We’re squeezing in a thousand dates in 30 days, or however many days we have left as just the two of us. It’s new ground for us. We’ve never been the best at dating—the kind of dating that requires reservations and plans. We’re far too last minute and, truth be told, cheap. The cost of a date seems to add up quickly, where all I can seem to see are dollar signs above every doorstep. We’ve been on a grad school budget for too many years. I’m not sure that we’ll ever lose that mentality. Nor do I want to.
We’re pretty simple when it comes to dating. Splitting a meal or a pizza if we go out to eat. Or driving 45 minutes just to get a scoop, or two, of the best ice cream in all of Connecticut. But usually it means a meal at home first. If we’re lucky, it’s dinner outside on the newly acquired back porch from our latest move. Since we can’t ever seem to manage dinner before sundown, a citronella candle lights the meal with a huge tree acting as our canopy. It’s a tinge magical out there at night. We save the fancy string bulb lights for friends.
But this week we had to squeeze in a quick meal with the sun still shining. I bought tickets for us earlier that morning to watch a tennis match. The most basic of grilled cheese sandwiches served with my favorite cucumber salad filled our dinner date plates.
Thankfully, I had a bit of leftover lemonade from the weekend to spruce things up a bit.
I learned how to make this salad long before this blog ever began. My mother-in-law’s friend, Libby—the one who taught me a purist approach to food, showed me how to make it. With a mortar and pestle and so much ease, she ground the garlic clove into the rough base, using coarse salt and pepper as an additional exfoliant to the garlic. A little fresh squeezed lemon and olive oil was all it took to finish off the dressing. Poured over a bed of lettuce and cucumbers—it was entirely simple and perfect. And now I can’t remember if I’m talking about a salad or dating.
My approach to dating in the past has been all too complicated. The best dates for us are the simple ones. The ones that don’t require much planning ahead, big dollar signs, or even fancy bulb lights. A citronella candle and a simple dinner is all I need, in the company of my main squeeze, of course.
Needless to say, I’m entirely excited about Ashley’s book coming out based on her “Dating My Husband” series. It’ll be a necessary handbook especially with a new baby around. I have a feeling this babe will add an extra layer of complication to this whole dating thing.
- small clove of garlic (or half a large clove)
- half a lemon
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- pinch of sea salt, cracked pepper, and sugar, to taste
- two large handfuls of spinach (or other lettuce of choice)
- half an english cucumber, sliced
- 1 green onion, chopped
- parmesan cheese (optional)
- Finely mince garlic using a mortar and pestle or a microplane.
- In a small bowl, add remaining dressing ingredients. Whisk well to combine. Taste. Add additional salt, pepper, or sugar if necessary.
- Add salad fixings to plates. Top with dressing and freshly cracked pepper just before serving.
• I'm partial to english cucumbers—the long, skinny, ripply ones you find this time of year. Their flavor is mild and their interior less seedy.