It's amazing how our perspectives change as we get older. The circumstances that seem insurmountable as a teen become easy and laughable as an adult. One teen I know, let's call him Jake, spent one day this summer at the beach with his family. This was no ordinary beach. This was the perfect place with white soft powdery sand. The water was warm, shallow and without any waves. About ten hours later, after a shower, he realized that he had been badly burned. Turns out that one application of sun block, for that amount of time in the sun, was insufficient. His mom felt terrible. To make it worse, he had goggle marks around his eyes. He was not pleased. In fact, he vowed that very evening to never again return to the beach.
As an adult, I realized this was way too dramatic. But, from the perspective of a 13-year-old, this made perfect sense. No more beachesever. I bought him a big bottle of aloe and soon his skin went back to normal. Hopefully, he will forget about his dislike of beaches soon. I am sure he will in time.
Well, as the new school year approaches, yet another drama rears its ugly head. A teenage girl, lets call her Stephanie, breaks out with a cold sore. School starts tomorrow. Again, this is a direct result of too much time in the sun. She spent the day at a local water park and forgot to put sun block on her lips. She tells me that she cannot go to the first day of school or the second for that matter. She can't go until this horrible mark disappears from her face. I think it isn't that big of a deal. It doesn't look that bad. I believe she should go to school. But, I understand she considers this is the worst thing that could happen to a person on the first day of school. Instead of telling her she is overreacting, I decided to try to help her.
Asparagus salad with steak
The ingredients for an asparagus salad.
Boil asparagus until it is bright green, then cool in an ice water bath to stop the cooking.
Ingredients are chopped, ready to be tossed, dressed with oil and vinegar, and plated.
I ran to the store and bought everything I could think of to make it disappear. Then, I returned home and decided to make her something healthy to eat. I think most ailments can be cured with rest and healthy food. I like to make dishes that are loaded with vegetables. This time, I decided to make an asparagus salad. I had a delicious bunch of thin crispy asparagus ready to be eaten. So, I pulled those out of the fridge and got ready to work. I decided to add some fresh herbs to the mix to really boost the nutrition level of this dish. I added oregano, which increases the depth of flavor to any dish. Oregano is also a natural source of Vitiman K. It has antibacterial agents and is an antioxidant. In addition to the oregano, I threw in some fresh flat leaf parsley. Parsley isn't just for decoration. It is also a good source of vitamins C and A. Also, it has a very fresh vibrant flavor. These herbs mixed in with the fresh asparagus would taste delicious.
This asparagus salad is great for a meal on it's own or as a complement to fish, steak, or chicken. Since I had to feed my husband too, I decided to serve his with a nice piece of steak. The most important thing to remember in making this easy to prepare salad is to be certain not to overcook the asparagus. You just want to cook it until it the green is bright. One of the best things about this salad is that it is crisp and crunchy. Also, if you are serving it with fish, you should eliminate the oil or at least cut it in half and use lemon instead of vinegar. That would make this a perfect salad to go with any fish recipe you have in mind.
That night, we sat down to eat and, no, the cold sore did not magically vanish. That would have been incredible. I wasn't expecting a miracle. However, I did realize how lucky these guys are when the worst thing in their world is sunburn or a cold sore. I hope their lives remain so easy. That is my wish for their new school year.
Time: 15 minutes
1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoons fresh oregano
3 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley
cup olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, chopped
cup low fat feta cheese (optional)
salt and pepper to taste
Wash and break off the bottom ends of the asparagus. Hold each end of one piece and bend until it breaks. Wherever it breaks, that is where you want to break all of them. Bring a saucepan full of water to a boil. Place the asparagus into the water, cover and let boil for four minutes (if skinny asparagus, longer if thicker stalks). Do not overcook or they will be mushy. Take the asparagus out once they are brightly colored. They should be crispy. Remove asparagus from the boiling water and transfer into a bowl of ice water. Two minutes later, remove from ice water and place into paper towels to dry. Cut the asparagus into half inch pieces on the bias. Place asparagus pieces into a large bowl. Add oregano, parsley, oil, vinegar, garlic, cheese, salt and pepper. Toss well. Serve on its own or with steak, fish, or chicken.