Friday, July 2, 2010

Husband Appreciation Day, Part 1

As I mentioned earlier this week, my husband Sky is a very patient man. He's more than patient. He's loving, hilarious, brilliant, sensitive and grounded in who he is. Part of Who He Is is Someone Who Likes Having Me Around. Part of Who I Am is Liking to Be Around Him. My theatre schedule is a little tough on us right now. These days I'm at rehearsal weekday nights and weekend days which is exactly when he's home. During the day he's working his tail off. We miss each other a lot--literally and emotionally. However, it's not forever and it's for a beautiful reason: I'm doing a gorgeous play at a time when I can. If the babymaking goes as planned, we both know there's going to be a good long time where I'm not doing back-to-back plays; there will be periods of time when I don't do any plays at all. And rehearsals are the toughest: once the play opens (this one runs 3 nights and one afternoon a week) the hours are considerably less. So for the next few weeks we're hanging in there with each other and making the hours we are together count.

I also want to talk about---and I'm going to in a different post---the relationship between creative work (the play) and creating a baby. They're SO connected. But later on that.....

Part of my commitment to Sky this summer is making our time together extra-juicy-special. If that means I might hop over to his office in the middle of the day, or humor him by staying in bed a little later (one of the hardest things for me! I am so awake in the morning), or make him romantic dinner on a Monday. Who says date night can't be Monday? This past week, as part of weekly Husband Appreciation Day, I replicated, for the second time, one of our favorite dishes on this earth: the chopped salad from Mozza.

Mozza is the restaurant that took LA by storm a couple of years ago when Nancy Silverton and Mario Battali teamed up. Located on a corner that saw restaurant after restaurant fail over the years, that corner is now one of the hottest in LA. And everything you've heard is true: it is f-ing delicious. And whenever we go no matter what else we get we always get the chopped salad no meat. It's a take, I'm convinced, on a greek salad as it's full of peperoncinis and oregano. Like the porcinis from last post, the ingredients are simple and the result is amazing. I made it a couple weeks ago and it was good; I made it this week and it was great. Couple little tweaks and a late-night trip to Mozza for one more tasting and I'm pretty close. I don't know what red wine vinegar they use and I'm going to ask because that's definitely a difference. As does macerating the onions and going heavier on the herbs than I initially thought. It takes barely any time to put together so there's more time for hanging out with hubby. I served this with some vinegar and chile roasted cauliflower, some good bread, and a plum torte I overcooked when I got distracted on a phone call. Oops.

Sky, if you happen to be reading this, thank you for sticking by me and I love you.

My Version of the Chopped Salad from Mozza Vegetarian Style

1/2 head iceberg lettuce
1/2 small head radicchio
can of garbanzo beans (I'm sure they use dried; oh well)
handful of peperoncini, sliced thin
few slices good provolone cheese, cut into small squares or rectangles
couple handfuls of good-quality cherry tomatoes, halved if on the bigger side
red onion, sliced very thin (you decide how much)
plenty of dried oregano
fresh or dried thyme
red wine vinegar
little lemon juice
great olive oil
pinch of sugar
salt and pepper

Macerate the onion slices in some red wine vinegar and a little salt for at least 5 minutes and up to an hour.

Slice the lettuce and radicchio then chop so your greens are a pretty uniform, small size: like very short ribbon fragments. Place in large salad bowl
Toss in most of the can of garbanzos and the peperoncinis.
Make the dressing: whisk red wine vinegar with a little lemon juice, salt, pepper, sugar and the oregano and thyme. Slowly drizzle in olive oil, whisking as you add. Taste for preference: dressing should be tangy but not cloyingly so.
Add dressing to the greens, etc. Mix in cherry tomatoes and provolone by hand. Taste for seasoning: salt, pepper, herbs, peperoncinis. Add as necessary.
Mix all together and top with a sprinkling of dried oregano.

Keep playing with proportions til you create the version you love. And next time you're on the corner of Highland and Melrose in LA, stop in and try the real thing.


  1. my mouth is watering just reading about it! yum!! you and sky are so lucky to have each other! xo.

  2. Hi Melanie,
    Janet here. I used to be in your T/TH morning yoga class on Montana St in SM. (you probably wouldn't remember but i'm friends with casey muldoon, have 3 little kids, used to ride my bike to the studio, probably doesn't jog your memory but that's ok -- you have tons of students!) Anyway, we moved to Ann Arbor MI last August and I have been missing your yoga ever since! A friend of mine in SM recently got into yoga, and I recommended your classes to her, then realized that I didn't know if you were still teaching so looked you up at yogaworks then stumbled upon your blog. Love it! I am definitely going to try the Sauternes cake and the Mozza salad. We don't get nearly the great produce here in the midwest that I used to enjoy every day in sunny so. cal, but I'll just make do. The good part about living here is that we have a nice big yard and I'm growing some of my own fruits, herbs & veggies which is really fun! Anyway, just wanted to say hi, and congrats on the new play, and wish you the best of everything re the baby-making. I totally agree with the philosophy that one becomes a mother when one decides to conceive -- that is really lovely and such a true statement. Thanks for the blog -- I've had fun reading through it!

  3. Janet!!!!! of COURSE I remember you! I remember I was so shocked when I learned you had 3 kids because I thought you were so young:) I wondered what happened to you! you are so lucky to have a garden--I can't wait to. it's so nice to hear from you. let me know how the recipes turn out:)

  4. Hi Melanie, You've got a great blog! I read about the salad from Mozza and it reminded me of my favorite Italian chopped salad from the Pasta Factory on Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey. Their salad doesn't have as many fancy ingredients but it's really good. To me, it's the salad dressing that makes it taste so special.

  5. Betsy thank you!!!! how fun to have you here:)
    the dressing is always the secret magic ingredient, no? getting it PERFECT it so fun.