Category Archives: salad

Brussels Sprouts Cranberry Salad

Brussels sprouts salad with cranberries

2015 Winter Salad #1! This is the kind of vegetable-based meal I delight in. Manages to feel healthy and hearty at the same time, and provides a good balance of different flavors and astringencies. One important note: DO NOT overcook your Brussels sprouts. This happens fairly easily; I tend to roast vegetables until quite done and caramelized, but that’s not how these work. You want them crisp but still with a good crunch, so watch them carefully in the oven.

Lots of oven time on these ingredients; save time and dishes by toasting pumpkin seeds and walnuts in large batches ahead of time. You’ll be glad you did for future food forays, or averting hanger after a long work day.

I have alluded to this before, but the time has come (the walrus said [Brussels sprouts are a kind of cabbage, so that’s not totally uncalled for. And Europe had kings at one point])! I am off to Germany on vacation next week. Therefore, do not expect a recipe (or non-recipe as is my tendency) from me in the next fortnight. Do continue to follow me on Instagram, I endeavor to post pictures of fairy tale food and other similar adventures.

Roasting pan of Brussels sprouts salad

If you come, they will build it: lessons in supply and demand from our food giants—consumer demand is changing how large corporations are handling their supply chains, labor practices, and additives. Moral of the story: keep asking for better food.

On another note, how about a suffragette cookbook? Cake against injustice (that’s my kind of subversion…)!

Or, vegetables for justice!

Vegetable-based meal rule number one: start with the vegetable (surprise!). Brussels sprouts are truly excellent roasted, as long as you don’t overdo it (remember last year’s Brussels sprouts with bacon? Nom.)

Rule #2: Add protein: nuts and seeds, in this case (otherwise: a small amount of meat (this can add flavor too); eggs; cheese; tofu; grains like quinoa).

Rule #3 (more of a guideline really, but arguably the most important): flavor! Salt is crucial. Here, cranberries and apple cider vinegar create a sharp contrast, and a little paprika on the pumpkin seeds round it out with a smoky note.

Cranberry Brussels sprouts fall salad
1lb or so Brussels sprouts
A few handfuls of cranberries
Salt and olive oil
A handful of pumpkin seeds (pre-toasted if you can)
A handful of walnuts
A dash of apple cider vinegar

Halve or quarter the Brussels sprouts (depending on size), and roast at at least 400ºF with a little salt and oil until barely tender and crispy, not more than 20 minutes. In the last 10 minutes (or right in the beginning if you want them softer), toss in a few handfuls of cranberries.

If pumpkin seeds are not toasted yet (I usually just do it whenever roasting a pumpkin/squash), spread out on a baking sheet with a little salt, oil, and paprika (smoked or otherwise, depending on preference), and toast in the oven for at least 10 minutes, scraping up and flipping halfway through, until golden and crackly.

Toast walnuts on a baking sheet until fragrant and crunchy, about 5 minutes. This can happen while the Brussels sprouts are in the oven.

When sprouts are ready, toss with a little apple cider vinegar, then mix in the rest of the ingredients, salt to taste, and serve.

Other vinegars, like balsamic, would also substitute if you want something a little richer.

Auf wiedersehen!

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Kohlrabi Apple Matchstick Salad

kohlrabi apple salad with hazelnuts

Crunch, crunch.

Everyone knows that apples and cheese and mustard go together, right? What they may not know is that kohlrabi is adds an important edge to the mix. Just enough zing to tie it all together and a very pleasant crispiness, especially since it’s not apple season and your apples may not have the ideal firmness. (This was my roommate’s idea, by the way)

Cutting up anything into matchsticks makes it more fun, too (besides the bit where it takes dressing more handily). I recommend peeling kohlrabi, cutting in half and then thin slices, then take half of that, flip it sideways (on the flat side) and cut more thin slices. You can kind of do the same thing with apples (don’t peel, but core them), but it’s a little trickier with the core gone. I bet there’s some ridiculous fancy kitchen gadget that will do matchsticks for you, if you really can’t stand cutting them up.

To elucidate some comments I’ve made previously re: farm tech, the problem with technological change is much the same problem as GMOs: copyrights. Farmers end up needing to hack into the systems of tractors and other equipment in order to use them. When you reach the point that the farmers are seeking out old versions of tractors just to avoid this problem, you know there’s something wrong with the system. The same could potentially be applied to seeds—the only reason we get so excited about heirloom (historic) seeds these days is because we haven’t been breeding for the right traits (i.e. flavor), so important qualifiers have been lost over time, and some of the newer interesting seeds have weird patents on them. Harumph.

