my children made me lunch yesterday, a lovely, entirely unexpected surprise. they've been cooking their own breakfast and lunch all summer and helping with dinner every night. and now they are apparently cooking without really even thinking about it. automatic response to hunger. their knife and saute skills are really improving. they each had cooking goals for the summer to add to their reading, vocabulary, art project, nyc culture, and fitness goals. this is our approach to summer. it is cheaper, requires more creativity and metacognitive strategy and (perhaps most importantly) less driving than camp. they are near completion on the art and cooking and fitness goals, the others, well we have some catching up to do, but you can't do everything at once can you? and as a parent, kitchen self-sufficiency in one's offspring is thrilling progress.
anyway, yesterday around 1, they informed me a lunch was ready to be eaten in the kitchen. the table was set, we sat around enjoying the food and chatting for a good long while sipping ice cold water. funny, this salad is something they never liked at all until they went to rome 2 years ago and then they fell in love. though they do wonder why pasta and pizza and mozz salad don't ever taste like they do in italy, no matter what you do. the flavor of the air and atmosphere and italian sun must seep into the food in an important way over there.
this sweet salad had a balsamic and olive oil vinaigrette. they love to mix sauces and experiment. just like chemistry class only more delicious. one sliced the mozzarella and made the dressing, another sliced the tomato and prepared the lettuce. the secret sauce has a little sea salt pepper and maybe a touch of lemon i think. it was completely charming and absolutely delicious.