I really love this place.
Jeff and I have lived in no fewer than seven apartments since we moved to Boston from Beer Sheva, Israel in 1999. We have rented a lot, owned once (for 3 years), decorated, redecorated, refurbished, and refurnished. We’ve had some decent landlords, quirky roommates (including one who never answered a direct question, meditated all day and lived on our alcove), awesome condo partners, and one landlady from the depths of hell.
Yet I have never had a place that felt this much like home.
Part of the reason is that we live with our friends, which always makes a place homier. There is hardly ever an evening when I come home to a dark house, I often smell cooking that is not my own, and Auralee’s favorite playmate lives a floor away.
But also, this place somehow feels like the culmination of all the years of moving back and forth across the charles river: our furniture is an eclectic mix, collected from sidewalks, second hand shops and things that were left in the house by our friend Dave’s mom who raised him and his sister here. Our table cloths and curtains are all handmade by me, during different phases of life and sewing ability. The kitchen is sort of eternally half-built by Jeff — the other half is the leftover design by Dave’s stepdad — and I’ve grown quite used to it. More than used to it, in fact. I missed my little mismatched kitchen (and all the treasures it contains) with a kind of melancholy longing usually reserved for memories of late nights in the summer of ’94.
This vegan caesar salad dressing is a typical example of the kind of food that simply did not occur to me to prepare while we were in Israel (there was also a lack-of-food-processor issue). The ingredients are more or less available over there, but it is just such an American recipe… the caesar-ness, the vegan-ness… I don’t know. It is adapted from Lauren Ulm’s book, Vegan Yum Yum — Ulm was a recipe taster and tester for Vegan With Vengeance, so you know the girl is serious. If miso paste is not available where you live, try using tahini paste or just a little more mild mustard. Play with it and enjoy!
Vegan Caesar Salad, adapted from Lauren Ulm’s Vegan Yum Yum
1 head of Romaine lettuce
3 cups sourdough bread, cut into cubes (I used a nice whole wheat baguette)
Salt, to taste
Dried Italian herb mix (I used oregano and basil)
1/4 cup sliced almonds (the smaller they are before you blend the dressing, the better)
1/4 cup, plus 1 Tbs yellow miso paste (I did not have any, so I used tahini)
1 + 1/2 heaping Tbs dijon mustard
2 Tbs vegan worcestershire sauce (regular is fine too)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced (1 is pretty darn garlicky)
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
4 pinches table salt
1/2 block silken tofu (the japanese kind in the little box, one brand is mori-noru)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 Tbs nutritional yeast (optional)
2 Tbs of water (or more, to thin)
Wash the lettuce, remove the outer leaves, and leave in the drainer to dry.
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss the bread cubes in olive oil to coat then lightly sprinkle with salt and dried herbs. Bake for 15 minutes until crispy but not browned. Let cool and set aside (if you are making ahead, store in an airtight container).
Rip the lettuce into bite-sized pieces and place in a large bowl.
Make the dressing by blending the almonds, miso, mustard, worcestershire, garlic, vinegar, salt, yeast, and water in a food processor until smooth.
Toss the lettuce with the dressing and add the croutons right before serving.