I had been away from the family before when I have traveled for work or for fun, but I had not been home without the children for more than a few hours since... well, since I had children. It's hard to believe. Last week, Gabe and the kids went down to Miami to visit his family, but I only had enough vacation time to go for a few days.
I was apprehensive before they left. I thought that I might feel a bit lost, that the house would feel eerily quiet, that I would get lonely. I made a list of about 6,000 projects that I wanted to get done, everything from gardening to reorganizing the basement. There are always more things to do than we have time for in the hustle and bustle of our everyday lives, but I also wanted to make sure that I had enough to do to fill the quiet hours. Just in case I felt lonely.
But it didn't happen. I kept waiting for a feeling of loneliness to wash over me or for the house to creak and creep me out. But it didn't happen. I had Buddy to keep me company, and I talked to Gabe and the kids every day. I even looked at pictures of them and felt that tug of love. But at the end of the day, it was just me. And I loved it.
I had forgotten how free it can feel to lie in bed and read for a few uninterrupted hours. Or to take a long bike ride in the middle of the day. Or to garden until dark just because I felt like it. Or to eat when I felt hungry, not when I thought it was necessary to avoid a meltdown. Or to make a salad for lunch that I knew I would love and not have to worry whether anyone else would eat it.
My mini staycation reminded me of myself in my younger days. I was transformed back to that young woman who lived alone, who had her life in front of her. The experience recharged me. And when I saw the children in Miami a few days later, they were even more charming than ever. Amazing that after a few days alone, they are the most beautiful, clever, funny people. Again. At least to their mama.
Gabe and I first had this salad at The Inn at Little Washington, back before we had children and such things were in the realm of possibility. The tartness of the grapefruit is the perfect counterpoint to the creaminess of the avocado and the pistachios add crunch.
If you can't find raw pistachios, it's fine to use the roasted and salted ones. Just skip the toasting step.
Serves 4 as a side dish
20 minutes preparation time
3 tablespoons raw pistachios
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 ruby red grapefruit
1 perfectly ripe avocado
2 teaspoons champagne vinegar
sprinkle of salt
Toast the pistachios in a skillet over medium heat until they are fragrant and just begin to deepen in color, about 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let them cool for a couple of minutes.
Measure 2 tablespoons of the pistachios into a mortar and pestle and crush them until they are small but not completely pulverized. Pour them into a small bowl, add the olive oil, and whisk. Set aside.
With a serrated knife, first cut the top and bottom off of the grapefruit. The idea is to cut as much of the pith off as possible without removing too much of the flesh. Continue to remove the remaining peel by cutting from top to bottom around the entire grapefruit. Next, remove each section of flesh by cutting along each side of the membranes that separate the sections. Remove the sections and arrange them on a platter, leaving a space in between each piece.
Cut the avocado in half and separate the two halves. Remove the peel. with your hands Slice the avocado the long way into slices (I leave the seed in while I do this) and arrange the slices between the grapefruit sections.
Sprinkle a pinch of salt over the grapefruit and avocado and then sprinkle the toasted pistachios on top.
Add the vinegar to the olive oil-pistachio mixture along with a pinch of salt and whisk until it emulsifies. Spoon the dressing over the salad. Serve and eat!