Tag Archives: arugula

On the Subject of Flowering Vegetables and Fruits

I have a raised bed in the back yard for vegetables.  Last year it was mostly lettuces, and this year it’s all tomatoes and corn.  While I was gone this summer tons of arugula (the most resilient of lettuces and lettuce-like plants?) sprouted up in the bed amongst the tomatoes and corn.  By the time I got home it had already flowered and was on the brink of going to seed.  I pulled all the arugula today, cut the leaves for tonight’s salad, and used the flowers to decorate the bedside table.

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Last Night’s Dinner

We at A Rockridge Life have been going hard on cutting down on red meat in 2009.  Chicken dinners abound.  I’ve been pretty good at getting creative with chicken breasts…and yet…it’s chicken breast night after night.  So we’re moving onto fish.  For some reason, cooking fish as a casual weeknight thing is intimidating to me.  I guess I just haven’t done it enough to have that level of comfort.  But like Madonna says, why do it if it’s not a challenge?  

So last night I started the epicurious.com searching.  I wasn’t down to spend a lot of time either.  I wanted something simple and delicious with minimal prep.  I found:

Grilled Tuna and Peppers with Caper Vinaigrette

What I love about this recipe: it’s easy, requires minimal dishes for prep, the vinaigrette is easy and contains ingredients normally already in stock in the ARL kitchen.  It’s also totally delicious.  

My modifications: I forewent the peppers, since frankly I didn’t know what an “Italian fry pepper” is and wasn’t in the mood to do research and try to find them at the grocer.  I used my Le Creuset grill pan–one of the best things in my kitchen–instead of the grill outside because I was too lazy to prep and wait for the coals to heat.  I served the tuna on a plate with a bed of arugula and simple brown rice.  I made a little extra vinaigrette to accommodate a semblance of “sauce” for the rice and arugula.  It was all totally delicious, totally healthy, and ready in MINUTES–literally.  Amazing.

The Le Creuset grill pan (I own one in the “bone” color):

le-creusetA picture of the plate:

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And, because arugula is such a big part of ARL, the sound commonly known as “Arugula!” a/k/a “Old Car Horn:”

Arugula! / Old Car Horn

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Dinner For Two: Arugula!

Inspired by the warm weather in the Bay yesterday, I decided to try a new recipe: Grilled Chicken Breast with Arugula and Olive Thyme Vinaigrette.  

The vinaigrette is great.  As someone who makes salad dressing from scratch most nights of the week, it is nice to spice things up with unexpected ingredients (olive, tomato) that aren’t typically easy or obvious to whisk into your vinaigrette.  This recipe benefits from a blender on that account.  

While the roasted red peppers make for a colorful presentation, I wasn’t in love with the flavor combination.  I might substitute roasted tomatoes next time. 

Other positive: the warmth of the chicken and roasted vegetables ever so slightly wilts the bed of arugula in the most pleasant of ways.  

Overall: recommended.

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Sunday Leftovers

I. and I had our next door neighbors over for dinner last night. One of the dishes I made was a String Bean, Arugula, and Pasta Salad from Martha Stewart Living.  I ate some this morning for breakfast.  It was delicious:

It has baby arugula from my garden, yellow wax beans, haricots verts, lemon, and roasted pine nuts.  Here is a close-up:

Here is the full recipe from Martha Stewart Living August 2008: String Bean, Arugula, and Pasta Salad.

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I’m sorry, but it was an epic dinner.

I’ve been planning on making this recipe for a couple days.

This is where is all started:

Some plums on a stove top.  They were cooked in one cup of dry red wine: a bourgogne by Domaine Chevalier: pere et fils, and two cups of white: “Les Pouches” by Saumur.

I was trying to get an in-focus picture of the beautiful glossy plums being poached in all the wine.  I used both a red and black varietal.The steam made getting the picture in focus all the more challenging.

The next step was harvesting the bounty from my vegetable garden: red leaf lettuce and baby arugula (as in Arugula: how can you go wrong? and this and this

The plums were poached, the pork loin roasted, and the wine sauce reduced.  I plated on my wedding china:

My only crime was not using the good silver; instead it was hand-me-down hammered silver plate.  For shame. But isn’t that plating job just gor-geois? (as in bourgeois: I hate explaining but you need to get correct phonetics here). Here’s another view:

Now here’s the final product of the salad.  I swear I can’t hardly stand ANYTHING but home grown lettuce.  Everything else is just devoid of flavor.  The red leaf combined with the arugula was SO AMAZING.  Honestly.  It grows so easily too.  I did it from seed.  Now everyone out there go out and get yourself some organic lettuce seed and some chicken manure–put it together in any spot of spare earth and you’ll have something better than even a farmers’ market can provide.  

FINALLY: I almost think this should be a separate post.  

DESSERT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I served Fleur Verte.  Fleur Verte, for those of you that do not know, is basically A ROCKRIDGE LIFE encapsulated in the most beautiful and delicate of flavors.  Here she is: a poem in images, though they do not do her justice:

I served Mademoiselle Fleur avec des raisins concordes.  I grew up with Concord grapes in my backyard at Melrose Hill.  The flavor of these grapes is elusive, and always takes me back immediately to images of ephemeral childhood.  Here they are:

We had a receptacle in which to place the seeds:

Here is a view of a dessert plate:

And afterwards we played dominoes.

I told you it was epic.  And I was going to get on Wii Fit today.

HA!

It was a beautiful repast.

Sources from top to bottom:

Left: All-Clad from Williams Sonoma, Right: Grill Pan in Bone by Le Creuset

Dinner: Collette Gold by Haviland, bread basket: vintage

White dessert plates: Mottahedeh, cheese knife is Laguiole

The Concord grapes are shown in Koutani by Raynaud, Crystal goblets are Pearl by William Yeoward, and R’s shirt is oldkotonindustries.com

The sugar bowl for Concord seeds is Jardin Celeste, also by Raynaud, and the domino set is from Gumps, San Francisco.

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Special thanks to Eric at Paul Marcus, Anthea at Pasta Shop, and all the lovely ladies and gentlemen of Market Hall Produce

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Afterthought/Remembrance

Prior to my multiple arugula-related posts, my father selected the “Arooooogula!” noise on his iPhone to denote my calls.

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My idea of a sensible bachelor/ette supper.

Arugula salad with a provencal vinaigrette topped with lean prosciutto.

And Barbera or rose served in crystal.

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