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Posts tagged ‘arugula’

Last Gasp of Summer

big garden tomatoes

I know it’s fall–it looks, smells and feels that way here in the Pacific Northwest–but the giant tomatoes I’m still hauling in from the garden and that keep showing up in my CSA share are ever so welcome. It is that time of year for me though where there is so much produce, both summer and fall crops, that it’s hard to focus. This salad is a good way to work through a lot of tomatoes and cherish their sweet juicy-ness before they disappear for many months.

This quick salad today is not a panzanella, at least not in the typical Tuscan sense, though it may look like it to many. This is panzanella! Thank goodness for a better writer than me and one with more authority on Italian food than me to write a proper post about this wonderful, soggy, yes soggy, Tuscan dish that I ate day after day in Italy and have recreated for students and friends alike, almost always to raised eyebrows of skepticism before and appreciation and wonder after ingestion! I like many of the more modern, American adaptations with toasted bread, I just resist calling them panzanella for some stubborn nod to tradition that occasionally comes over me.

In this salad, a thick slice or two of toasted bread is cut into cubes and tossed with big chunks of tomato, feta, a bit of arugula and lots of basil and some diced red onion. Red wine vinegar and good olive oil and salt and pepper is all the dressing it needs. Buon Appetito!

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Gratitude & Salads

A salad of mustardy roasted vegetables tossed with parsley and arugula with a lemony vinaigrette.

It’s one of those mornings in Portland (Oregon) that is unspeakably beautiful–one of those days that makes the cold, clammy, gloomy days of June seem both irrelevant and from some distant past hardly to be remembered (even though it was a mere four or five days ago when I sat shivering in my kitchen with a wool scarf around my neck).

I have two pots of beans cooking. This post isn’t even about beans but as I put them on this morning I sighed a big sigh of relief. I’ve been sick for more than a week and I’ve been working too hard and the combination has once again, this spring, derailed my simple routines and pleasures. So to have sunshine and a pleasant breeze and my favorite sustenance is just too good not to note.

On to salads. It’s always salad time of year for me but it’s extra good salad time of year right now. And some of my favorite bloggers seem to think so as well. I made this one yesterday for a potluck (with a toasted pumpkin and sunflower seeds instead of almonds) and I can’t wait to make this one when green beans start showing up in a few weeks and this one, which is explicitly made for the cook-with-what-you-have approach, though they all are really adaptable.

The salad pictured above was a bit of a fluke. I was developing recipes for my CSA farms and was roasting vegetables (carrots, broccoli, Japanese turnips and onions) with a mix of whole grain mustard, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil. I’m also thinking about herbs even more than usual since I’m teaching an herb class in two weeks (spots available!) and have been using them abundantly. So  I added lots of parsley and arugula which turned out to be a great foil for the richer, sweeter vegetables. So they got tossed together (at room temperature) with the greens and plenty of lemon juice and a little more olive oil. And I will be making this again soon!

Carrots, broccoli and onions roasted with whole grain mustard, lemon zest, garlic and olive oil. Lovely as is but perfect tossed with lots of parsley and arugula and lemon juice and olive oil.

Mustardy Roasted Vegetables with Parsley and Arugula

This is a nice variation to plain roasted vegetables. One of my favorite things to do with these, once roasted and a bit cooled is to toss them with lots of parsley and/or arugula or just lettuce. You could add feta or ricotta salata or another cheese of choice. You could roast different vegetables (peppers, potatoes, zucchini even). Then add a bit more lemon juice and olive oil and make a big salad out of it. Or you can toss it with quickly cooked kale and some more lemon juice. Quantities are approximations. Use however many vegetables you want in whatever ratio you want.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1 large onion, cut in half and sliced in ½-inch thick half-rounds
5 Japanese salad turnips, scrubbed but not peeled and cut into wedges (optional)
6-7 carrots, scrubbed and cut into ½ – ¾-inch slices on the bias
2-3 tablespoons whole grain mustard
2 tablespoons olive oil
Zest of 1 lemon
1 garlic clove, minced
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

Put all the vegetables in a big bowl. Mix the other ingredients in a small bowl and then toss the mustard mixture with the vegetables mixing very well. I use my hands to get it thoroughly mixed—messy but fun and effective.

Spread the vegetables on a baking sheet with sides—try not to crowd and use two sheets if you have too much for one. Roast for 20 minutes then stir and keep roasting until all vegetables are tender and beginning to brown around the edges.

As noted above, these are delicious tossed with greens or kale for an unusual salad or just eaten as is, hot or at room temp.

Happy Cooking!

