Sage, Arugula and Leek Omelette for Two (and one more CSA-inspired recipe!)

Happy first day of summer. I’ve issued myself a challenge: one blog entry per week showcasing the produce from our weekly CSA box. We’re two boxes in and I’ve yet to write a post about the awesomely fresh, local, organic veggies I’ve been cooking, eating and loving lately , so looks like this one’s gonna be a two-fer folks. These recipes will be more loose and versatile than others I’ve posted; they’re meant to inspire you to grab whatever’s fresh at the market and make from it something simple and delicious, that showcases the flavors of the season. Please interpret these with your own creative twist, and leave a comment about what you came up with, I’d love to hear from you. Let’s share some local love!

From some of the shining stars of our first box, which we conveniently pick up at the nearby Tosa farmer’s market every Saturday morning, I whipped up a tasty midday omelette filled with leeks, sage, baby arugula (not from the CSA ) and goat cheese.

sage, arugula and leek omelette

I’m no omelette pro, but the key to keeping it together seems to be touching the eggs as little as possible while they’re cooking. I’m sure they are plenty of excellent omelette-making tutorials on YouTube so I won’t go into great depth with the instructions.

Sage, Arugula and Leek Omelette for Two

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon butter or olive oil (divided)
5 free range eggs (bonus if you can get them at the market)
salt to taste
1 tablespoon half and half (or whole milk, heavy cream, or coconut milk)
two handfuls baby arugula
about 8 sage leaves, chopped
1 small (spring) leek, sliced into half moons, rinsed
¼ cup fresh goat cheese, crumbled
fresh cracked black pepper to taste

Method:

Heat ½ tablespoon of the butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When butter is melted or oil runs loosely in the pan, add the leeks and stir until slightly softened. Next, add the arugula and sage, cooking until wilted. Turn off heat and remove mixture to a separate plate; cover with a bowl to keep warm. Wipe the skillet clean with a paper towel.

Whisk together the eggs, cream, and salt in a bowl. Add another ½ tablespoon of fat to the skillet.

When butter is melted or oil runs loosely in the pan, pour the eggs into it and swirl to cover the surface of the skillet. Let the eggs sit for a quick minute, until the bottom of the omelette is just firm. Then, using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, gently peel back the cooked eggs and tilt the pan so the runny eggs run into the open space in the skillet. Continue this process maybe one or two more times until the eggs are mostly cooked but still soft.

Add the arugula mixture to the center of the omelette in a loose line, then sprinkle the filling with about half of the goat cheese. Carefully fold the omelette edges over the filling. Cover the skillet and cook for one more minute if you are concerned there may be some runny egg lurking.

Remove omelette from the skillet and serve topped with remaining goat cheese crumbles, pepper, and a sage garnish if you’re feelin’ fancy. Cut in two and enjoy with a loved one or save half for tomorrow’s lunch (cold omelette = delish).

sage, arugula and leek omelette

Week two’s box brought us strawberries, kale, leeks, radishes, asparagus, and more! Today, I whipped up a simple cooked salad of sautéed kale and asparagus, sun-dried tomatoes, pine nuts and parmesan which we enjoyed alongside a rotisserie chicken and some good crusty bread (wine too).

fresh loca asparagus

Roasted Kale and Asparagus Salad with Nutmeg

Ingredients:

1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed of woody ends
1 bunch red Russian (or any other variety) kale, stems removed, leaves chopped
1 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
¼ cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
¼ cup freshly grated parmesan or other hard cheese
¼ cup pine nuts
salt, pepper to taste

sauteed kale and asparagus salad

Heat half of the oil in a large skillet, medium heat. Add the asparagus and sauté until bright green and still very crisp, about 4 minutes. Season with nutmeg, salt and pepper. Remove from pan and set aside.

Heat the remaining oil in the same skillet. Add the chopped kale leaves and sauté until bright green and tender. Add the sun dried tomatoes, cooking minute or two longer. Remove skillet from heat and stir in parmesan and pine nuts. Salt and pepper to taste, add addition olive oil as desired.

In a large bowl or on a serving platter, first make a layer of the sautéed kale, then top with the asparagus, finishing with more parmesan and pine nuts for garnish.

Serve warm, cold, or at room temperature.

