Five Minute Photo Shoot: Arugula + Cherries, Peas + Orzo

Two recent dishes: first, a little salad of arugula, fresh cherries, and some fancy-pants blue cheese.  Lots of black pepper.  Looks like I served it with some soup or whatever.

arugula salad with cherries and blue cheese

Such a lazy salad.  I couldn’t be bothered to pit the cherries, so I went full-lazy and left the stems on too.

arugula salad with cherries and blue cheese

Second, orzo with peas, cooked mostly in the style of Frank Restaurant’s Spaghetti Limone.  Thing is, I had some action left over from cooking chicken recently, in the form of chicken drippings (schmaltz and jus, mind) infused with fresh herbs.

So I went ahead and used that instead of the cold butter indicated in the recipe.  Added some grated Parmesan too, just before stirring, for an extra-luxe sauce.  Toasty breadcrumbs on top because crunchy is the best texture.

orzo limone with peas and breadcrumbs

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Slow-Scrambled Eggs and Bagels

slow-scrambled eggs and bagels

A recent breakfast of eggs, slowly scrambled in leftover beef fat and butter, with Herbes de Provence mixed in.  Arugula with olive oil and smoked salt on the side.  Nothing better than really, really slowly scrambled eggs.  They’re flat-out creamy.

slow-scrambled eggs

These incredible bagels are from a new place in town.  They’re exactly the kind of bagel I want to eat for the rest of my life.  I mean, look at that crumb structure.  The flavor is complex and wheaty, not dense and bland like every other bagel you’ve ever had.

slow-scrambled eggs and bagels

Five Minute Photo Shoot: Panko-Fried Eggs and Soldiers

A little post-election night breakfast while getting to work: fried eggs, arugula, and soldiers for dipping.

I’ve taken to frying eggs over some toasted panko, an idea picked up from the Zuni Café cookbook.  Your eggs get all crunchy and amazing.  Couldn’t be easier, either: pan over medium-high heat, olive oil, panko, stir until just barely golden, a little more oil, crack eggs into pan on top of panko.  Salt and pepper.  Add some dried herbs if you want bonus points.  Over easy is best, so you can serve them panko-side up, and it’ll all stay crisp.

something’s missing…
there we go

Runny egg yolks 4 life.

That right there is some luxury.

Stupidly Simple Salad

You know the old trope, “write what you know”.  And most of the time, the things closest to you are too close to notice.  There are those things that you do and see every day, and you’re too familiar with them to even notice what they are anymore, let alone that they might be special or interesting outside of your narrow view of them.

So it is with this salad.

It’s so stupidly simple, I’m almost embarrassed to tell you about it.  But I eat it nearly every day with dinner, I adore it, and I thought I should probably mention it sometime.

It’s three ingredients: arugula, olive oil, salt.  And, as is the case with such simple food, the quality of each of those is important.  But don’t let that hold you back.

I’ve made this salad with some seriously on-the-way-out arugula, all fainting and half-yellow, and the cheapo olive oil I cook with.  It was fine.  Was it better with the aquaponically-grown hyper-local arugula, and the Very Special and Very Pricey olive oil in the tiny bottle?  Of course.  But y’all, it’s just salad.  Let’s not overthink things.

We’re all using Kosher salt, yes?  Lovely.  Do you happen to have some sort of fancy-pants special salt, from some exotic provenance?  Maybe something flavored?  Even better.  I’d avoid table salt, though; it tastes a little… dirty, somehow.

There is no vinegar in this salad.  You can add some if you feel awkward eating an acid-less salad, but I prefer it without.  Stupid.  Simple.  It’s my favorite.

top view, in case you needed another look

Stupidly Simple Arugula Salad

Yield: some salad

Do you really need a recipe? Here.

Ingredients

  • Arugula
  • Olive oil
  • Kosher salt

Instructions

1. Get a bowl.

2. Put the arugula in the bowl.

3. Put some olive oil on the arugula.

4. Put a pinch of salt on top.

5. Eat that salad.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/stupidly-simple-salad/

Strawberry, Watermelon, & Arugula Salad with Cardamom-Candied Pistachios

Recently, a dinner party client requested a strawberry salad for the meal I was cooking for him.  And I don’t know the last time you searched for “strawberry salad”, but 99.99% of the recipes out there involve two things:

1. Spinach

2. Poppy seeds

Not that there’s a thing in the world wrong with a good strawberry-spinach-poppy seed salad.  It’s a lovely little thing, simple, tasty, and pretty, which is why it’s ubiquitous.