Going Out

Egg carton from a recent egg pick up

It is gorgeous today here in Portland. We’ve seen remarkably little of this kind of weather this spring and it’s all I can do to not play hooky and go sit in a park with a book. And as I was sorting through the egg cartons that need to be returned to the place where I pick up eggs every week I found the one pictured above. It certainly sums up my feeling today. . .

And one more photo from this morning, from a neighbors’ front yard. There are still plenty of edible bits on these leggy shoots of kale and arugula and I’ve gotten in the habit of walking down the street mid-morning to pick the greens for my lunch.

Tuscan kale and arugula going to seed.

And now I will go outside, not to a park with a book but still outside!

Happy Spring, once again!

P.S. I promise to post two recipes next week to make up for today’s lack of any.

Quick Favorites

I work at home which means I eat lunch at home almost every day. I very much like my quiet lunches on the days Ellis is in school. And recently, I’ve been incorporating tomatoes in all of them. This time of year is so wonderful because with a decently stocked pantry you can make so many wonderful things with tomatoes in a matter of minutes.  The above lunch was an impromptu fried egg, tomato, basil and soft cheese sandwich. The bread is toasted, the egg warm–which gives the basil even more fragrance–and the whole thing is gooey, messy and so satisfying.

I tend to have frozen chickpeas on hand. I cook them (and black beans, etc.) in big batches and then freeze them in a bit of cooking liquid in quart or pint  containers.  Every other week or so I put a container in the fridge to use as needed. The other day I mixed said chickpeas with diced tomato, arugula, feta, olive oil, a little red wine vinegar and salt and pepper. And I had myself a delicious and hearty salad.

And finally, I  made this tomato and goat  cheese tart from David Lebovitz’s wonderful collection of recipes for a recent brunch with friends. It was quick because I had pre-made tart dough in the fridge. The dough itself is quick and easy to make and this recipe doesn’t even mention letting it chill before using so if you’ve got company for lunch  or dinner or brunch, it’s a winner and far easier than it looks.

Finally, two photos just for fun. This is my yellow crookneck squash plant on overdrive even as most of its leaves have already succumbed to the powdery mildew of all summer squash plants at this time of year.

And my dear brother Ben who is getting married on Saturday! I can’t wait!

Last but not least, I am having a great time testing soups but a very difficult time narrowing down  which ones to choose for the upcoming Soup Class on Sunday, October 3rd. A few spots left in that one and the Savory Condiment one in which we’ll be making tomato and onion jam and preserving sweet red peppers. Let me know if you’re interested.

Happy cooking and eating!

Katherine

Salad, Salad, Salad. . .

Say (curse, shout, whine, cry) what I will about this unbelievably rainy spell we’ve had, the lettuces and greens are glorious and bountiful. We have salads every night these days, the greens picked minutes before dinner. They are tender, sweet and addictive. Right now I have lots of arugula (not going to seed nearly as quickly as usual), mache (also known as corn salad, lamb’s lettuce or Feldsalat) and red oak leaf, and variety of green lettuces.

And speaking of salads and before I forget, my next cooking class is Saturday 6/19 and will feature salads (and a guest chef!) and other fabulous dishes. Still spots left – sign up at Cook With What You Have!

A few nights ago the salad needed to be the main gig for dinner. I had hard-boiled a few eggs earlier in the day since I like to have them on hand. I had some lovely  new carrots from my CSA and a few beets. I scrubbed them well and without peeling either–I gave up peeling carrots years ago but more recently have quit peeling beets too, unless less their on the big side when the skin can get a bit tough–cut the carrots on the bias into nice chunks, the beets into small wedges and spread them out on a sheet pan. I sprinkled them generously with salt and olive oil and roasted them in a hot oven (425) for about 20 minutes until tender and slightly caramelized around the edges.

Meanwhile I washed and dried the greens, roughly chopped 3 hard-boiled eggs and made a dressing. Dressing was green garlic finely minced (of which I also have a lot in the garden and since I want the garden space for other things I’m pulling it all up now), fresh thyme, dijon-style mustard, lemon juice, salt, pepper, olive oil and a few teaspoons of my reduced apple cider. More on that later.

I tossed the greens with the roasted veggies, eggs and dressing and we sat down to a meal of this beautiful salad and warm cornbread muffins made extra good with sharp cheddar, chives and some chili flakes in the batter. Cornbread recipe to follow soon. And if you can’t wait, it’s an adaption of a recipe from Michael Ableman’s Fields of Plenty.

It was the perfect late spring dinner . . . at least my husband and I thought so. My son ended up eating a deconstructed version that looked like this:

Try as I might, dressed green salads have yet to enter his repertoire.

On a final note, it is supposed to dry out and warm up, albeit after yet another few days of rain, so next week I’ll have a pizza recipe, yes, with greens for you all!

Happy Cooking and Eating!