There are some cool new developments though (well, a combination of new and old, like many of my favorite innovations), like a tree that has been grafted to produce 40 different kinds of fruit! Trees are so neat. I need to get an orchard when I have a real place, whenever that will be.

It’s almost tomato season and I am beyond thrilled. Stay tuned.

Kohlrabi apple matchstick salad
2 kohlrabi bulbs
1 apple
2-4 oz. extra sharp cheddar
Parsley
1 small scallion, or 1/4 red onion
Chives
Nuts, if desired
Dressing: 
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 large spoonful mustard (more than you would put in an ordinary salad)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Lemon
Honey, if desired
Tahini or cream, if desired
Salt and pepper

Cut up the kohlrabi and apples into matchsticks (see above for technique recommendations). Matchstick the cheddar as well. Chop up parsley, green onions, chives, and any other additions you would like. Toast nuts, if using.

Whisk together dressing ingredients in a large bowl. Add the remaining ingredients and toss, making sure cheddar pieces separate from each other.

Serve with toasted nuts on top.

Other variations: More lemon; mint instead of mustard; parmesan instead of cheddar; add radishes for an extra bite or cucumbers to make it milder.

Picnic time!

kohlrabi apple salad

P.S. I added my Instagram to the side of the page! Now you can see all my pretty pictures even without an account. You’re welcome.

Socca, Lentils, and Lemon Radish Salad

socca, lentils, and mint lemon radish salad

Ah, the challenges of assembling a meal. Particularly vegetarian meals, because often there’s no focal point, but instead an amalgamation of various sides seeking harmony. Today I offer you a combination: three elements that are quite tasty alone, but perhaps not spectacular, yet together create a marvelous dinner.

Socca (also known as farinata, is a vegetarian staple I’ve been meaning to make for a while, and I would’ve done it much sooner had I realized quite how easy it is. Chickpea flour, water, a little oil, some time, and heat—very little labor. And so, so delicious.

Would your grandmother call this food? Either way, it’s definitely worth eating.

Other side note shareables: tips for container garden growing! Also, farmers are starting to use microbes (yep, the same organisms that are receiving accolades in the yogurt-kombucha-aged cheese-loving world) instead of pesticides! Keep working while we attempt to figure you out, nature.

socca batter

The Creation of this meal Story: I had been thinking about socca, and then I got some beautiful purple and red radishes in my CSA this week, along with some mint, and figured radish salad would be a lovely fresh addition. I could be happy with that combination for myself, but I like to fill out the plate a little more when there are other people around (and also, leftovers). The little gray cells landed on lentils: easy, a flavorful accompaniment, but generally not terribly exciting as a main course. Here, they perform their role more than admirably, providing heft and spice and heartening out the other two dishes. As for the salad, the lemon on the radishes cuts their sharpness enough to enjoy a plateful, and the mint wonderfully brightens the warmth of the lentils when ensemble. All scooped up with aromatic socca, I was quite pleased, and I think you will be too.

rosemary for socca

Socca recipe from Mark Bittman, the rest I just threw together.

Socca, lentils, and lemon-mint radish salad
Socca:
1 cup chickpea flour
1 cup lukewarm water
Salt and pepper
Rosemary
1/2 onion, if desired

Red lentils, with plenty of spices: cardamom, cinnamon, cumin, turmeric, ginger
Onions, chopped
Oil

2 bunches radishes
A few sprigs of mint
1 lemon
Salt and pepper

If you have time to mix the batter for the socca ahead of time, do so. Put chickpea flour, salt, and pepper in a bowl, then add water slowly, whisking to avoid lumps. When smooth, add a couple tablespoons of olive oil and whisk again.

While that is sitting, cook the lentils: heat up dry spices until aromatic, then add oil and onions and cook until onions are soft. add lentils and stir until the lentils take on some color, but don’t let them burn—have water on hand. Add water, bring to a boil, then simmer until soft, around 20 minutes (red lentils disintegrate fairly quickly).

When ready to cook the socca, put a large cast iron pan in the oven and preheat to 450ºF. When hot, remove pan and add a little oil and some rosemary (you could also cook a few onions at this point, returning the pan to the oven until onions are brown, then adding them to the batter). Pour batter into hot pan (don’t forget oven mitts at any point in this process!) and cook for 10 or so minutes, until golden brown and set (actual length depends on how wide your pan is, which determines the thickness of the pancake; I admittedly burned mine a tad).

