And what a salad it was – “the most unsalady salad we’ve had so far,” as Wayne put it.

This one was inspired by a hilarious and health-conscious co-worker, KR, whose lunches I’ve regularly envied. Every day, she brings with her to the office an interesting vegetable-and-carb and-protein assemblage in a dear little Maoist-style steel lunch box. I had been pining for something nearly as good in the weeks I spent dragging up dreadful salad-bar containers from the cafeteria, from which everything tastes tinned or petrified.

During a lineup meeting last week, KR was sitting to the right of me, finishing up one of these lunches, so I quizzed her on the contents of the box. It was quinoa (healthy protein), kale (superfood), red pepper (antioxidant), and fried chicken (sweet Jesus!), in a lemon vinaigrette. I knew I wanted in on that action!

As I mentioned yesterday, I did all the prep work the night before, which made for a quick supper tonight: The quinoa was ready, the kale had been parboiled, the very thin chicken cutlets (and slices of tofu for Wayne) had been salt-and-peppered, dipped in a couple of beaten, salt-and-peppered eggs, then breaded and tucked in the fridge, between layers of parchment in a Tupperware. And for fun – high on the narcissistic glory of feeling in control of the world because I was making dinner a day ahead – I had placed a few squashed cloves of garlic in a little dish of olive oil.

All that was left tonight was to fry the chicken (which Wayne did while I made my way home from work), sautée the kale for a minute or two in the garlic and oil from yesterday, and put our yummy salad bowls together:

We drizzled leftover Cobb vinaigrette over the quinoa. I only have the one rushed photo because it smelled so good.

And don’t you fight me on salad status. People eat rice salads, and potato salads – why not a grain salad with fried chicken? I consumed half a bunch of kale with it, for god’s sake.

And not to change the subject, but a vegetarian who’ll fry your chicken? (You didn’t think I’d let that one go.) Could there be a better foil.