Last weekend my husband and I made a big list of “honey-do’s” (you know: honey, do this; honey, do that) and proceeded to attack the list with much enthusiasm. Some couples travel together, some hike or golf, go to movies together. Michael and I do “honey-do’s.” We are a lean, mean working machine on our days off, and nothing gives us more satisfaction than completing one of our home projects together.
If we are assembling something I am the instruction reader and tool handler, and Michael is the technician. If we are gardening, Michael digs and I plant. When we clean our pool, I skim, Michael vacuums, we backwash the pump together and then do synchronized swimming in the sparkling water … well, we do all of that except the synchronized swimming part. However, we do like to float around in the water on our noodles and congratulate each other for a job well done.
My parents were famous for their projects, too. Though, they took on bigger ones than we do. Like building houses or landscaping entire yards. They were used to doing major-type “honey-do’s.” These are people who farmed side-by-side when they were first married. I remember as a small child, sitting in the truck out in the field, watching my father drive the tractor while my mom pitched bails of hay off the back of the bailer. Can you imagine?
Once, a few years before my father died at the age of 87, he called me about a little project at their winter home at a retirement community here in Mesa. A four-foot barrel cactus had fallen over, and could we come by and help Mom and him get it upright again? By the time my son Daniel and I got there, somehow my folks already had a piece of carpet around the cactus and secured a rope around its girth. Thus ensued much pushing and pulling, grunting and groaning … that cactus was heavy, man! … all four of us using all our strength until it was up and its base propped with large rocks. My parents were sweating and happy as could be.
“There’s nothing like doing a good job!” dad grinned. I grinned back and then gasped in horror. My father had exerted himself to the point that he burst a blood vessel in his eye. The white was completely red!
In the end, he was fine. His eye was fine. But I tell this story because the look of deep satisfaction on my parents’ faces remains with me still. I was privy to that look for over fifty years of their marriage.
That’s how it is for Michael and me. When we do a “honey-do,” he’s doing it for me, just as I am doing it for him. And, our satisfaction is mutual. I hope we can keep “doing” for many more years … quite a few to catch up to my parents, though.
Well, last Saturday we had a bumper “honey-do” day and had planned on celebrating our accomplishment with a meal out. But by the time dinner rolled around, both of us were too tired to get ourselves out the door. Instead, I roamed the fridge shelves and drawers for something to make … and with a little bit of sliced deli roast beef, a couple of nubs of cheese, leftover bean salad and some veggies, I came up with a really, really good main dish salad.
A nice glass of slightly chilled Beaujolais and a newly sharpened knife (one of Michael’s honey’do’s) took me into a chopping and dicing meditation – one of my favorite ways to wind down a day.
Roast Beef Summer Salad
12 grape tomatoes, halved
4 radishes, thinly sliced
2 ¼ in slices of a medium sized red onion, quartered
2 inches of cucumber, peeled, quartered and sliced
2 baby bell peppers (or ¼ bell pepper), seeded and thinly sliced
12 black olives, sliced
2 or so T of olive oil
1 or so T of red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 wedge of lemon (or so)
Jane’s Crazy Mixed Up Salt & pepper, to taste
4 slices of deli roast beef, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 oz. (or so) of blue cheese, crumbled
1 oz. (or so) of feta cheese, crumbled
6 leave of romaine, torn or chopped
4 leaves of green leaf lettuce, torn or chopped
1 cup leftover Cannellini Bean and Radish Salad **
Prepare first 6 ingredients, place in a large salad bowl, and add oil, vinegar, lemon and seasoning. Toss together and let sit for a few minutes.
In the meantime, prepare remaining ingredients. Add roast beef to mixture and toss. Add cheeses to mixture and gently toss. Add lettuces, mix gently and thoroughly.
Divide salad onto 2 chilled plates and top with Bean & Radish Salad. ** I had this lovely salad leftover from the night before (find recipe on May 20th blog). The beans and radishes were deeply marinated, so they really added dimension to the rest of dish. But use any kind of beans you have on hand and consider dressing them a couple of hours earlier, before you prepare this salad, to get the same effect.
This recipe is perfect for two as a main course, or would work for four as an accompaniment to another dish.
And … for goodness sake, use what you’ve got! Leftover steak instead of roast beef. Add avocado, celery, a little bit of shaved cabbage. As you know, with my recipes, everything is interchangeable. But keep the beef/blue cheese combination, if you can. Those flavors are a great match.
In concluding, I hope you have a happy “honey-do” day very soon. They are fun to do with a partner, plus you get stuff done! Who knows, “honey-do’s” might be the recipe for a long marriage!
Eat well. Be happy.