While the socca is cooking, wash and cut the radishes into quarters, or bite-size chunks depending on their size. Chop up mint and place both in a bowl. Squeeze the lemon (including pulp) over the radishes, add a little salt and pepper, toss, and taste. Adjust as needed.

Serve, and don’t worry if lemon juice from the radishes (it may even turn pink!) seeps into the lentils. Do try to avoid making the socca soggy though.

Grilled Veggies, Chorizo, and Fiddlehead Lentil Salad

fiddlehead chorizo lentil salad

Grilling, chorizo, and fiddleheads! Doesn’t get too much better than that (unless you add lentils).

Continually looking for more ways to incorporate non-meat proteins into the diets of meat-eaters, I’ve decided that chorizo (much like bacon) is a magic trick. Less meat, after all, does not mean no meat, and a flavored bit of spicy sausage provides an excellent source of protein as well as flavor. Chorizo in particular is a fabulous smoky spicy blend beloved by, well, most (hedging my bets here. There are always those odd ones who don’t like certain foods. So glad I’ve gotten over being a picky eater).

So, why not mix the wonderfully enriching chorizo with our new favorite legume, the lentil? Why not, indeed. Add in a few grilled vegetables of your choice, and maybe a few sautéed ones too, a bit of dressing if you like, and you’ve got yourself a meal (I also recommend some grilled toast on the side). If you don’t have a grill, the additions to this salad can be prepared in the oven or on the stove as well, with only a slight difference in flavor (mostly it’s just fun to grill things). You can add anything to a salad—even random bits of old produce you might ordinarily throw away (reduce food waste!).

Just as easy as a dinner kit, simpler, and evidently easier to source local ingredients.

Fiddleheads are the thing at the moment (well, perhaps their moment is passing by now, it is quite fleeting. Apologies again for the delay). For those of you not from New England (the only place I’ve seen them, anyway), they’re these funny little fern fronds that perhaps taste like a mix between asparagus and a green bean. Most recipes I’ve seen for them recommend lots of butter to counteract their slight astringency (an endorsed suggestion, certainly not limited to fiddleheads).

My new favorite dressing is a variation of Annie’s Woodstock dressing. It’s lovely on green salads, especially with avocado, and good for marinades, grain or legume salads, or as a dipping sauce too. Really what I’m trying to recreate is this fabulous dressing from my hometown, Planet Good Food Store dressing, which is similar to Annie’s except better (at least how I remember it). I haven’t quite got it down yet but I’m working on it—hopefully by the end of the summer. Tangy, flavorful, thick, creamy, but totally vegan (if that matters to you) and so so good. Besides, it’s a beautiful bright orange color.

As usual, I recommend cooking a large pot of lentils at the beginning of the week, and then using them in recipes like this throughout the week. A delicious quick lentil meal (which may warrant its own short post at some point, but I was too hungry to take a picture so I want to tell you about it regardless) for a weeknight when you are rushing home is a lentil taco or tostado—sauté some greens, with onions if you like, or chop up some cabbage or wash some lettuce, and warm up lentils with a good dump of chipotle and a little cumin. Add a little sour cream if you want (although this is not really necessary), and place on top of a tortilla, chips, or toast. Add slices of ripe avocado and a little salsa, if you like (cheese too if you’re feeling it), and you are ready to scarf it down.

Now, on to another no-recipe recipe:

Grilled veggies, chorizo, and fiddlehead lentil salad
Lentils (1 1/2-2 cups cooked)
Chorizo (1/2 lb?)
Veggies! Onions (2), sweet potatoes (1-2 large, or more if smaller), whatever you feel like
Olive oil
Salt
Fiddleheads, spinach, or other greenery
Butter (or more oil)
Dressing of choice 

Tomato-tahini dressing
4-5 Sundried tomatoes, revived in boiled water, and the water
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup canola oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
5 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons nutritional yeast flakes
2 tablespoons tahini
3-4 cloves garlic

A note on construction: You can add whatever you like to this salad, but here are my suggestions: I like having a little sweetness (sweet potatoes) to balance the smoky chorizo, definitely like having greenery to change the texture, add color and freshness, and onions make everything meld together. That being said, other combos or additions would be lovely too. More suggestions on salad combinations (in a composed salad) from the NYTimes.

Cook lentils if you have not done so already.

