Category Archives: arugula

Arugula & Fennel Salad with Oranges and Dry Cured Olives

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This simple salad celebrates the best of the Mediterranean winter season and is the perfect way to end a dinner.  (In our house, we always serve salad after the entree and before the dessert course).  It is so easy but the combination of the sweetness of the oranges, the saltiness of the olives, and the bitterness of the arugula simultaneously please all of the taste buds.

I serve the salad with a simple dressing of olive oil and balsamic vinegar with just a touch of salt and pepper.  Because there are only four ingredients, be sure to use a good quality olive oil and vinegar.  Too many balsamic vinegars are heavy on the acid and light on the sweetness so taste test it before offering it to your guests.  The dressing is also served on the side, guests can add as much or as little as they like.

ARUGULA & FENNEL SALAD w/ ORANGES & DRY CURED OLIVES

For the salad:

4 cups arugula, washed, dried, and broken into bit sized pieces

1 large fennel bulb, sliced thinly

1 orange, peeled, seeded and cut into bite sized pieces

1/2 cup dry cured olives

  • Divide the arugula evenly between four plates forming a compact bed of leaves.
  • Distribute the fennel, oranges, and olives over the top of the arugula.

For the dressing:

1/3 cup good quality olive oil

4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Salt & freshly ground pepper

  • Divide the olive oil between four small dishes or dressing cups.
  • Place one tablespoon of balsamic vinegar into each cup on top of the oil.
  • Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper to each cup.
  • Nestle the dressing cups onto the salad plates and serve.

Serves 4

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Spicy Shrimp Chop Salad

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Sometimes a salad is all you need for dinner.  A bed of greens provides the perfect palate for building an interesting meal.  The sky is the limit as I like to use whatever vegetables or fruits I have on hand.  And I do like to use both fruits and vegetables since the combination of sweet and savory adds a satisfying contrast.  Add a bit of protein and some bread and you have a complete and satisfying meal.

SPICY SHRIMP CHOP SALAD

For the dressing:

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup olive oil

Juice of 2 limes

1 clove garlic, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Combine the vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice in a small bowl.
  • Add the garlic, salt and pepper and stir with a whisk.  Set aside.

For the salad:

2 cups green leafy lettuce, chopped

2 cups arugula, chopped

1 tomato

1 small red bell pepper

1 small green pepper

1 small cucumber, peeled and seeded

1 ripe avocado, peeled and pitted

1/2 cup fresh pineapple

1/2 cup fresh corn

  • Divide the lettuce and arugula between to shallow bowls.
  • Dice the tomato, peppers, cucumber, avocado, and pineapple into uniform bite sized pieces.  Place in a large bowl. Add the corn and toss to combine.
  • Drizzle the dressing over the mixture and stir gently.
  • Evenly divide the vegetable mixture over the top of the lettuce and arugula.

For the shrimp:

1 cup raw shrimp, peeled and deveined

1/4 cup corn starch

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon Hungarian paprika

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat.
  • Place the cornstarch in a large plastic bag and add the shrimp.  Toss to coat.
  • In a shallow pie pan, combine the garlic powder, paprika, salt, thyme, and cayenne pepper.  Add the shrimp and toss to coat.
  • Add the shrimp to the hot oil and stirring occasionally cook until browned and crispy, 2-3 minutes.
  • Divide the shrimp over the top of the prepared salads.

For the toasts:

4 slices crusty bread

1/4 cup unsalted butter

1/2 teaspoon butter

Melt the butter in a large frying pan.  Add the garlic powder and stir to combine.

Add the bread and cook for 2-3 minutes per side until brown and toasted.

Serves 2

Fried Chickpeas & Arugula with Lime Tzatziki

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This recipe is adapted from Cooking Light Magazine.  It truly is fast and has enough flavors and protein that even the biggest meat eaters will forget that they don’t have a steak on their plates.  The original recipe calls for stuffing all of the ingredients into pitas.  I am unable to find pitas in the local stores but Greek-style flat breads are readily available so I serve this dish as a deconstructed sandwich instead.  While I normally prefer to use dried garbanzo beans (chickpeas) in my recipes, preparing them takes time and planning since they need to soak overnight.  Sometimes fast and last-minute is what is on the menu so when that is the case, canned chickpeas work in a pinch.

FRIED CHICKPEAS & ARUGULA WITH LIME TZATZIKI

1 cup Greek yogurt (I use Albanian style Kos)

3 tablespoons chopped mint

2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon salt, divided

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 English cucumber, peeled, seeded, and shredded

6 whole-wheat pitas (or flatbread or a bread of your choice)

2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained

3 tablespoons olive oil, divided

3 teaspoons ground cumin

3 teaspoons smoked paprika

1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

8 cups loosely packed arugula

4 tomatoes, cut into 1/4 inch slices

  • Preheat oven to 350.
  • Combine yogurt, mint, lime juice, 1/2 teaspoon of the salt, garlic, and cucumber in a small bowl.
  • Wrap pitas in foil and bake for 10 minutes or until warm.
  • Place the chickpeas in a single layer on a paper towel.  Cover with additional paper towels and pat dry.
  • Place a large skillet over medium-high heat.  Add 2 tablespoons olive oil to pan; swirl to coat.
  • Add the chickpeas to the pan; saute for 10 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy, stirring frequently.
  • Remove the chickpeas from the pan using a slotted spoon; drain on paper towels.
  • Combine the remaining salt, chickpeas, cumin, paprika, and red pepper in a medium bowl; toss well to coat.
  • Combine the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil, lemon juice, and black pepper in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.  Add the arugula and toss gently to coat.
  • Divide the arugula and chickpeas evenly among the plates.  Top with two tomato slices and the yogurt sauce and serve with a warmed pita.

Serves 6

Arugula & Strawberry Salad with Goat Cheese and Reduced Balsamic

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It is spring and for me one of the best parts of spring is fresh strawberries.  Growing up in Maine, strawberries were in season in June.  Picking our own berries at local farms was an annual ritual and it was always a race to see who could fill the most baskets the fastest.  For the next few days strawberries were a part of every meal.  They topped our breakfast cereals, were stuffed into pancakes, pureed into milkshakes, turned into strawberry shortcake and eaten as is.  Leftover strawberries were turned into strawberry jam or frozen whole for a later use.  A favorite after school snack was a bowl of frozen strawberries covered with milk.

Here in Albanian strawberries are in season now.  I still love to eat them as is or on top of flaky shortcakes but as usual I’m always looking for new uses for an old standby.  My latest creation is a salad topped with fresh strawberries.  It is so simple but when you combine the berries with goat cheese and reduced balsamic vinegar and put it on top of a bed of greens, you have a delicious spring salad.  When selecting a balsamic vinegar, buy the best kind you can find.  I love the vinegar from Modena, Italy.  They are tangy yet mellow and when reduced produce a sweet syrup with sharp undertones that make a perfect dressing on their own.

ARUGULA & STRAWBERRY SALAD WITH GOAT CHEESE AND REDUCED BALSAMIC

1 cup balsamic vinegar

4 cups arugula

3 cups lettuce, chopped

2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

3/4 cup soft goat cheese, cut into cubes

  • Place the balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil then reduce allowing the mixture to continue to simmer.  Stirring occasionally, cook until the volume has reduced by one half.  
  • Divide the arugula and lettuce into four individual salad plates or bowls.
  • Divide the strawberries and goat cheese amongst the salad plates.
  • Drizzle the reduced balsamic over the salads and serve immediately.  Alternatively you can serve the dressing on the side and allow diners to add as much or as little dressing as they like.
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