But my clients don’t pay me to make exactly what the next guy is serving.  My clients hire me because they want something bespoke, something more thoughtful.  And I thought I could do better.

So I brainstormed.  At the top of the page, I wrote “NO GODDAMN SPINACH OR POPPY SEEDS”, just in case I needed a reminder.  I laid out some flavors: watermelon, arugula, pistachios, lime, balsamic vinegar, mint, shallot, cardamom, vanilla.

Peppery arugula made the base of the salad, while chopped watermelon and strawberries marinated in a bath of lime, herbs, shallot, olive oil, a splash of vanilla, and this incredible Strawberry White Balsamic Vinegar that I discovered from Our Dearly Departed Gourmet Magazine.  If you try nothing else from this recipe, make that.  You could practically drink it.

(Note to self: develop cocktail recipe using Strawberry White Balsamic Vinegar.)

(Edit: Done.)

The pistachios got candied with some egg white, sugar, and a heavy dose of cardamom.  They might seem like a fussy afterthought, but they go a long way towards tying everything together.  Besides, crunchy bits are requisite on moderately-fussy salads like this.  (And they’re a lovely little snack to boot, if you happen to make extra.)

These pictures are from the test run I did many weeks ago, and I can just about smell it through the screen.  This is one super fragrant salad, y’all.

We paired it with a punchy rosé, and oh my goodness if you make this salad, you really ought to have a bottle of rosé on hand.  It was one of those situations where one legitimately could not tell if the wine was making the food better, or the food was making the wine better.  There was a lovely roasted salmon too, but it became incidental.

My client, by the way, was thrilled.  And so was I.  I think you will be too.

Strawberry, Watermelon, & Arugula Salad with Cardamom-Candied Pistachios

Yield: 4 to 6 servings

If you choose to make the Strawberry Vinegar (which you absolutely should; recipe linked below), plan a little in advance, as it requires at least 1 hour to make. You can make it well in advance, and it's wildly versatile, so you have very little excuse.

If you don't have time for that, though, I specify white balsamic vinegar, only because regular balsamic vinegar will muddy the appearance a little. If that doesn't bother you, by all means use regular balsamic vinegar.

This strikes me as an ideal picnic salad, or contribution to a potluck dinner. While the strawberries and watermelon marinate in the dressing, that gives you ample time to get to, you know, wherever you're going. Once there, serve them with the arugula and the pistachios. Wham. You look like Martha Stewart.

Ingredients

    For the Cardamom-Candied Pistachios:
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 2 tablespoons white granulated sugar
  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 cups raw, shelled pistachios
  • For the Dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons Strawberry Vinegar, or white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh mint, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced
  • Zest and juice of 1 lime
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Extra virgin olive oil, as needed
  • For the Salad:
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 to 2 cups diced seedless watermelon
  • 3 to 5 ounces baby arugula, or as needed

Instructions

To Make the Cardamom-Candied Pistachios:

1. Preheat oven to 300° F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.

2. In a bowl, whisk the egg white with the water until foamy. Whisk in the sugars, cardamom, salt, and pepper until combined.

3. Add the pistachios and mix until coated.

4. LIft the pistachios out of the bowl, letting any excess liquid remain in the bowl, and spread in an even layer on the prepared pan. Do not crowd the nuts (use a second pan if necessary).

5. Bake, stirring every 10 minutes, until the nuts look dry, 20 to 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally to prevent them from sticking and clumping together. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

To Make the Dressing:

1. In a large bowl, combine the Strawberry Vinegar (or white balsamic), shallot, mint, basil, lime zest and juice, vanilla, and cardamom. Add a three-fingered pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper.

2. Slowly whisk in 1/4 cup olive oil (it's okay if it doesn't emulsify). Taste. If the dressing seems too tart, add additional olive oil one tablespoon at a time until it tastes more balanced. When it tastes good to you, proceed with the recipe.

To Finish the Salad:

1. Toss the quartered strawberries and diced watermelon with the dressing in the bowl. Let stand for at least 10 minutes at room temperature, or up to 2 hours in the refrigerator.

2. When ready to serve, add arugula and toss to coat with the dressing. Divide into bowls or plates, top with Cardamom-Candied Pistachios, and serve.

http://www.onehundredeggs.com/strawberry-watermelon-arugula-salad-with-cardamom-candied-pistachios/