Heat up the grill. Bring the chorizo to room temperature. Chop up veggies for the grill (or however else you are preparing them)—I like slicing fat wide onion rings, and had small sweet potatoes so I just cut them in half. Toss veggies with a little oil and salt. Place on grill, with the chorizo, and cover top.

While the veggies and chorizo are cooking, clean and trim the fiddleheads. Sauté in butter (or oil) until tender but still crisp.

Make dressing: add all ingredients to a blender. Taste, adjust, and blend until emulsified.

Assemble: When chorizo is cooked, onions brown, and sweet potatoes soft, remove from the grill and chop up into small chunks. Place everything in a large bowl (only add dressing as needed, you won’t use the whole batch for this—good thing, because you’ll want it for everything else this week) and toss. Serve (can also be served cold if you’d like to make it ahead, although better room temperature or slightly warm).

Good for a crowd, and good leftovers too—make a large batch.

Winter Lentil Salad

IMG_0276

Yum, food. As I was derelict in my previous post, I am now providing you with a lentil recipe. With winter vegetables, no less (and admittedly a few additions). But first I have a bunch of fun things to share, since I’m on all these mailing lists and come across a variety interesting articles that I think you’ll enjoy.

There has been a considerable interest lately in the increasing power of women in agriculture: globally in the face of climate change, in sustainable ag generally (something to do with a nurturing spirit? Although I reject the concept that that has to be a feminine trait), and overall in the food and farming sector. This is partly because women tend to be better at collaboration, which is increasingly important to the new economy, and especially in this emerging field. And partly because the world may be changing. Slowly. Go ladies!

Related to the new economy: can farms be a part of it (think Uber for farm storage)? And to new stuff in general: what about printing 3D crackers (although I don’t quite understand how this is different from making actual crackers).

More related to this recipe: if you need another incentive to eat less meat, here’s a fun video about water use in food, from Grist. And finally, a shoutout to Montana, and growing awesome heritage lentils. Lentils are great for ecology, since they fix nitrogen in the soil, but are also packed with protein. The article also includes a lentil recipe, so… get cooking!

This recipe is vegan, gluten-free, paleo (I think? I don’t know much about paleo, to be honest), what have you… but the tahini keeps it nice and creamy. Fresh, interesting, filling, and tasty—do you need another reason?

Warm winter lentil salad (this makes a lot, so you have it for lunch)
2 cups cooked green lentils, or 1 cup dry
4 or more carrots
4 large beets, or more smaller ones
A head of garlic
Olive oil and salt
A leek or two, or an onion
Other greenery (bok choy, spinach, kale, etc)

Dressing:
Tahini (a large spoonful)
Olive oil (2 large spoonfuls)
Apple cider vinegar (a small spoon)
Coconut butter, if you have some (a small spoon)
Turmeric
Salt
Fresh orange juice, if you have it

Chop up carrots and beets—I pretty much quartered both of them (I like long carrot pieces). Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with salt, and roast with garlic cloves until soft and getting caramelized, at least 30 min at 350ºF or so (turn over with a spatula a couple times). Watch the garlic cloves—they burn faster than the veggies. While the veggies are roasting, cook the lentils, if you haven’t already (cover with at least an inch of water, bring to a boil, then simmer until soft. Drain as necessary). Chop up the leeks or onion (slice onion lengthwise to have it hold more body) and sauté briefly until soft. Chop up greens, if needed.

Stir together dressing ingredients (mine got a little curdled, but still tastes good, so don’t worry about it too much). Taste, adjust, and thin with water if needed. Toss lentils, carrots, beets, whole garlic cloves, greens, and leeks together, and then mix in dressing.

Best served slightly warm or room temperature, although it is also good cold.

Roasted Beet, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad

P1030165

(I’m at a conference this week so a quick bite so you don’t starve while I’m away.)

Towards the end of my college career, the dining hall started serving these awesome entrée salads on the end of the salad bar. This was my favorite, although they would top it with blue cheese or no cheese instead of goat, and would usually put feta on instead (the dining hall was pretty fantastic, but no goat cheese on a regular basis).

When you are in the process of roasting things, roast a lot of them. These beets I think I decided to roast when I was making squash and cookies one day, to use my oven efficiently. I knew I wouldn’t eat the beets any other way, and they’re better if you can let them take your time, which is not always the case when you come home wanting immediate food. Once you have the beets, and the walnuts (I also toast a bunch of nuts at once and then keep them that way—I don’t think they keep quite as long, but it’s worth it to have toasted nuts around to toss on things or just munch on), you can throw together this salad any time and it’s AMAZING. I used spinach as a nice winter vegetable but you could really do anything you like, or skip the greens altogether and just have the other ingredients, which complement each other quite nicely.

