Thursday, June 17, 2010

Arugula, Tomato, Chickpea Salad

 We've all been there. You're about to head out of town, you're trying to finish what's left in your fridge so it doesn't spoil while you're away, and you feel like you've landed on an episode of iron chef. . . This also happens to me on any given weekday, particularly later in the week when I'm due to visit the grocery store. So starts this miniseries of posts- Kitchen Sink Salads. I'll post the hodgepodge salads that turn out well and hopefully help you when you're left with half of this, a cup of that, one of this, two of that, etc. The amounts I list are totally arbitrary- take what you've got and make it your own!

Arugula, Tomato, and Chickpea Salad

4 cups of arugula
1 slicing tomato cut into eighths
1 cup of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup of pecorino romano cheese
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp vinegar (I used balsamic)
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper

-In a large bowl, toss tomatoes in olive oil, vinegar, kosher salt, and pepper. Fold in arugula, chickpeas, pecorino romano, and season to taste.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Blueberry Mint Arnold Palmer

We're having a heat wave, a tropical heat wave and the last thing I want to do is turn on the oven. I am willing to turn on the stove, briefly, to make iced tea and enjoy one of the best perks of my new apartment. Ice cubes!!! As simple as ice may be, my shoebox freezer in my old apartment did not have space for ice cube trays hence my current joy for crisp, cool, beverages on a hot day. Here's a new twist on the classic Iced Tea/Lemonade Arnold Palmer. Lightly crush or bruise the mint before adding it to the glass to infuse the drink with more mint flavor.

Blueberry Mint Arnold Palmer

2 heaping tablespoons loose Earl Grey tea
4 cups boiling water
lemonade (or lemon juice and simple syrup to add to taste)
blueberries - fresh are best as they won't stain your drink
fresh mint
ice cubes

-Boil water, pour into a heat-safe container and steep tea leaves until the mixture cools to approximately room temp.
-In a large glass filled with ice, mix 1 part lemonade with 3 parts iced tea (or to taste). Garnish with mint and blueberries.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Mango Avocado Salsa

I hiked the Arch Rock trail at Pt. Reyes last weekend and it was a beautiful trip. The marine layer burned off early leaving many hours of gorgeous sun and sights-

My first taste of summer, my hike left me craving more and I made the following salsa to curb my Pt. Reyes cravings. Try to use avocados that aren't too ripe and will maintain their shape. Light, fresh, and sweet, serve this salsa with tacos, tortilla chips, or on top of grilled fish.

Mango Avocado Salsa

1/2 cup diced sweet red onion
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 large avocado cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 large mango cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and diced
1 lime, juiced
1 ts kosher salt
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
~ 1 tsp. cayenne pepper (to taste)

- In a medium bowl, combine red onion, vinegar, lime juice, avocado, mango, jalapeño, and salt. Let mixture rest for 20-30 minutes
-Add cilantro and cayenne pepper. Gently toss and serve.

Adapted from: Everyday Greens, Annie Somerville

Friday, June 4, 2010

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Some recipes are worth blogging about in multiple places. I found this recipe here, a great food blog I visit frequently. A light, refreshing pizza, my dinner guest mentioned this would make a great summer meal if you're willing to heat up your house with the oven. One suggestion: buy thicker asparagus as they are easier to shave with vegetable peeler.

Shaved Asparagus Pizza
-makes 2 12 inch pizzas

1/2 batch of pizza dough
1 bunch of large asparagus
1 cup mozzarella, grated
extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt
black pepper
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1/4 cup finely grated Pecorino Romano cheese
fresh minced herbs (I used Italian Parsley)
lemon zest

-Set oven to 480° F.
-Peel asparagus with a vegetable peeler using the tough end as a handle. You'll need ~1-1.5 cups per pizza. Toss asparagus peels in one tablespoon of olive oil, salt, and pepper.
-Prepare pizza dough and spread one tablespoon of olive oil over the pizza crust. Divide mozzarella cheese between the two pizzas, layer on the asparagus peels, sprinkle red pepper flakes, and bake the pizzas for 10-15 minutes until the crust is crisp and golden brown.
-Remove pizza from oven, top with lemon zest, herbs, and pecorino romano cheese.

-Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

A tomato pasta sauce without olive oil??

Before you scoff in disgust, try this recipe. Dreadfully simple, you don't even have to dice the onion and it tastes fabulous. If you're trying to eat less butter I would only replace a few tablespoons of butter for olive oil as the butter is what makes the dish.
The recipe calls for whole, peeled tomatoes but I cheated and bought the diced ones. Although whole tomatoes may be better, I figured that diced would work just as well and require less mashing and cutting while cooking. San Marzano tomatoes are a heirloom tomato variety that is similar to the well-known Roma tomato, but is thought to have a stronger and sweeter flavor. If you can find them at your local market I highly recommend that you give them a shot for this sauce.

Tomato Sauce with Onion and Butter

28 ounces whole peeled tomatoes from a can, or diced if you'd like (preferably San Marzano)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 medium-sized yellow onion, peeled and halved

-Put the tomatoes, onion, and butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to maintain a gentle simmer for 30-40 minutes and stir occasionally (for diced tomatoes, longer for whole tomatoes) until the sauce thickens and softens. If you use whole tomatoes, press them into smaller pieces while the sauce simmers. 
-Remove from heat and discard the onion. Season to taste, if necessary, and keep warm until pasta is ready. Serve with parmesan or pecorino romano cheese.

Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan