Monday, September 15, 2008

Paper Cup

There are some things that are just so basic and simple that you take them for granted. You forget about how special they are. I had the most wonderful revelation this weekend as I headed to my parents house to pick up some boxes of books. I've been storing all my old books in a shed in their yard basically since I moved out. Due to a recent turn of events, it was time for me to reclaim my stash. Four boxes just packed with books. Luckily the trip also included a new bookshelf to store them....well some of them. As I unpacked I realized that even with this new bookshelf, I would only be able to unpack two boxes of the books. And the other two would have to go with the box of books we didn't have room to unpack when we first moved in. That makes two bookshelves filled to the brim with books and 3 boxes of books that still need a home!

I had forgotten most of these books, some dating back to my very first reads. I still have the complete collections of Little House books, Madelaine L'Engle, Cricket in Times Square, Bunnicula....and then there are all the classics. I have three copies of Turn of the Screw! Two copies of the Little Prince (although, to be fair, one copy is in French). I found some less than classics too, and I'm looking forward to submitting them to my "book club" I share with a couple of my friends (L - any time you want to come shopping, let me know). I flipped through these books, books I continue to love with all my heart, stopping to read favorite passages aloud to Thatboy. Do you remember wanting to sail the world in a giant piece of fruit? Or when Mrs. DeWinter heads to the boat house and you just know something bad is going to happen?

I'm so excited to be reacquainted with my old books. It reminds me of those days when I used to stay up at night under the covers with a flashlight so I could read just one more chapter. Discovering new and exotic people and places.

Meanwhile while I rediscovered old books, Thatdog has rediscovered my old toys. We brought home a box of stuffed animals and he spends all night unpacking the box and tossing toys willy-nilly across the floor. He just loves his treasure chest.

In the spirit of sharing something old, I thought it would be appropriate to share my cesaer salad dressing. It's the first dressing I ever really made. See, Thatboy has a boyfriend. They're practically inseparable when they get together. Thatboy's boyfriend, Shortboy, loves to entertain. He likes nothing better than to have 30 of his closest friends over for dinner (actually there are quite a few things he likes better, things like surfing, drinking, and women...but that's a different story). And unlike most of Thatboy's friends, Shortboy serves a full on dinner when he entertains. (Sorry ladies, he's currently taken) One day we came early and I was helping Shortboy in the kitchen, chopping up veggies and cheese while he bustled about the kitchen getting the big stuff ready. I watched as he began putting ingredients in a jar and my eyebrows lifted when he pulled out the anchovies. Next came the immersion blender. I asked him what he was making and he began expounding on the wonders of homemade caesar dressing and how no one should ever be stuck with the bottled stuff. He gave me a taste. I was hooked. He explained to me the ingredients. He used to follow a recipe, but he's been making it so long that he basically just makes it by taste now.

And that was the beginning of the end. Ever since I insist on homemade caesar dressing. It's easy enough to make and my only complaint is that I always have leftover anchovies. And so I pass the secret on to you. And the biggest secret is that the recipe is merely a guideline. Change the amount and proportion of the ingredients to get your perfect flavor. For me? I love garlic so this is very garlic heavy, but I just can't get enough!

Caesar Dressing
  • garlic clove
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 6 to 8 anchovy fillets in olive oil, drained
  • 1 1/2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 2 Tbs. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 Tbs. plain yogurt
  • 2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  1. Chop the garlic clove and combine with the 1/2 cup olive oil in a blender. Puree until smooth.
  2. In a small bowl, using a fork, mash the anchovies until they form a paste. Add to the oil and garlic in the blender along with the mustard, lemon juice and yogurt. Blend at high speed until a smooth emulsion forms.
  3. Add 2 Tbs. of the Parmesan cheese and blend again.
  4. Season with a little salt and a little pepper.

Maybe one day I'll let you in on my secret crouton recipe! Because if you're going to have homemade dressing, you may as well have homemade croutons.


  1. I have a ton of books too. They are hard to part with. This dressing looks like a classic!

  2. I currently have a mental block about anchovies, but I could see myself getting over it fairly soon. This would be perfect along with a steak for a special birthday or celebration dinner.

  3. Caesar dressing is one of my all-time fav dressings...yum!

  4. So funny you mentioned those books today... just last night I started to reread the entire little house series for the first time in ages...

  5. i love rediscovering beloved old books! i bought "rainy with a chance of meatballs" for my cousin's daughter last christmas and basically read the whole thing in the store before buying it. <3

    that dressing looks great!

  6. I still don't have room for my books either! Especially with all these cards and envelopes everywhere!!!

    I think I have 2 copies of "The Little Prince" too but they are both in French. And Madeline L'Engle.... ohhhhh how worn my books are.

    Love Caesar salad! And I agree... lots of garlic please. A true classic even though most Italians don't know what it is! It came from Mexico. Go figure.

  7. I loved The Cricket in Times Square. There's nothing like leafing through old books that you loved. Pretty Caesar Salad!

  8. I've been looking for a new Caesar dressing to try...this looks awesome.

  9. I can't wait to come shopping!!!

  10. I can never get rid of a book. I have boxes we have no room for on out bookshelves as well!
    Homemmade caesar dressing is just amazing.

  11. i have a ridiculous amount of boxes full of books in the garage. one day i'll get into them, i hope.

    i've been getting into making my own salad dressings lately, so this one's definitely going to be served some time this week.

  12. I don't know if I love your reconnection with your old books or the fact that you make your own dressing more.