Monday, February 27, 2012

Who knew how fast time flies??

This blog has been empty for far too long.  Chalk it up to a nasty flu, infection and extraordinarily long recuperation.  For weeks I couldn't eat, let alone cook.  But life is better, so it's time to share two recipes, one new to me, the other a longstanding favorite.

When I'm at a loss as to what to serve, I always find that Ina Garten always has delicious suggestions.  The other night I made her Cape Cod Chopped Salad, which was even better than I thought it would be.  See what you think.

Cape Cod Chopped Salad

8 oz thick-cut bacon, such as Niman Ranch
8 oz baby arugula
1 large Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
1/2 c toasted walnut halves, coarsely chopped
1/2 c dried cranberries
6 oz bleu cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled

3 T apple cider vinegar
1 t grated orange zest
2 T freshly squeezed orange juice
2 1/2 t Dijon mustard
2 T maple syrup
1/2 t freshly ground black pepper
Kosher salt
2/3 c good olive oil

Preheat oven to 400. 

Place baking rack on sheet pan and lay bacon slices on the rack.  Roast bacon for about 20 minutes, until nicely browned.  Allow to cool.

In large bowl, toss together arugula, apple, walnuts, cranberries, and bleu cheese.

For dressing, whisk together vinegar, orange zest, orange juice, mustard, maple syrup, 1 1/2 t salt, and pepper in a bowl.  Slowly whisk in olive oil.

Chop bacon in large pieces and add to salad.  Toss salad with just enough dressing to moisten.  Sprinkle with 1/2 t more salt and toss well. 

Serve immediately.

P.S.  This makes a lot more dressing than you're going to use on this salad.  My latest treat is chopped grape tomatoes with chopped Armenian cucumbers, so I'm now using the rest of this dressing on them.  Delicious!

At a recent dinner party, I had a craving to serve creamed mushrooms, a "recipe" I made up years ago.  I suspect it's a variation on some recipe I'd found somewhere, but now I consider it my own.  The trick is to get good soy sauce.

Creamed Mushrooms

1 lb shitake and cremini mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
2 T butter
1-2 T olive oil
1 T flour (give or take)
Milk as needed
Soy sauce
A bit of Worcestshire sauce

Saute mushrooms in butter and olive oil.  When mushrooms are tender, add flour and toss with mushrooms.  Then add milk, enough that it makes a good sauce but not so much that you drown the mushrooms.  As they're finishing, add soy sauce (start with 1 T and add more to taste), a bit of Worcestshire sauce (again to taste), polish off with salt and pepper.  Serve immediately.  Marvelously delicious and can accompany almost any meal.