Last night, I potlucked with a group of friends for the very last time. We came together nearly four years ago now to coordinate the auction fundraiser for the Unitarian church here in Philly. After that first auction was over, we realized that we’d found a little bit of friendship magic and kept getting together (we also ran that auction for two more years).
We became close and have now seen each other through the births of two babies, the writing of a cookbook, a dissertation defense and deep wedding planning (the happy event is this Saturday). We’re not breaking up over anything sad. It’s just that life keeps moving. One friend has already moved to North Carolina (she’s back for the wedding) and another is leaving for Virginia at the end of May.
For this final dinner, I offered to bring a salad. In my years of potlucking, I’ve mastered designing salads that are both easy to transport and simple to assemble once on site. The essence is to keep it simple and make sure to include a couple snazzy ingredients so that people don’t feel like all you’ve done is offer them a bowl of plain lettuce.
This time, I used baby arugula as my base. Avocado and marcona almonds were the high impact flavors (and can I note that I was delighted by the fact that the three primary ingredients all started with the letter ‘a’). The vinaigrette (in a jar, of course) was a simple one made with orange juice, sherry vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil. Always shake your homemade dressings well before drizzling on your greens.
It was a great salad and was perfect with the roast chicken, purple potatoes and walnut bread that the others brought. At the end of the meal, we lingered longer than normal around Sarah’s table. It was the last time and we didn’t want it to end.
After a couple requests on Facebook, I’ve added the recipe for my vinaigrette to this post.
Orange and Dijon Vinaigrette
- 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons orange juice
- 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- pinch salt
- 5-6 turns of a pepper grinder
- Combine all ingredients in a pint jar.
- Screw on a leak-proof lid.
- Shake well to combine.