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Crunchy Cucumber Apple Kale Salad

I love eating from a wide, shallow bowl.  Breakfast, lunch, or dinner, any meal looks delicious and inviting all cuddled together against the lazily sloped sides of a pasta bowl.   Never mind one pot meals,  I’ll do some extra dishes to make me a one bowl meal.  bowls

Some of my favorites as of late:

  • steel cut oats, sliced banana, homemade yogurt (recipe soon!) and raw cashews
  • brown rice, herby tomato sauce, fried eggs, steamed broccoli, parmesan cheese
  • shredded romaine, carrot ribbons, sliced red peppers, roasted sweet potatoes, pulled chicken, olive oil

The possibilities are truly innumerable! (echo, echo, echo)

I’ve had this crunchy kale salad on my to-make list for quite some time.  It hails from the Sprouted Kitchen blog, one of my (any many others’) fav sites for creative, super-healthy, gorgeous and invariably delicious recipes.  So on Sunday morning, when my dad texted: “dinner party: 5 PM,” I knew just what I’d be bringing to the table.  dinner table

This diversely textured salad does demand some chopping, but aside from that it comes together pretty quickly.  The only thing you’ve got to plan for is cooking the lentils and roasting the pepitas (raw, green pumpkin seeds) which are both pretty hands-off steps.

crunch kale salad - ingredients

This salad is a keeper, meaning you can keep it in the fridge and enjoy it for a couple days. There’s lots of lemon juice in the dressing, so the apples won’t go brown on you.  I would definitely say this salad gets better on the second day, since the kale breaks down a bit in the presence of the acidic lemon juice and the flavors have time to meld and mingle.  Just remember to leave out the pepitas until you’re ready to dig in so they don’t get soggy.

How to make this a one bowl meal: a couple scoops of this salad nestled in with a hunk of goat cheese or feta and a hard-boiled egg and you’ve got yourself a crazy nutritious mouth party.  Shazam! crunchy kale salad

Crunchy Cucumber Apple Kale Salad

adapted slightly from Sprouted Kitchen

Ingredients:

3 cups kale, chopped and stems removed

1 bunch parsley, chopped and large stems removed

1 cup cooked black (beluga) lentils: – bring dried lentils to a boil in plenty of water, then reduce heat and simmer until just soft, but not mushy

1 tart green apple, diced

1 sweet pink or yellow apple, diced

1 english cucumber, diced

½ cup toasted pepitas

dressing:

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. maple syrup

1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard

Juice and zest from one whole lemon

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

crunch kale salad 2

Method:

1. In a large serving bowl, combine the kale, parsley, lentils, apples, and cucumber.

2. For the dressing, put all ingredients in a jar with a tightly fitting lid and shake until emulsified.  If you don’t wanting garlic bits, use a food processor instead.

3. Pour the dressing over the salad and stir to distribute. Garnish with pepitas and cheese of your choice.

crunchy cucumber apple kale salad 3

Fingerling Potato Salad with Celery, Bacon and Arugula

Over the ramparts you tossed
The scent of your skin and some foreign flowers
Tied to a brick
Sweet as a song
The years have seemed short but the days were long.

-The ShinsJuly 26, 2013 009

This week’s second salad will stick to your ribs if you let it.  It’s busting out with crispy bacon and buttery fingerling potatoes.  It also has plenty of green bits: celery hearts, celery leaves, and baby arugula.  It’s awesome still warm or at room temperature.  I’ve eaten it cold straight from the fridge this week several times too.  The original recipe calls for watercress. I opted for baby arugula because I wanted its bitter bite to perk up the milder flavors of potatoes and celery.potato salad1

We picnicked with this salad on Tuesday evening at Chill on the Hill, an outdoor summer concert series here in Milwaukee.  Also in the cooler:  half a roasted chicken and a bottle of Gnarly Head red.  I sliced up a nectarine and threw a handful of blueberries into whole milk yogurt with a glug of maple syrup and called it dessert.  So fresh.

fruit salad

The food was good; the beats were funky; the mosquitoes weren’t biting; it was summer.

What more could an earthling ask for?

potatoes1potatosaladrecipe

Fingerling Potato Salad with Celery, Bacon and Arugula

modified from a recipe in Martha Stewart Living- July 2012

“Martha” says: Assembling this potato salad while the potatoes are still warm is key. They’ll absorb more flavor from the vinegar and oiil, and the heat will also slightly wilt the celery and [arugula].

