Neko’s Perfect Salad
Neko is into cooking. She has been helping me in the kitchen for years, and when she was three, she attended a local cooking school for kids. That school went out of business, sadly. Actually, it went on the market first, and luckily I didn’t have enough money to buy it or I might have. Which would have been a super fun but not at all intelligent investment. I was able to find her a cooking camp to attend this summer where she made everything from homemade bread and handmade noodles to dumplings and several vegetable dishes.
I don’t let Neko help in the kitchen as often as I should. It’s obviously much easier and faster to just do things myself. I don’t always seek out her assistance, but I do sometimes feel guilty about that later, if that’s worth anything. When she wants to help, I try to find at least something she can do. Like wash vegetables, if nothing else.
I hope that as Conrad gets older and is less of a handful (because right now he is almost two and an incredible handful) that the three of us can work in the kitchen together without the kids screaming and fighting, jockeying for position on the learning tower and ripping the one good vegetable brush out of each other’s hands.
We recently hit the local farmers’ market and Neko used her impressive shopping skills at the Johnson’s Backyard Organic tent, grabbing vegetables left and right. She said she wanted to make us a salad, so I let her go for it. She tossed various things in our bag, claiming she had a plan.
The next night, I set her up in the kitchen with a bowl of water, a large salad bowl, a cutting board and a plastic knife and she got to work. She washed and chopped all of the vegetables on her own. She cut a bunch of tiny carrots into chunks, tore up a head of lettuce and quartered two tomatoes, tossing it all into the large metal bowl.
Then she made a salad dressing, choosing and measuring her own ingredients and shaking it up in a plastic squeeze bottle. I must admit I did intervene here when she wanted to add butter to the dressing. I told her that butter was too solid to pour well and suggested olive oil instead. She went with the change without argument, phew.
The only hiccup was when I realized she had bought two tiny pink grapefruit at the market, thinking they were oranges. We cut them open and tasted them, but she decided to leave them out and save them for virgin salty dogs instead.
We two adults and Neko ate the salad (Conrad still shuns raw vegetables … and most cooked vegetables, to be honest) and it was tasty. I think I may make my own version of Neko’s creamy dressing in the future. It was surprisingly good.
I asked Neko to name her salad so I could share the recipe, and she said she wanted to name it “Perfect Salad.” Gee, I guess I don’t need to worry about her self esteem anytime soon.
Neko’s Perfect Salad
Make a big salad by washing and chopping as many vegetables and fruits as you like.
Make a dressing by putting two spoonfuls of mayonnaise (about 1/3 cup) and 1 large spoonful of plain Greek yogurt (about ¼ cup) in a dressing bottle with a (table)spoonful of olive oil and a table(spoonful) of white wine vinegar. Add a pinch of salt, shake it up and pour over your salad.