It’s hard being thousands of miles from family during the holidays, so I’ve been doing what I usually do to cheer myself up – planning and cooking elaborate meals. Since it’s summer here, and it’s just two of us to eat everything, I haven’t been cooking the traditional, heavy holiday feasts, but instead trying to come up with dishes that allude to the usual traditions. Fish preparations for holiday eves, for example. And this salad, which I’d planned to have roast rabbit or duck – along with the plums, I thought, it would be appropriate. But I couldn’t find anything quite so exotic in the nearby markets. Disappointed, I nearly scraped the dish altogether, but I decided instead to cook up a pork shoulder and use the pulled pork here instead. It ended up matching the variety of flavors here better than I’d expected, with the rich savoriness of the pork balanced by sweetness from plums, earthiness from mushrooms, and a crunch from almonds. Though the combination might seem unusual, it makes for a unique and elegant salad, great as an appetizer for a fancy meal or as a meal in and of itself.