Ronnie Paul: Travelling circus | TheUnion.com

Ronnie Paul: Travelling circus

Ronnie Paul
Columnist

I read that after years of allowing exotic service animals in aircraft cabins, the airlines finally tightened up regulations. It seems that as more unusual creatures occupied passenger seats, flights were beginning to resemble animal sanctuaries.

Once again, only certificate-carrying dogs and cats are allowed aboard now, but reading the article stoked my imagination.

I envision a line at the airport counter. While I wait behind a leashed python and a ferret sporting an REI backpack, a parrot squawks expletives about the crowds and the interminable wait. I even see a pony place his horseshoes in a basket before going through security. And what about his pat-down?

I read that one anxious passenger brought her support peacock. Honestly, I'd rather fly through a class five hurricane than sit next to a peacock. I'm not sure what they drink, but if I did have to sit next to one, I'd order a double martini.

If flight attendants were to serve such a variety of animals, they'd have to expand their peanut and pretzel offerings to include bird seed, insects, and hay. And don't forget Kleenex for human passengers with feather and fur allergies.

As I imagine the array of plumed and woolly fellow travelers, I'd definitely choose to drive. Of course my blood pressure soars when I maneuver big freeways, so I'd bring a downy duckling to calm my nerves.

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No matter how you travel, these recipes will support you.

Kale-Garbanzo salad

Serves 4

With scrumptious summer veggies on the immediate horizon, this is my kale farewell for the season.

4 ounces kale leaves

8 ounces garbanzos, rinsed and drained

2 radishes

1/2 cup toasted walnuts

1/4 cup raisins

Salt and pepper

Marinade

Whisk together:

6 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons lemon juice

2 tablespoons honey

Chop up the kale leaves and scrunch them around a few times to assure each leaf gets a good massage. Then toss the kale and garbanzos together with the marinade and chill for several hours. The longer, the better.

I do the marinating in the morning so the kale is utterly soft when I serve it for dinner.

A spiralizer is my newest kitchen toy, and if you have one, add an artistic touch to the salad by using it on the radishes. If spiralizers aren't yet your thing, slice the radishes thinly.

Right before serving, toss the kale and garbanzos with the radishes, walnuts, raisins and salt and pepper.

Wedge taters

Serves 3-4

For a quick side dish, try these taters. My husband Jeff, and I, argued over who got the last one. I won.

12 ounces fingerling potatoes cut in 1-inch wedges

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced garlic (I salute the bottled variety)

1 tablespoon finely grated Parmesan

Salt and pepper

Toss the potatoes with the oil, garlic, Parmesan and salt and pepper.

Place a sheet of parchment paper on a baking sheet.

Spread the potatoes on the sheet and bake for 25 minutes at 450 degrees. Don't over-bake them! The potatoes should be soft inside and a bit crunchy on the outside.

Try and keep the last-bite arguments to a minimum.

Ronnie Paul is a Nevada County freelance writer.

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