Tomato Carpaccio


By Freya Bellin

As the days of summer near their end, I think most of us wish we had just one more weekend at the beach, or one more week before schools starts.  But, almost as a reward for going back to reality, we do get something wonderful this time of year: tomatoes. And they never disappoint.  Plump, juicy, multi-colored, and funny-shaped, early-September tomatoes are a sweet way to say goodbye to summer.

The simpler, the better, when it comes to using ultra-fresh tomatoes in cooking. I love this tomato carpaccio because it sounds so basic, but the flavors come together in a bright, zesty way. I went for the mozzarella variation, which takes a classic combination like tomato and mozzarella and adds a surprise element of peppery arugula, rather than the standard basil. The simple salt, pepper, and olive oil seasoning complements this salad perfectly. Just proof that when you have amazing produce, it speaks for itself. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

Tomato Carpaccio

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Posted in Italian, Produce

Greens with Fruit and Mustard Vinaigrette


By Freya Bellin

Fresh leafy greens are among spring’s treasures. Arugula, mustard greens, and spinach all abound at the farmers market these days, and there’s no better way to honor these flavorful greens than with a simple salad.

Summer fruits like raspberries and strawberries are great salad ingredients, but while we’re still waiting for berries and stone fruit to grace us with their presence, you can use apples and pears or dried fruits for this salad. I tossed red mustard greens with thinly sliced apples and chopped dried dates. The combination was sweet, spicy, and quite refreshing. Try the cheese and nut variation if you’re looking for a bit more heft. Recipe from The Food Matters Cookbook.

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Posted in Produce, Recipes

Dinner with Bittman: Warm Chickpea Salad with Arugula


Recipe adapted from How to Cook Everything.

Warm Chickpea Salad with Arugula

Makes: 4 side- or 2 main-dish servings

Time: 20 minutes with precooked beans

Chickpeas frequently get the salad treatment throughout the Mediterranean and Middle East. My version is a panorama of these recipes that includes ginger, garlic, and cumin. After the seasonings are cooked and the beans warmed, the dressing is finished in the pan and tossed with arugula leaves, which wilts them just slightly. Serve small portions as a side salad or appetizer or add the optional hard-cooked egg and make this a light meal.

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 1/2 cups cooked or drained canned chickpeas

1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

4 cups arugula leaves

1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced

4 hard-cooked eggs, quartered (optional)

1. Put the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the ginger, garlic, and cumin and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant and the ginger and garlic are soft, 1 to 2 minutes. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, then stir in the chickpeas until hot and coated in the oil and seasonings, about 3 minutes more.

2. Remove from heat and with a fork, stir in the vinegar, honey, and 1 tablespoon water. Mash a few of the chickpeas as you stir to add texture to the dressing. Put the arugula and red onion in a large bowl and toss with the warm chickpea dressing. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve immediately, garnished with hard-cooked eggs if you like.


Posted in Middle Eastern, Produce

Sunday Supper: Simply Grilled Steak

This week on KitchenDaily I sing the praises of arugula–along with two great recipes. One is for a simple salad (with strawberries and balsamic vinegar), and the other is for my favorite chimichurri sauce. It’s peppery, spicy, tangy, and all around fabulous–especially when served on a perfectly grilled steak, like the one below. Check it out.

Adapted from How to Cook Everything

Grilled Steak

Makes: 2 to 4 servings

Time: About 10 minutes

A gas grill simply will not do the trick for the best grilled steak. If you want your steak crisp and slightly charred on the outside and rare inside, you need a blazing hot fire and no cover; use real hardwood charcoal if at all possible.

2 beef strip, rib-eye, or other steaks, 8 ounces each and about 1 inch thick, preferably at room temperature

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Build a medium-hot charcoal fire; you should not be able to hold your hand 3 inches above it for more than 2 or 3 seconds. The rack should be 3 or 4 inches from the top of the coals.

2. Dry the steaks with paper towels and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Grill them without turning for 3 minutes (a little more if they’re over an inch thick, a little less if they’re thinner or you like steaks extremely rare). Turn, then grill for 3 minutes on the other side. The steaks will be rare to medium-rare.

3. Check for doneness; if you must, make a small slit and look or use an instant-read thermometer. (With practice, you’ll know by sight and touch.) If you would like the steaks better done, move them away from the most intense heat and grill for another minute or two per side; check again. When done, sprinkle with more salt and pepper if you like and serve.

Posted in American, Recipes

Roof Garden Rocket


By Paula Crossfield

[I’m envious of Paula’s rooftop garden, which has everything described here and an amazing view. Paula is a founder of Civil Eats. – mb]

I made a decision in early April that has improved my quality of life immensely: I broadcasted hundreds of lettuce seeds throughout two, 2 ft. x 6 ft. raised beds on my rooftop.

One bed was seeded with “European Mesclun Mix,” from the Baker Creek Seed Bank in Petaluma, California (a gift from my lovely fellow editor at Civil Eats, Naomi Starkman). The second bed was filled with “Ultimate Salad Bowl,” from my other favorite seed place, the Hudson Valley Seed Library. For four weeks, the sun, soil and water have worked their magic. Now, I have delicious red and green curly lettuces, baby kale, radicchio, endive, mizuna, mustard greens, mache and orach (a relative of spinach). And arugula! Continue reading

Posted in Farming