There is so much good all around us, if we only take the time to see it. Goodness is bright and beautiful. It fills us up and reminds us that we aren’t alone. That’s such an important thing. Good was in the Christmas cards that arrived, sharing the kindest of well wishes in the aftermath of December 14, and still wishing us a happy holiday season. The sentiments were so perfect — because while we were digging deeply through very difficult emotions, the holidays still deserved to be celebrated. And we did. There is so much good in the dear friend who picked up many copies of a newspaper that ran a column I wrote about the returning to school for the families of Sandy Hook. I hadn’t even thought about it, but thanks to her I have that paper so that when the kids are older and want to read what I wrote, they can see for themselves. And there was good and kindness in the care package from another dear friend who subtly encouraged me to get out of my own head and back into the kitchen. She’s right about that. And there was so much goodness in other moms who collected coats and gave out gift cards to make our days and healing a little easier. Seeing the goodness and kindness has been uplifting. I can’t say thank you enough times or express my gratitude enough. But thank you all. We live in a world where the customs of polite society aren’t as heeded as they once were. Some people feel like they can say (or type on social media) whatever comes into their head — no matter how it impacts others. It’s easy to lose sight of the goodness when you are blindsided by those who question your experiences and try to shed doubt on fact. The voices of bullies can begin to sound louder than the ones of friends, loved ones and supporters. But we don’t have to let this be. We can choose love and light and goodness. We can ignore the voices of hate and focus in on those of compassion and love. I know I do, especially now. It’s thanks to all the goodness sounding us here that I feel like we’re turning a corner. Through beautiful new experiences, we are breathing in life and finding our way. Every day, it gets a little easier to hug and kiss the kids goodbye and send them off to school. Every day, passing Dickinson Drive — the road that used to lead to our school — feels less significant. Every day, moving forward gathers more momentum. We really are okay, even though we must carry with us the heavy knowledge of what happened forever. Life can go on, without forgetting — and it is. Part of this corner turning has led me (finally!) back to the kitchen. For awhile there, I lost all interest in cooking. I went through the motions, making meals because I had to — when I had to. The joy of creation was missing. Food became just a means to an end — a necessity. But then, I wanted that special joy that comes with making and creating good food back. Of course, it’s not that simple. No amount of willing could restore the creativity. Fortunately, work beckoned. Assignments that were pitched long ago became due and I had to give in to the powerful pull of the kitchen. That intersection of need and want was right where I needed to be to get back to what I love. And now, I feel like I am reclaiming that bit of myself — and this bright and vibrant dish is part of that.
Making Cucumber, Carrot and Edamame SaladCucumber, Carrot and Edamame Salad is based on one of my very favorite salads, which I usually have over rice noodles. This one is a little heartier with the addition of edamame and a little more cucumber, and doesn’t necessarily need rice noodles to be loved. It marries so many wonderful things — cool cucumbers, sweet carrots, meaty edamame and a simple dressing of rice vinegar and oil. And making it? It’s so easy. Yet Cucumber, Carrot and Edamame Salad feels special — it’s happiness, captured in a bowl. Try this as a side dish with a flavorful chicken. Or use it in a pita sandwich with tender, warm, thinly sliced steak. Or just eat Cucumber, Carrot and Edamame Salad straight from the bowl and enjoy every second. It’s perfect just like that too.
- 2 cucumbers, peeled
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 large carrots, peeled
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup frozen shelled edamame
- 2 tbsp seasoned rice vinegar
- 1 tsp dark sesame oil
- Slice the cucumbers into thin slices (using a mandolin or food processor helps!) and place into a colander. Sprinkle with salt and stir gently. Let sit for 30 minutes. Then squeeze out excess water. Transfer cucumbers to a large mixing bowl.
- Shred the carrots finely (hint: a food processor makes this easy too!). Stir into the carrots.
- Heat the olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the edamame and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through. Stir into the bowl with the cucumbers and carrots. Drizzle with seasoned rice vinegar and dark sesame oil. Stir well to combine.
- Chill until ready to serve – at least 20 minutes.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. She is the author of several cookbooks including The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook and One-Pot Pasta, both from Rockridge Press. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.