Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wilted Arugula Salad with Quinoa and Cherry Tomatoes

Here's an easy, delicious summertime salad that's perfect for a backyard picnic or summertime potluck.

1 cup quinoa, rinsed, soaked for 20 minutes, and drained
4 big handfuls baby arugula
Olive oil
6-8 tbsp balsamic vinegar, reduced
(simmer uncovered over low heat until volume reduces by half)
1/2 basket cherry tomatoes, halved
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
A little shaved Parmesan or a (mild, firm) goat's milk cheese* or a crumbly bleu cheese

Combine the quinoa and 1 1/4 cups water in a pot, cover, and bring to a gentle boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and the little quinoa spirals have uncurled. Remove from heat.

Toss the arugula in a bowl with a generous drizzle of olive oil (enough to lightly coat the leaves). Pour in the quinoa and let sit over the arugula for about a minute, so that the leaves wilt slightly around the edges. Toss gently to combine, then drizzle with the balsamic reduction and toss again. Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper, then add the tomatoes. Toss once. Scatter with a little cheese before serving.

Serves 4-6.

*speaking of which, if you're in the Sacramento or Bay Area, Quatro Pepe is well worth seeking out.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Summer Salad with Cucumber and Cherry Tomatoes

The perfect accompaniment to bread and cheese on a hot summery afternoon.

1 cucumber or Armenian cucumber (about 12 oz), halved lengthwise and thickly sliced
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
About 10-12 large leaves fresh sweet basil, chiffonade
1/2 Eureka lemon, juiced
Olive oil
Sherry vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper

Whisk together the lemon juice, oil, vinegar, and a little salt and pepper in a small bowl. Lightly toss the cucumbers with a little of the vinaigrette, and set in the fridge for 5-10 minutes to crisp up.

Meanwhile, prepare the rest of the ingredients. Toss the tomatoes and basil in the vinaigrette, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Toss with the cucumbers, and serve immediately.

Serves 3-4, and pairs well with an Argentinian Torrontes.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Sauteed Dandelion with Apricot and Golden Raisins

Speaking of dandelions, here's a springtime twist on winning the weed wars:

Olive oil
1 red spring onion, halved and sliced (or sub a shallot)
Small handful golden raisins
1 bunch dandelion greens, cut crosswise into ribbons
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 ripe apricot, halved and thinly sliced

Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat. Add the onion and saute for a couple of minutes until soft, then add the raisins and cook for a minute more. Fold in the greens and saute, stirring, for another minute or so, then pour in the chicken broth. Stir once or twice, then cover and let simmer for 3-4 minutes. Remove the lid and simmer until the excess liquid boils off. 
Turn off the heat, fold in the apricot slices, and cover. Let sit for 1-2 minutes till the apricots have just warmed through, and then serve.

Serves 2-3.