Roasted Beet, Walnut, and Goat Cheese Salad
Beets
Walnuts
Goat cheese
Spinach, or other greens
Balsamic reduction, or vinegar and olive oil

Do you really need this? Roast the beets and toast the walnuts, if you haven’t already. Don’t even bother mixing dressing together, just drizzle on some balsamic and olive oil, then toss on the goat cheese and dig in.

P1030167

(With a side of squash, as I am wont to do.)

Autumn-Summer Salad: Apples and Smoked Cheese

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With all the fine weather this weekend it seemed like a good time for another salad, which will probably be mostly disappearing off of my menu in the near future. So after I came home from tennis and a quick swim in the ocean (again, probably the last time for a while, and yes it was quite cold), I threw this together and was quite pleased with the result.

I often eat apples and cheese together as a quick snack (apples and peanut butter is also great), but putting it on top of a salad, with the addition mustard, makes the combination into more of meal.

You can make this with whatever greens you want; I threw in a little kale to add some oomph but I like having the lightness of the mesclun as well. It may make extra dressing—judge how much you like before mixing it all together.

Apple-cheese salad
1 tbsp mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
4 tsp olive oil
Fresh oregano, and/or parsley
Salt and pepper, as desired
About 4 stalks of kale, leaves only, washes and ripped apart
Mesclun, or other lettuce
1 eating apple, your favorite variety (I recommend similar to gala), cut into pieces
Smoked cheddar, cubed

Mix together mustard and vinegar, then whisk in olive oil (I generally make dressing in whatever bowl I’m eating the salad in, because fewer dishes). Taste and add other seasonings, as you wish. Put kale in the bowl with the dressing and massage it around for a while (if you don’t know about massaging kale for salads yet, do it. It’s important and makes it much more tender). Add the rest of the lettuce and toss, then throw on the apples and cheese.

This would also benefit from some nice smoked sausage. Alternatively, you could serve it as a side next to a nice roast (preferably one with lots of caramelized onions) with some crusty bread.

Enjoy the weather!

Bean Tostadas + Salad

P1010600

Sometimes one is not in the mood for something fancy. Sometimes you come home, maybe go for a run, and cannot be bothered to come up with a complicated recipe. And/or are limited by ingredients in your fridge.

A quesadilla is a good solution to this predicament. However, if you are like me, you also have a bunch of vegetables in your fridge from your CSA (a one-person CSA means you can’t skip veggies with dinner or they will take over your kitchen) and maybe even some beans that were cooked for something else (in this case, these were made for chili for an event and not used up). In which case, make it a tostada. Which is basically an open-face quesadilla with a bunch of stuff piled on top. Or large crispy taco.

This tortilla is not particularly special, although I did enjoy it. But you can get really excellent Maine-made tortillas from Portland-based Tortillería Pachanga.

This takes about 15 minutes to make. Including prep, which most cooking shows do not include in their estimated making time.

P1010593

Tostadas
Tortilla (or plural, depending on how hungry you are)
Cheddar-like cheese, grated
Beans (either pre-cooked (recommended), or from a can)
Cabbage or lettuce (I used Napa cabbage chopped thin)
Tomatoes
Cilantro
Radishes
Hot sauce/salsa
Avocados, if you have them (I didn't)

Start the tortilla by itself in a hot pan, then flip it over and put the cheese on top. I then put some beans on, but they were a little too liquidy and ended up making the bottom scorch so… don’t do that. I recommend warming up the beans separately. Or just don’t put the juice on your tortilla as well. Let it warm up relatively slowly while you prep the other ingredients. Chop up the cabbage or lettuce, tomatoes, and slice the radishes thinly. Once the cheese is all melty on the tortilla and it’s all warm and toasty, put it on a plate and pile on all the veggies. Top with salsa/hot sauce (this is essential, don’t skip the hot stuff). Eat.

You can do this with whatever. I definitely liked the cilantro and tomatoes (which will be better when they are in season, although Backyard farms does have pretty good hot-house tomatoes). I’m looking forward to having fresh corn to put on these. You can sauté some greens in some garlic first, and then top with that (there’s a great food truck in Belfast, Maine, Good ‘N’ You, which does this).

