Thursday, January 29, 2009

some more simplicity…

Life has been busy lately and we've been keeping our meals simple. Busy or not, it's been a satisfying way to eat. Superb ingredients shine with minimal preparation.

Baby Arugula Salad

Mince 2 cloves of garlic, sprinkle with salt, and use the edge of a knife to smash into a rough paste. Place the paste in the bottom of a large wood salad bowl. Finely chop two anchovy fillets (packaged in olive oil) and add to the bowl. Drizzle some olive oil (I am currently using Stonehouse Estate Blend) into the bottom of the bowl...don’t be shy...indulge a little. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl. Add a large amount (as much as you can fit and still have room to toss the greens) of crisp clean arugula into the bowl. Toss to coat with contents in bottom of the bowl. Add salt and course ground pepper to taste, and toss again. Top with shavings of Pecorino Romano cheese and homemade croutons (I cheated and used Mollie Stone's).

Inspired by a perfectly balanced arugula salad made by my Mother-in-law during her visit to Point Reyes Station.

citrus & cinnamon

I cannot stop thinking about blood oranges. The lovely specimens I have found lately have been so delicious and juicy that I've been hesitant to alter them in any way, but I have perfected a very simple pairing to which I've become addicted.

My inspiration was found in Claudia Roden's The Book of Jewish Food (thanks Mom). Ms. Roden writes of a common and very popular North African dessert, Salade d'Oranges, a combination of oranges, orange-blossom water, and cinnamon.

I typically begin preparing my version before dinner. 1st I find a pretty bowl and a sharp pairing knife. 2nd I remove all skin and pith and separate oranges into sections. 3rd I drizzle honey over the oranges. Lastly I sprinkle cinnamon on top.

I let the oranges, honey, and cinnamon mingle while I am eating dinner and thinking about how fabulous the oranges are going to taste, and then I eat them for dessert. Pure bliss.

Monday, January 5, 2009


i use a different combo of meat and veggies each time i make chili. here's what i did last night:

brown two mild italian sausages (casing removed) in a stock pot, crumbling w/ wooden spoon while cooking (chris did this for me). remove sausage and set aside in a bowl.

brown one large yellow onion (chopped) and about 5 cloves of garlic (rough chopped) in the sausage drippings (scraping up brown bits as the onions and garlic cook).

add carrots and bok choy (yes, this seems very odd, but i had some leftover home-grown veggies from the night before...there were probably about 4-5 small carrots sliced super-thin on a mandoline and 1 smallish bok choy chopped up thinly (leaves and all)...i had made a very simple stir fry the night before and had only added a bit of soy sauce - i was a bit worried about the soy sauce, but by the time the chili was finished cooking there was no soy sauce taste at could add some carrots and bok choy at this point, or whatever you like - the colors, texture, and taste of the carrots and bok choy were great and i'd definitely do it again.

add one seeded and finely chopped serrano pepper.

add a 15 ounce can of great northern beans.

add a 28 ounce can of fire roasted crushed tomatoes.

add the cooked sausage.

add cumin, chipotle chili powder, cayenne pepper, salt, freshly ground black pepper, and a little brown sugar and let simmer a while. i took it easy w/ the spices thinking i could add more later after i let it all settle and let the flavors mingle together. it turned out to be spiced perfectly and i didn't have to add anything.

so that's what i did. we just finished off the pot for lunch. it's cold and rainy, so hot chili was just what the doctor ordered!

have fun making your version : )