Peter has been working long hours without a weekend off in the past week and decided to take a day off today and drive to Yountville with me. We used to take weekend trips in the area, but after the children were born the weekends were for piano, or soccer or karate.
In Yountville, we had a wonderful lunch in the patio of an Italian restaurant called Bottega. The sun was shining and the flowers were blooming and air was fragrant. For the first time in months, Peter was relaxed, and eating voraciously food that hadn’t been “healthy-fied” by his wife. The dessert was Zeppole a la crema, a traditional Italian doughnuts sprinkled with real powdered sugar and filled with real cream. The doctor did not follow his own preaching, but It was lovely to see him so free and content. We agreed that we should do this more often — steal away on a weekday when the kids are in school.
It would have been a perfect day if we stuck to our plan of eating a lunch, taking a walk and doing some shopping before heading home. But we got too excited, too greedy. After touring the nearby towns we returned to Yountville for dinner, in a restaurant called Redd, which was highly recommend by a local shop owner and our waiter at Bottega. We couldn’t be more underwhelmed by the food. It was so salty that no amount of water could quench our thirst on the drive back. Well, I guess too much of a good thing doesn’t necessarily equal a better thing.
Before we left the house for Yountville, I made this butter lettuce salad with edamame and shiitake for Angela. Her AP Physics test was at 12 noon and she didn’t have to go to school before that. It made me happy that Angela loved it so much that she asked for seconds. It made me happier still when she told me tonight that the test went well. I felt as if I had helped somehow by feeding her the right food — something healthy, delicious and satiating without inducing food stupor.
Butter Lettuce Edamame Shiitake Salad with Ponzu Dressing
Ingredients for the Salad:
1 head of butter lettuce
1 cup cooked shelled edamame
8 oz. shiitake mushrooms
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 green onion, chopped
Ingredients for the dressing:
1/4 cup ponzu sauce
1 tablespoon 100% pure sesame oil
1 tablespoon roasted sesame seeds
1/2 to 1 teaspoon grated or finely minced ginger
2 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
Mix all ingredients for the dressing together in a bowl.
Wash and spin dry the lettuce. Tear the leaves into bite size with your hands.
Wash mushrooms and slice into 1/3 inch thick pieces. Heat the cooking oil on medium high and sauté the mushrooms until they just begin to “sweat” and set aside to cool. Make sure you do not over cook them as they will become watery.
When the mushrooms are cooled, mix with lettuce, edamame and green onion in a salad bowl.
Pour dressing into the salad and toss before serving.