My favorite thing about traveling is coming home. I’m a homebody, I like routine, I like the comfort of my own space where I can collect my thoughts after a long day. After driving around Iceland’s Ring Road (photographic evidence here), I was very happy to return to our little orange place. Exhausted, admittedly a little cranky and craving the comforts of home, the first thing I did upon our return was get into the kitchen.
Our Lonely Planet guide book served us well, but didn’t prepare us for the lack of selection or the astronomical price of eating in rural Iceland. Our choices were expensive fast-food at the gas station grill or really expensive food at our guesthouse. If you were lucky enough to find a decent restaurant, you were looking at really, really expensive. Like $18 for a hamburger. Without fries.
So, that meant a lot of shiny, square ham squished between white bread with a slice of processed Gouda. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but after our second day on the road and our sixth sandwich, IN A ROW, I wondered how I was going to make it.
Vegetables were expensive and not very good in the small towns we visited. Markets offered up wilting, iceberg lettuce, pale tomatoes, squishy cucumbers and tasteless sweet peppers. Rather than pay the price for bad produce we opted to go without and dream about the Big Salad I would make upon our return. When we got to Egilsstaðir we splurged on a bag of baby carrots imported from the US, and they were the best damned baby carrots we have ever had. Matters were made worse by my reading selection, Alice Waters and Chez Panisse, where every second paragraph was about “a beautiful little salad” plucked from Alice’s garden.
On the way home I grabbed as many vegetables as I could in three minutes. I may or may not have pretended to be on Supermarket Sweep during this task. I cheated and bought a roast chicken, but made up for it by making another loaf of no-knead bread. And then I roasted garlic for this heavenly dressing that topped a beautiful little salad that I am sure would make Ms. Waters proud.
Roasted Garlic Dressing
Adapted from How it All Vegan
Makes about a cup
8-10 cloves garlic
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1. Separate, but don’t peel, the cloves of garlic and roast in an unoiled pan for 10-15 minutes at 350F. Turn occasionally and let cool. Peel when cool.
2. In a blender or food processor, blend garlic, oil, vinegar, water, salt, pepper and mustard until smooth.