A few weeks ago, on my way back from the New Jersey shore, I was at my mother’s house, upstate. Given that I had just spent the week cooking for a crew of thirteen or so, there was only one thing for me to do: have an impromptu dinner party.
It was a hot and sunny day, and I happened to have texted a sister of mine who lives in Manhattan to let her know that we were back. She recently got a new car, so she volunteered to drive up to the house for the afternoon. She brought her family, and a cousin who was staying with them. We were nine total.
As I was on my way back from the beach, I had a few things with me that needed to be used up. I always travel with a cooler, and I had a nice chunk of feta cheese, some freshly washed parsley, and a ripe Jersey tomato that I had been hoarding while on the beach with my marauding teenager nieces.
Not that those young women didn’t provide me with something in return for feeding them—I learned, for example about the film “Project X,” about a high-school party gone wrong. It came out in March, cost 12 million dollars to make, and grossed more than a hundred million. How did I miss that? (All I saw in my neighborhood at the time were posters for “The Lorax”; perhaps those advertising/movie folks know what they are doing.)
I digress, but I guess the point here is that I love having people and family around. I once read a New Yorker profile of Al Gore that told me more about myself then it did about the former Vice President. Apparently, an extrovert is someone (such as President Clinton) who after going into a crowd and meeting people comes out energized. An introvert (such as Al Gore) is one who goes into the crowd and comes out exhausted. The more people at my table, the better I feel.
For a few days prior to the meal I had been trying to figure out how to use up the feta, parsely, and tomato. A simple salad came to mind. I tossed in some red onion and black olives, and a summery side dish was born. I was happy to feed it to the gang.
Feta Parsley Tomato Salad
- Nice hunk of feta cheese, cut into cubes
- Half a head or so of parsley, washed, dried, and chopped
- A tomato or two, chopped
- 1/2 red onion, diced
- A handful of pitted black olives, to taste
Combine the ingredients in a bowl and dress with olive oil and white-wine or plain white vinegar.