Tag Archives: arugula

Roasted Pears with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Another day, another salad! I’ve been wanting to make this recipe since pears were in season last fall. Oh well – our global food distribution system allows me to have fall fruits year-round, which is convenient for me, but maddening to Michael Pollan.

I love the combination of warm blue cheese, crunchy walnuts and sweet fruit. This recipe roasts the pears with that confetti-colored filling, basting in a mixture of apple juice and white wine. You then make a sweet salad dressing out of the basting liquid to serve with the pears on their bed of arugula.

Adapted from Ina Garten.

Roasted Pears with Walnuts and Blue Cheese

Ingredients (serves 6):

  • 3 ripe but firm pears
  • Freshly squeezed lemon juice (3 lemons)
  • 3 ounces coarsely crumbled sharp blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted and chopped
  • 1/2 cup apple juice (or cider)
  • 3 tablespoons white wine (or port)
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 6 ounces baby arugula
  • Kosher salt

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Peel the pears and slice them lengthwise into halves. With a melon baller and knife, remove the core and seeds from each pear, leaving a round well for the filling. Trim a small slice away from the rounded sides of each pear half so that they will sit in the baking dish without wobbling. Toss the pears with some lemon juice to prevent them from turning brown. Arrange them, core side up, in a baking dish large enough to hold the pears snugly.

Gently toss the crumbled blue cheese, dried cranberries, and walnuts together in a small bowl. Divide the mixture among the pears, mounding it on top of the indentation.

In the same small bowl, combine the apple juice, wine, and brown sugar, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over and around the pears. Bake the pears, basting occasionally with the cider mixture, for 30 minutes, or until tender. Set aside until warm or at room temperature.

Just before serving, whisk together the olive oil, 1/4 cup of lemon juice, and 1/4 cup of the basting liquid in a large bowl. Divide the arugula among 6 plates and drizzle with salad dressing. Top each with a pear half. Drizzle each pear with some of the basting liquid, sprinkle with salt, and serve warm.

These weren’t so good as leftovers, so I recommend just making enough for you and your dining companions. Reheating the pears makes them mushy and the sauce loses something. A wonderful first-course or part of a healthy soup-salad dinner for these cool spring evenings.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Sauteed Lettuces with Salami and Shallots

I get the sense that lettuce is becoming a food trend. Seems that more and more food shows are incorporating plain old salad greens – from iceberg to romaine and arugula – into soups, sautees and other dishes. I believe the Brits are used to having peas with lettuce, which seemed strange to me until the doe-eyed Nigella Lawson demonstrated how delicious the combination can be.

Or maybe I’m just extra alert to green-food trends now that I’m trying to eat more of them. Anyway, I saw an interesting recipe in Bon Appetit for which lettuces are sauteed with spicy salami, garlic and ginger and served over brown rice, with fried shallots up top. It looked quite good and relatively healthy, so I decided to give it a try.

Both Grant and I loved it! He favors anything with a strong ginger element, and I loved the cured meat mixed with the just-wilting lettuces and crispy shallot. My goodness, what can’t be improved with crispy shallots on top?

I adapted this a little, but not too much.

Sauteed Lettuces with Salami and Shallots

Ingredients:

  • 2 T canola oil
  • 1/2 c. thinly sliced shallots
  • 1/2 c. chopped salami slices
  • 2 T thinly sliced garlic
  • 1 1/2 T minced peeled ginger
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • Half a head of iceberg lettuce, cored and roughly chopped
  • 2 c. arugula leaves
  • Cooked brown Basmati rice (enough to feed everybody you are serving)

Get the Basmati rice cooking while you prep all your ingredients.

Heat oil in nonstick skillet over low heat. Add shallots and cook, stirring often, until golden brown – 12 min. Remove to paper towels to drain and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Increase heat to medium and add salami, then garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes. Stir until everything starts to sizzle and add 1/4 c. water. Increase heat to medium-high, add lettuces and saute until just wilted, 1-2 min. Season with salt and pepper.

To serve, spoon lettuce mixture over brown rice and top with crispy shallots. I also added some green onions and parsley, just because I had them on hand.

This recipe makes me want to try more with wilting lettuce into dishes – yum! They retain a little bit of crunch, but lose any bitterness. And it filled us up just fine.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo

Chicken Tonkatsu with Watermellon-Herb Salad

It seems like forever since I’ve written here. But a new part of my life now that I’m a Southern gal is the inevitable weekend travel to escape the heat. Everybody, and I mean everybody, heads either for the beach or the mountains every weekend here. They all have beach houses and/or mountain homes and miles of interstates to get them there. Living in Central Oregon, I pretty much stayed put, because there was plenty to do, recreation wise, in town and it was just too exhausting to drive over a mountain pass to get to a real city.

So. Much of my cooking has been done either on the fly, in between neighborhood get-togethers or at high elevations (and the occasional sea-level location).

One such weekender meal was this beautiful panko-crusted chicken cutlet served with a fresh and juicy watermelon-tomato and herb salad. I adapted the recipe from Bon Appetit’s pork tonkatsu. To be honest, it was basically chicken schnitzel, but with Japanese breadcrumbs.

