4.5.14

Roasted Potato & Asparagus Salad with Avocado & Sun-dried Tomatoes


Can I talk about law school for a minute?

I try not to talk about it much on here because

(a) this a food blog

(b) I don't usually have anything important or interesting to say about it

(c) you probably don't want to hear about future interests or vicarious liability or standards of review, and

(d) if you did, you could learn much more about them in a forum/chat room somewhere else.

But, here's the thing, law school exams really suck. really.


1 exam. 1 grade. An entire semester of hard work.

Law school exams are graded based on a bell curve, which means that a certain number of people have to get A's, B's, and C's. There's no objective "A" standard. You're graded based on how well you do in comparison to your peers.

It's a really weird system, and maybe part of the reason why lawyers get such a bad reputation.  You come to law school and meet some awesome (and maybe weird) people and then come exam time you have to hope that most of them are DUMBER than you. Or at least bad at studying. Or susceptible to testing anxiety. What?

This is contrary to every impulse I have a ingrained in me as an educator. Everyone has gifts and can do well!  Cater instruction to different learning styes! Work together to help everyone succeed!

This crazy mindset also breeds strange behavior during exam studying.  Anytime you see/hear about someone else studying you become a little paranoid. They're doing more than you. You're behind and not doing enough. Why do you check instagram so much? Why aren't you more disciplined? You're stupid and probably never going to amount to anything.

The nasty thought process progresses….


They also give you lots of time in between your exams. You have no classes to go to, no clubs or meetings, so you spend all your time studying or hanging around in your head. (which is a bad place to be at this point) There's no distracting yourself by staying busy with the comfort of an everyday routine.  No vegging out in front of the t.v. or wasting time surfing the internet. YOU'RE SUPPOSED TO BE STUDYING, DANGIT!

My exam studying goes through several phases. It starts with mild panic, and lots of digging my finger nails into the skin on my thumbs.  This progresses to general stress joined by lots of excuses to check my email/take long showers/clean/do anything that isn't studying.

By the end of it, I am vulnerable and exposed. Like all my hard edges have worn off. I just feel everything a little too much.

The night before my last exam, Adam asked me if I wanted to go for a drive.  Going "for a drive" is one of our things. (See this post and don't judge the terrible photos.)  We don't always have a specific agenda, and that's the best part.

That night, we drove fifteen minutes to a nearby lake.  As we got closer, I could see the sky turning pinker and pinker through the trees.

When we pulled up to the lookout point we saw this.


I wanted to laugh.

Of course the world is beautiful and so much bigger than the small little miserable place I'd been inhabiting during exams.

It's also inconceivably, extraordinarily, undeservedly good.  It just is.

I got to sit next to my favorite person and stare out at this sunset, trembling--slightly from the breeze and my general emotional state--but also from the astounding recognition that I could have missed this moment entirely if I'd decided to stay inside.

Life is a gift that we have to choose to see.


I'm done with exams now (Praise God!) and trying to recuperate with some healthy eating.

This salad is my new favorite. The star of the show is the fingerling potato, which is cut into discs, seasoned with spices and roasted until crispy, then laid atop a bed of lettuce along with roasted asparagus, creamy avocado, and chewy sweet sun dried tomatoes.

It's spring in salad form, and just the kind of thing I need to start craving some green stuff.

Give it a try, friends!


Roasted Potato & Asparagus Salad with Avocado & Sun-dried Tomatoes


Ingredients:
6 cups lettuce of your choice (Arugula would be great here)
1 pound fingerling potatoes, cut into small discs
1 bunch asparagus, ends removed 
1 handful sun dried tomatoes, chopped
1 ripe avocado, chopped
olive oil
1/2 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp chili powder
salt & pepper
balsamic vinaigrette, for serving

Directions:
Preheat oven to 425. 

Prepare 2 cookie sheets with aluminum foil. 

Spread the asparagus on one sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to ensure that oil and spices are distributed evenly. 

On the other cookie sheet, spread out the potatoes. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, cumin, paprika, and chili powder.  Drizzle with olive oil. Use your hands to ensure that oil and spices are distributed evenly. 

Place both in the oven and set the timer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, remove both cookie sheets and stir the vegetables around. The asparagus will probably only need another minute or two, while the potatoes will need another 10 minutes on the other side.  

Remove from the oven and let cool.  Cut the asparagus into bite-sized pieces. 

In a large bowl, combine lettuce, avocado, sun-dried tomatoes, asparagus and potatoes. Serve with balsamic  vinaigrette. (Or make your own with equal parts balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a pinch of salt & sugar) 

Notes:
  • To make this a super easy lunch, roast the vegetables the night before.
  • A little parmesan cheese sprinkled over top is good too!

5 comments:

  1. Everything you said about law school exams is so, so...true. Incredibly true. I'm so happy that you made it through and have a gorgeous sunset on the other side!

    ReplyDelete
  2. This has everything I love about a delicious salad. Gorgeous sunset photos!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Brings me back to when I was in school, a lot of hard work but it pays off! You're lucky to have such a beautiful sunset to take in and enjoy. I love this salad and the fact that it has some warm little pops of potato in it. Pretty bowl too ;)

    ReplyDelete
  4. Law school exams sound HORRIBLE. I think medical school used to be that way, but now almost every school is pass/fail. Which makes for a much better learning environment!!

    i think this salad could talk my down from some serious text anxiety. Looks great!

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think the bell curve grading for law school exams is meant to prepare you for practice - in litigation, for someone to win, someone else has to lose. Glad it's over though, and enjoy your post-exam period!

    ReplyDelete

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