My husband and I took a trip to Tacoma recently to visit my family. We didn’t have much in mind in terms of plans, so when it turned out my aunt wasn’t feeling well, we happily took over dinner duty. My husband, who can never do anything halfway, took our meal to a whole new level of delicious.
We started with the several pounds of beef ribs that my aunt had planned on making and added to them: a huge pan of mac and cheese, green beans with crispy bacon, roasted new potatoes and (to add some semblance of health) a green salad.
To make the salad as interesting as its accompaniments, we jazzed it up with plenty of fresh herbs (parsley, chives, tarragon) and a lemon cucumber from my grandma’s garden. Deciding it still lacked some zing, we raided the last of the blueberries from one of her bushes and quick pickled them.
The “recipe” is simple — combine water, red wine vinegar and sugar using the basic ratio of 3:2:1, heating until the sugar has dissolved. Cool slightly and pour over berries. Add a few springs of thyme, a bay leaf and a clove. Let sit for an hour or longer.
Once you drain the liquid, you can use it to make a vinaigrette for the salad. We started with a portion of the liquid and added minced garlic, a pinch of finely chopped fresh thyme and EVO. I only wish we had had some pecorino or Parmesan cheese but I can say it was still a mighty tasty salad.
I’d call this a successful last-minute meal! (*Not pictured was dessert: my favorite summer standby, mixed berry spoonbread, with fresh whipped cream. Yum!)