @ 1:22 pm

  3. Thank you! This looks wonderful–and I will even get over my fear of tahini to make it.
    I think my pear solution might be to give some to you! You clearly have got all the secrets :-)

    Comment by tea_austen — October 11, 2011 @ 5:30 pm

  4. I’m amazed that with all that went on in your day, ONLY the soup went wrong! That’s pretty rock star. If it were me…I would have forgotten one of my children somewhere at some point.

    You know I’ve never actually had an Asian pear…need to fix that!

    Comment by Joanne — October 11, 2011 @ 6:10 pm

  5. Oh my gosh! I am exhausted from your schedule- you are wonder woman!! Your salad is gorgeous- and BTW- it’s Full Moon, lots of crazy things happening now! Loove your blog!


    Comment by Nettie Moore — October 11, 2011 @ 7:32 pm

  6. This looks lovely, Dana! It was so nice seeing you at Book Larder last week, and I’m so looking forward to making it a more regular occurrence. The breakdown of your day made me tired just looking at it…isn’t it amazing how efficient we can be when there really is little other choice? See you soon. xox.

    Comment by Megan Gordon — October 11, 2011 @ 9:59 pm

  7. You are barreling full-steam ahead into work/family/school/activities/cooking chaos, and I want to offer you permission to screw up on occasion, in case you don’t offer yourself that same leeway.

    That said, it sounds like you took the crunchy soup in stride, which is commendable. Next time this happens (not that it will, but, you know, maybe it will?) just drain the soup of its broth, pile the crunchy remnants on a plate, and pretend you made a second salad. Problem solved.

    Comment by cheryl — October 11, 2011 @ 11:39 pm

  8. I thought I was the only one juggling 6 things at once in the kitchen although I don’t think I do quite so much at once – normally 4 things at a time. Sorry the soup didn’t turn out the way you wanted but as long as the cookies and kids were ok – all is good – no? Seriously,kudos to keeping things all on track. I think when you write it all down it looks overwhelming but normally it’s just what you do with maybe a couple of extra stops. Which reminds me – must assemble my boy’s swimming bag for tomorrow.

    Comment by Charlotte — October 12, 2011 @ 5:10 am

  9. Asian pears are my favorite, love this salad!

    Comment by Maria — October 12, 2011 @ 1:54 pm

  10. This is so beautifully plated, Dana! And that dressing sounds amazing, I’ll have to try it. Good luck with Book Larder this week!

    Comment by Clara — October 12, 2011 @ 3:37 pm

  11. I love the sound of this dressing, even though I’m not a fan of pears of any stripe. Apples would make a good sub for me. And good luck with the shop!!! I’m hoping to come to Seattle sometime in November, so I’ll definitely stop by!

    Comment by kickpleat — October 17, 2011 @ 5:04 pm

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