Chicken breast pounded thin and dredged in Dijon-whipped eggs, then Japanese breadcrumbs and lightly fried to develop a crispy crust and juicy meat.

I don’t normally like watermelon, but I love the idea of watermelon in salads that are full of herbal flavors. I added some of our fruity CSA grape tomatoes and fresh basil and parsley to an arugula mix. All you need is a simple vinaigrette to pull this colorful salad together. Amazing!


Chicken Tonkatsu with Watermelon-Herb Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups watermelon cubes
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups (lightly packed) baby arugula or arugula mix
  • 1/4 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
  • ¼ c. torn basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard, divided
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice plus 4 lemon wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper plus more
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/8″ thickness
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Whisk olive oil, 1 tablespoon mustard, and juice in a small bowl. Season dressing with salt and pepper. Set salad and dressing aside.

Whisk eggs and 1 tablespoon mustard in a medium bowl. Combine panko, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper on a large plate. Season chicken lightly with salt and pepper. Dip in egg mixture, then in panko, pressing to adhere.

Working in 2 batches, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat and cook chicken until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side, adding 1 tablespoon vegetable oil after turning. Drain on paper towels.

Toss salad with dressing; season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve chicken with salad and lemon wedges for squeezing over.

We enjoyed ours with a nice, crisp glass of white wine and mountain views. It was perfect!

Oh, and our third chicken breast? It became a chicken ‘n a biscuit for the next day’s breakfast. Better than Biscuitville, y’all!

Hope everybody had a beautiful July 4th! xoxo

White Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto

In the universe of hand-thrown pizzas, I’m the first to turn to the experts for that crispy-yet-chewy crust, perfect cheese blend and whatever magic they put on top.

But that all changed recently, when I made my version of Ina Garten’s White Pizza with Arugula salad on top.

White pie with arugula is a popular pizza – the peppery arugula, tossed in a vinaigrette, adds a crisp bite to the ooey gooey cheese. My addition of thinly sliced prosciutto adds a veil of salty pork to the party that makes all the other ingredients have more fun.

I made the dough the day before (veering from the recipe), which I think made it easier to work with. The garlic-chili-thyme oil is brilliant – be sure to spoon some of the soft garlic bits onto the pizza as you drizzle – they get all sweet and smooth. And the simple lemon vinaigrette for the arugula just brightens the greens. If I could marry a pizza, it would be this pizza.

Grant said this is the best pizza he’s ever had. And he’s lived in NYC!

White Pizza with Arugula and Prosciutto

Ingredients:

FOR PIZZA

  • 1 1/4 cups warm (100 to 110) water
  • 2 packages dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for kneading
  • kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, sliced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes

For the topping:

  • 2 cups grated fontina cheese (8 ounces)
  • 1 1/2 cups grated mozzarella cheese (7 ounces) – I forgot to get this, so just used leftover manchego – use up your leftover cheeses here!
  • 8 ounces creamy goat cheese crumbled
  • 1/2 lb. thinly sliced prosciutto

For the VINAIGRETTE:

  • 1/2 cup good olive oil
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 ounces baby arugula

Mix the dough: Combine the water, yeast, honey and 3 tablespoons of olive oil in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a dough hook. When the yeast is dissolved and fizzing (10 min.), add 3 cups of flour, then 2 teaspoons salt, and mix on medium-low speed. While mixing, add up to 1 more cup of flour, or just enough to make a soft dough. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes until smooth, sprinkling it with the flour as necessary to keep it from sticking to the bowl.

When the dough is ready, turn it out onto a floured board and knead it by hand a dozen times. It should be smooth and elastic. Let it rise.

Place the dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it to cover it lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 30 minutes (or longer, if you go out).

Meanwhile, place 1/2 cup of olive oil, the garlic, thyme and red pepper flakes in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook for 10 minutes, making sure the garlic doesn’t burn. Set aside.

Dump the dough onto a board and divide it into equal portions (we made two, but you can make up to six). Place the doughs on sheet pans lined with parchment paper and cover them with a damp towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately, or refrigerate for up to 4 hours (Note: I instead just punched the risen dough down and left covered in the fridge overnight).

Press and stretch each ball into an 8-inch circle and place on each sheet pan lined with parchment paper. (If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out of the refrigerator approximately 30 minutes ahead to let it come to room temperature.)

Brush the pizzas with the garlic oil, and sprinkle each one liberally with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the pizzas evenly with fontina, mozzarella and goat cheese. Drizzle each pizza with 1 tablespoon more of the garlic oil and bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the crusts are crisp and the cheeses begin to brown.

Top with prosciutto slices.

Meanwhile, whisk together 1/2 cup of olive oil, the lemon juice, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add the greens.

When the pizzas are done, place the arugula in a large bowl and toss with just enough lemon vinaigrette to moisten. Place a large bunch of arugula on each pizza and serve immediately.

When you slice in, the cheese will be delightfully messy, the prosciutto will be blooming with that slightly gamey flavor and the arugula will be starting to wilt. Yum.

Enjoy, friends! xoxo