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds fingerling or other small potatoes

6 slices thick cut bacon (I used venison bacon, you could do turkey or tempeh bacon!)

6 celery stalks, sliced thin

1/2 cup celery leaves

2 cups arugula

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

celery

Method:

Put the potatoes in a big pot covered by 2 inches with cold water.  Salt the water generously.  Bring the potatoes to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook until just barely tender. Check them often by piercing with a fork or knife.  It should take between 8 and 12 minutes depending on your spuds.

While potatoes cook, fry up your bacon in a skillet under crispy, but not burned.  Remove from pan onto paper towel and when cool enough, chop into bite-sized chunks.  Reserve the bacon grease for another use, such as bacon-flavored popcorn!

When the potatoes are done, drain them.  When they’re just cool enough to handle, cut each lengthwise and place in a bowl.  Dress potatoes with oil and vinegar, salt and pepper.  Fold in the celery and leaves, arugula.  Add the bacon if serving immediately, otherwise hold off on adding it until chow time for optimal crispness.

Serves 6-ish.  Or two at a picnic and in several lunches throughout the week.

potatosalad2

Red Leaf and Scallion Salad with Olive Bread Croutons & Feta

In the reflection of my laptop screen I can see thousands of leaves blowing in unison against a perfect ratio of cloud to sky.  With a quick change in focus I can see the words forming, black on white, a blog post, finally, after too many months of silence.

This summer rushed in and blessed me with a new job, a new home, and plenty of occasions for cooking and sharing meals with family and friends.  I’ve been tying up swimsuit strings, catching toads, and playing Candy Land with the two little girls I’ve nanny-ed for since June.  Also, I’ve picked out curtains for all the windows in our new apartment, organized my cookbooks on the nifty built-in bookshelves, and explored the neighborhood on new running routes with my husband as we train for our first half-marathon.  I’ve cooked and baked for birthdays and picnics and enjoyed every bite of my summer.

My husband Brandon enjoying his birthday gift: a king crab leg feast

My husband Brandon enjoying his birthday gift: a king crab leg feast

And now it’s time to dedicate some moments to sharing something here.  This week, I’ll offer up two humble summer salads. They’re eager for outdoor concerts, potlucks, or nights when the grill is off-duty.  I recommend chasing them with a bottle of red or white under the blue and cheers-ing every last drop of summer.

At a bonfire with friends from the dietetics program. (yes, we roasted vegan marshmallows!)

At a bonfire with friends from the dietetics program. (yes, we roasted vegan marshmallows!)

The first salad I’ll share is something I whipped up with the contents of our first CSA box.  It’s built on a tender mound of red leaf lettuce and dressed with a classic shallot vinaigrette – but there’s more to love – thinly sliced sweet-pungent scallions, crunchy rustic red peppers, salty feta, and… olive bread croutons(!!!).

olive bread croutonssalad1

Red leaf and scallion salad with olive bread croutons and feta

ingredients:

half a loaf olive bread

head of leaf lettuce

4-5 scallions (green and white parts)

rustic red pepper (aka long pepper)

good feta cheese, crumbled

olive oil

white wine vinegar

shallots or garlic

Dijon mustard

s & p

 

Throw it together:

To make the croutons, I sliced day-old olive bread (you can use any kind of chewy, artisan bread) into 1 inch cubes. I put the bread cubes on a sheet pan, thinly coated them with olive oil, and baked for 10 minutes at 425° F.  *Check your croutons frequently*  We’re looking for browned edges with crispy outsides and chewy insides.  Friends, trust me on this, you’ve got to have the chewy insides.

From there, roughly chop up a head of leaf lettuce (mine was red, yours might be green, or purple!), thinly slice 4 or 5 scallions (aka green onions), and slice a rustic red pepper into strips.  Then, put all the veggies in a nice bowl, surround them with a halo of croutons, and top with feta.  (I also added toasted sunflower seeds after I took the photos.)

For the dressing, glug your preferred ratio of olive oil and vinegar into a jar with a tight fitting lid, mince some shallots or garlic and thow them in the pool.  Squirt in a dollop of Dijon mustard and grind in salt and pepper.  Shake the jar vigorously (with the lid on, silly!) until the dressing is emulsified.

salad2

I served the dressing on the side so the croutons wouldn’t get soggy.  You can thank me later for their chewy insides.  😉