Welcome to our regular recipe column from teacher and stand-up comedian Sarah Gray. This time around, she shares a summer-vibes blackberry and fennel salad that’s hard to forget, unlike that self-care you keep forgetting to do.
According to the news, I have forgotten to do . . . EVERYTHING. I didn’t realize it had gotten this bad. No question: I forget 80 to 90 things per day—that I’m aware of—these numbers could really be much, much higher.
Upon rising I re-forget—after forgetting the night before—to turn the jam-packed dishwasher on. From there, I flow into forgetting to move the moist, two-day-old laundry from washer to dryer, thereby making Clothesbucha™—a proprietary fermented textile product I’m perfecting.
Next, I’ll shimmy over to forgetting which of my underwear are too tight and then which among my collection of all-natural, non-toxic underarm deodorants is NOT an impotent and worthless paste composed of elements that sharply boost the scent of B.O.
The news goes on to remind me that I have forgotten to kick up my donation to the ACLU from yearly to hourly. I forgot to take seven-minute power naps at work. I have 100% forgotten to take time out for self-care—specifically, I missed an earlier cue to massage my neck with charred, ground bones? Additionally—and the evidence is loud and clear here—I did not heed relentless reminders to strengthen my core.
I failed to remember to not shop while hungry. And listen to this: Daily, during my morning commute, I forgot to do three sets of 12 kegels, or any kegels, despite the large Post-it Note emblazoned with a “K” covering my speedometer. It took getting pulled over for speeding to jog my memory about that “K.”
Me: Ohhhh, wait a second, Officer. You’re not going to believe this crazy mix-up. I didn’t even know I was speeding—because of kegels—which I wasn’t even doing!
Officer: . . . (writes ticket)
Manifest Your Fortune
I also forgot to assemble an essential oils diffuser to improve my mood. I forgot to not take rejections personally, and I forgot to manifest my fortune. In fact, I forgot to act upon any of the thousands of suggestions given by Suze Orman and the tons of personal development mandates laid out by that Walks-On-Hot-Coals-Guy—I forget his name.
I didn’t forget to shop local, but I forgot to bring my organic, reclaimed-fibers shopping bags.
One thing I never forget? Eating. According to a number of respected sources, including one from Dr. Whatshisface, there are specific foods we must eat to optimize memory and brain health. I can’t remember all the foods, but walnuts and berries top all the lists!
This summer forest salad showcases two of the best-for-memory foods. The flavors are deep and bright. This salad is a satisfying, fresh, visual heartbreaker. Gorgeous West County blackberries dance among the cool, local fennel greens. It’s like a morning walk in August through Ragle Ranch Regional Park. Plus, all the ingredients can be found at your summer farmers’ market. Simple to make and an elegant, gourmet stunner!
3-4 cups thin-sliced fennel root (2-3 whole bulbs with fresh, green, feathery fronds—avoid the bulbs with wet, clumpy, seaweed-like tops)
1 1/2 cups corn, broiled, to make about 1 cup toasty, chewy corn
4 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon olive oil, divided (if you’ve got it, use the thick, murky, deeply grassy stuff here—try Petaluma’s McEvoy Ranch OO)
3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
8-10 ounces fresh blackberries
1/8 cup very thin-sliced red onion
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2-1 teaspoon red chili flakes (depends how sassy-pants-spicy you are)
• Toss fresh corn kernels with a teaspoon of olive oil and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
• Spread evenly over a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.
• Cook under a broiler until flecked deep brown and blackened here and there, for approximately 3-6 minutes. Kernels should be a mix of chewy and crispy.
• Add 4 tablespoons olive oil and lime juice to a large bowl.
• Finely mince the garlic and immediately add to lime and oil mix. This will “cook” and sweeten your garlic.
• Add 1 teaspoon salt.
• Clean and core 2-3 fennel bulbs. Save the feathery fronds!
• Slice the bulbs in half length-wise and then cut thin arched slices or half-rounds.
• Slice about 1/4 red onion into similarly thin arches.
• Neatly tear away a cup of fine, feathery fennel ends to toss into the salad.
• Save some of the stemmed ends to ring the salad as a garnish.
• Decorate with fresh herbs like lemon thyme and lemon balm.
• If you have them, sprinkle contrasting, edible calendula leaves over the top—obviously.