The only problem here was that I ended up with a bunch of extra chopped veggies. I had used up the last tortilla, so I decided to make the rest of my ingredients into a salad. Which was just all the veggies piled together and topped with balsamic reduction and hot sauce. And some shaved parmesan because it needed something creamy-ish. I’m going to be honest, I liked the salad better than the actual tostada. Maybe it was the vinegar, which you could definitely add to the tostada as well…

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I’m getting better at taking photos, aren’t I? And in case you were wondering, I do keep butter in a shot glass on the table. It’s actually a measuring glass. Not that I’m measuring the butter in it. But I don’t use up much butter on my own so I figured leaving out just a small container would do nicely (I hate buttering toast with cold butter. And toast is the best).

Napa Cabbage Peanut Slaw

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Wondering what to do with all that napa (otherwise known as Chinese) cabbage and use up other random veggies in your fridge? Make this now. Recipe here – it would feel pointless re-writing it. I didn’t have carrots, so I used sweet salad turnips instead (delicious), although carrots would be great if you have them. Also I used tahini because I didn’t have sesame oil, and red wine vinegar instead of rice. Otherwise, this is great. And they are very correct, it is best the day-of. Enjoy!

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Strawberry Arugula Goat Cheese Salad

Evidently I have a lot of arugula and strawberries. Which is what happens when you have a CSA. Let me explain Community Supported Agriculture as I understand it: basically, the community (i.e. consumer) is sharing the risk of farming with the farmer. You pay upfront for a certain amount of time (say, $350 for 18 weeks) and then each week (although winter ones are different because they are storage crops, and have pick-ups every fortnight or month) you go to the farm or to your pick-up location and collect a box of whatever happens to be in season. If it’s a good season, you will probably save money based on grocery-store prices (and the produce will be fresher and more delicious), although if it’s a bad season, you may not be enjoying as many vegetables as you hoped for. There are also meat, cheese, apple, and poultry (among others, I imagine) CSAs. It’s great for the farmers, because farming can be quite a costly investment and very dependent upon the weather, and the consumer gets super fresh in-season vegetables, sees the farm, probably will save money, and doesn’t have to make decisions at the grocery store. It helps me out a lot, because I don’t feel like I have to really plan menus for the week before going shopping – I just pick up my bags and discover what the week has in store for me. It’s fun because sometimes it does require a little ingenuity, but you get to experiment with ingredients and see what recipes and combinations you like best.

Also, what grows together, goes together. Which is certainly the case with this salad. We had some hot weather and I was really feeling salads, so I found this one by Mark Bittman (who is amazing, by the way, read his things).

P1010567Arugula can be tricky to deal with. In some ways it’s just like lettuce, but it is definitely a little bitter and can be spicy too, so not always for everyone. However, even tossing it lightly with a bit of vinegar does wonders at mitigating overly-strong flavors. You’ll be surprised.

Strawberry Arugula Goat Cheese Salad
Arugula
Strawberries, hulled and quartered
Balsamic vinegar
Black pepper
Salt
Olive oil
Fresh goat cheese

Toss the strawberries, pepper, and vinegar together and let them sit for about 10 minutes, maybe while you get out the cheese and or make some toast to go with it. Add the arugula, salt, and olive oil and toss some more, then top with the goat cheese. Enjoy!

Again, no amounts. Part of preparing food like salads for oneself  is making exactly however much you will eat – once it’s assembled, it won’t last that long, so better if you just finish it all at once. Also, you may prefer more or less vinegar, so you decide. Start with a teaspoon or so and go from there. Also, I put in some mesclun (which is the baby spring mix salad green variety) because I had some that needed using up: you are not limited to arugula.

I added the goat cheese because a) it is delicious and b) it’s an excellent way to make it into a full meal. I’m not a vegetarian but I don’t eat a lot of meat (it is delicious but much more expensive; and also a lot of meat these days has a questionable source and may be full of antibiotics and other problems. I call myself a part-time vegetarian). Some of you meat-and-potatoes folks might be a little skeptical, but salads can make very excellent meals. You will probably have to eat more volume, but they can be quite filling and if you add things like cheese (or nuts/seeds/chick peas, etc), lasting as well.

If you want to make this 4th-of-July appropriate, you could add blueberries, since it’s already got the red and white. They aren’t in season in Maine right now but you can find them frozen if you do want to get local ones. I would suggest putting them straight from the freezer into the vinegar with the strawberries (go easy on the blueberries though, they can easily overwhelm the other delicate flavors). Although you may end up with a purple and white salad rather than red, white, and blue.