The Music is back in my kitchen.
The radio cassette that had been there for four years, and previously six at my former studio, and before that an unspecified number of years in my room at my parents´house. I was attatched to it, but the cd broke, and then the tape deck, and for years I´ve had to rely on the whim of radio djs for my music.
I´m very lazy about home improvement, but finally I dragged myself to Fnac, and elbowing my way past the throngs of ipod and mini-camera buyers, managed to bring home a new radio cassette. I know it´s something of an anachronism, but it does read Mp3 files.
I couldn´t be happier. At last I can chop mushrooms in time to Elvis, stir soups with Eartha Kitt, and wait for stock to bubble away while Batisti throbs his heart out.
One of my favourite kitchen tasks, and one that lends itself to silly arm waving and keeping time to music, is drying salad leaves in the spinner. I loathe a limp, wet lettuce, and since I think a salad spinner is a lot of fun, I insist on keeping it always to hand.
I also like to keep my salad colour coded. Green or red, but not both, which clashes with the Spanish culture of "ensalada mixta". I do love to mix different greens, though, in what I like to call, in a very dorky homage, Verdi salad. It´s not an every day salad, but one worthy of your most honoured guests.
Lettuce, preferably trocadero, although normal is fine, lamb´s lettuce, maybe one of those dark "oak´s leaf", and possibly a few spinach leaves. Ruccola, depending on what it´s going on the side of. I´m not crazy about frisé, but feel free.
The pièce de résistance is an avocado, ripe and buttery, almost dissolving into the dressing and giving the thing an unctuous kick.
I wash, shred and mix the leaves well beforehand, with the music blaring, of course. Since it´s Verdi we´re with, let´s have the bit in La Traviata where Alfredo crashes the party. That´s always a show stopper.
By the time the guests have arrived, I´ll have some adequate background music for the first drinks.
Then, when everyone´s at the table, I slice the avocado, douse the whole with my favourite vinaigrette, mix thoroughly, serve, and prepare to receive the compliments like a proper prima donna.