Monday, April 30, 2012

Smoked Salmon on Sourdough with Eggs and Kale

Let's say you have a big package of wild smoked salmon on hand, from Costco, and a few pastured eggs, and some Red Russian kale growing in your garden.*

And let's say you have very little energy, but feel compelled to make something whole-foody and home-cooked because you vaguely remember that there's some reason you tend to find that important, on days when you're not too tired to think, and you strongly suspect that one of those days is coming up sometime in the next few weeks and that Untired You will look back on Tired You with sad disapproval if Tired You doesn't cook something today, and you can just imagine the sad, sorrowful shake of the head that Untired and Disgustingly Energetic Future You will throw back in the direction of Tired and Somewhat Pathetically Lethargic Past You, and you cannot bear it. You cannot. And also you cannot bear the thought of something oversalted and processed, because you've gotten addicted to deliciousness and you just can't stop eating it.

If such a thing should happen, I suggest you make this. Future You will be totally jealous.

Ingredients (per person)
2 slices sourdough or multigrain sourdough bread
A few slices smoked salmon (enough for one layer on the sandwich)
1 egg
Olive oil
1 small clove garlic, chopped
A generous handful of sliced kale (that's been cut into thin ribbons and washed carefully)
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat. Add a glug of olive oil, then add the garlic and saute for 20-30 seconds until soft. Add the kale and saute, stirring occasionally, until the leaves begin to wilt and the stems begin to soften a bit. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and push to the side of the pan.

In the other side of the pan, drizzle a bit more olive oil and then break the egg directly into it. Let sit for a moment, then slowly push the spatula through the egg once to break the yolk. Let sit for another moment, then repeat, so that you're slowly stirring the egg to cook evenly while only partially blending the yolk and the white (at the end, there should still be some distinct white and yellow parts). Stir the kale once or twice in the meantime.

Toast the bread.

When the egg is no longer runny, turn off the heat, and assemble the sandwich in layers: Smoked salmon over the bottom piece of toast, then egg, then kale. Sprinkle with freshly ground pepper. (If the toast is on the dry side, sprinkle the bottom and/or top piece with a little olive oil.)

Cut sandwich in half, and serve hot.

*Incidentally, kale is both easy to grow and keep producing year-round, or at least nearly year-round if you live in frosty climes...and fresh baby kale from the garden is amazing. Grow it. Future You will thank you.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Sauteed Pea Shoots with Garlic Butter

There were pea shoots in our CSA box this week.

Not little baby pea shoots, like the ones that come in a nice safe-looking plastic container from the store. No, these were big, emphatic pea shoots. Pea shoots that meant business. Young and tender, yes, but still. There was no mistaking them for sprouts. No pretending they were not, basically, large pieces of a vine.

The box insert seemed to imply that they were edible. At least, I assume that a recipe for chicken and cilantro with pea shoots suggests you should put the pea shoots in with the chicken, and eat them both.

The internets said sugar snap pea shoots are edible, and other pea shoots are poisonous.

We said: "Surely our beloved CSA box wouldn't poison us."

And then we said: "Surely our beloved CSA box wouldn't poison us intentionally."

We Googled "sugar snap pea shoots" and compared and contrasted the pictures with our bowl full of loosely identified vegetable matter. We tilted our heads and squinted. We reassured each other about the similarity of the leaf shape in the photograph and the leaf shape in our hands. We reiterated the point about our CSA box not poisoning us. We made courageous declarations about boldly going where smarter people might not be particularly inclined to go. We steeled our steadfast stomachs.

We cooked the pea shoots. We ate them.

So far, you will be happy to know, we are decidedly alive, and these were decidedly delectable.

A big bowl full of young sugar snap pea shoots, cut or pinched into 3-inch pieces
(if you pinch them apart with your fingertips, you can tell if they're tender -- if you come across a tough piece, toss it out)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 clove garlic, smashed
1 tsp black mustard seeds
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

Heat butter and olive oil in a nonstick pan over medium heat. When hot, add the garlic and mustard seeds and saute for about 2 minutes. Add the pea shoots, sprinkle with salt, and saute, tossing from time to time, for 2 minutes or until most of the leaves have just wilted. Turn off the heat, toss once more, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

Serves 2-4, and pairs well with Sri Lankan dal curry or fish.

Monday, April 16, 2012


Allow me to wander away from recipes for just a moment,

because I am thinking, today, not just about food,
but about life (and death)

and how one thing changes into another

and how we live most at the spaces where our lives intersect

 and how one of those spaces is a table
over which food is shared
and laughter spills

and the world takes on its meaning.


Friday, April 6, 2012

The Food in Our Food

In light of the recent media commotion over the ammonia-washed waste trimmings in our beef and caffeine-and-benadryl stuffed chicken (who are apparently also fed their own feathers, laced with arsenic and old lace...I mean, delicious anti-microbials), you may be finding yourself craving some food that didn't come from an industrial farm.

For example. You know those nasturtiums growing in your back yard? Turns out they're delicious. And rarely fed feathers or washed with ammonia. It's like a win-win situation.

To make them the centerpiece of your dinnertime salad, whisk up a vinaigrette of olive oil, sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper, drizzle lightly over baby greens and toss well. Top with diced grapefruit or pomelo, lightly toasted pine nuts, and a little crumbled goat cheese. Scatter with nasturtium petals and/or whole flowers, and serve alongside roasted beets, or risotto, or sablefish.

None of which have ever been ingredients in dog food. There's something comforting about that.