Lunch Salad

I made a big bowl of this for lunch today, and I think a smaller portion of this would also be really nice with a bowl of fish chowder. Using a mix of frissee, arugula and curly lettuce, I added strips of proscuitto and a light mustard-y vinaigrette (extra virgin olive oil + teaspoon of dijon mustard + dash of sherry vinegar + 1 squeeze of lemon juice + sprinkle of sugar and sea salt). Tossed with some parmesan & herb croutons (a stale whole wheat baguette cut into cubes, tossed with olive oil, powdered parmesan cheese and oregano, then baked). Top off with a poached egg and lots of pepper.


Salmon Eggs Benedict

Ahhh, weekends. I made salmon eggs benedict, a popular spin on the classic eggs benny here in the Pacific Northwest. First off, I've never liked the overly spongy texture of English muffins, so I decided to use a potato base. I finely shredded a small Yukon gold with with my Benriner (a gift from my sister when she went to New York). After squeezing out the excess moisture from the potatoes, I lightly salted it and fried small cakes of in a shallow pan with grapeseed oil, a little like making potato latkes.

I alternated two potato cakes with slices of smoked salmon in between. Top with a perfectly poached egg, dill, and Hollandaise sauce. I tested out two different Hollandaise recipes (one with cream, the other without) over the weekend, and I'm still not completely satisfied. I think next weekend's project will be finding the perfect one!


Classic Lunch to Dinner

Speaking of sandwiches, one of my favorite comfort lunches a classic grilled cheese sandwich with a good tomato soup that's not too creamy, not too runny, and not too spicy. With some tweaks and the addition of a simple salad, I turned it into Tuesday night's dinner. First, I used the adapted tomato soup recipe from Lottie and Doof, cutting back on the cream and adding a teaspoon of smoked paprika along with a generous pinch of cayenne pepper. During roasting, I also threw in a bunch of on-the-vine cherry tomatoes that were way overripe--better to use it in a soup than to toss it in the garbage can tomorrow. A generous bowl of the soup served with a dollop of sour cream and snipped chives.

As for the grilled cheese, a couple of slices of cheese bread (from Mediterranean Bakery) rubbed with a clove of garlic over both sides after toasting, are topped off with slices of emmental and grated romano (although gruyere would've been better). Pop them into a toaster oven until the cheese bubbles over and starts crusting. Of course, the bread gets dunked into the soup--is there any other way to eat it?

With a side of a plain arugula salad dressed with a basic vinaigrette (olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper and in this case, some honey too) and it was a very satisfying weeknight meal.


Olive, Cheese & Arugula

I had a few olives left from making harissa spaghetti (see previous post) that I quickly needed to get rid of. This idea from The Kitchn came together in a delicious, cheesy way. As the comments suggested, I chopped up my half dozen olives with roughly a tablespoon of mayo (I imagine an olive tapenade would work even better). I put the spread on some purplish walnut bread with a thick slice of gruyere and some baby arugula, and grilled it. Mmm.


Harissa Spaghetti

One of the first meals I made this year was Heidi's Harissa Spaghettini recipe at 101 Cookbooks. This recipe is perfect for using your whole wheat pasta (I used a #5 whole wheat spaghetti here), because the denser texture holds up well with the pine nuts and olives, and the darker color doesn't interfere with the color of your sauce. Very satisfying, but this was one spicy dish--the brand of harissa I used had a lot of kick. It's great especially if you've got a cold and are in need of a hearty meal on a cold, rainy night.