I bought something (a rare occurrence)--a patio table and two chairs, just two, though there are three people in my family, because I rationed that when Mark is at home, he can carry a dining chair out there. No joke.It was a great purchase, as we have eaten 9 out of 10 meals out there since we hauled the thing home. And somehow those meals are lovelier, tastier, happier (more filling?!) for occurring on the back porch, in view of the garden--the smell of honeysuckle, the hum of bees, an occasional butterfly visit. Sweet.
And though this isn't a food blog by any means, this salad was so delicious, I thought I'd tell you how to make it. The salad part is local boston lettuce, cucumber, bright-orange grape tomatoes, apple, carrot shavings, and sunflower seeds. I made the tangy dressing by mixing about four tablespoons of olive oil (normally I'd use flaxseed oil, but I was out), two tablespoons of cider vinegar (lemon juice works, too), a tablespoon or so of maple syrup, half a teaspoon of salt, some black pepper, and some finely chopped fresh garlic. Wisky-wisky and you're done!
(This dog had nothing to do with the salad, much to her grumpiness, but she looooves the garden.)
To make the crispy maple-soy tofu for the top, I drained and pressed about 1/2 block of firm tofu, sliced it into thin strips (larger than what you see in the finished photo), and pan fried them in a tiny bit of olive oil, on both sides, till they got golden. Then I mixed probably two tablespoons of soy sauce with a tablespoon of maple syrup and some garlic granules and poured that right on top in the pan. I let that stuff work its darkening magic on both sides of the tofu, and then I removed it to a napkin to drain off the extra moisture and cool. I chopped it up and tossed in on--it was fairly heavenly. Perfect for my new porch life.