Monday, February 8, 2010

warm winter salad

I love vegetables. I'm an equal opportunity employer of them in my cooking, but if pressed I would probably say that winter vegetables are my favorite. Yeah, they typically require some coaxing from the oven or saute pan. But just because they don't have the natural grace of those easy summer vegetables ('oh, i'm such a gorgeous raw tomato, just slice me and eat me, oh') doesn't mean they're not twice as delicious when properly attended to.

Here's a delicious and healthy winter lunch. Time all the ingredients right, and you will have a plate of earthy lentils, laced with the sweet notes of caramelized onions and the savory crunch of roasted cauliflower, mixed with slightly wilted lemony arugula. Doesn't get much better. So there, tomato salad.

warm winter salad

1 c dried red lentils
3 c water
bay leaf
thyme sprigs
1 med onion, halved then sliced thinly
1 small cauliflower, chopped
tbsp sherry vinegar
10 oz arugula

Preheat oven to 400. Toss cauliflower with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast until brown.
Meanwhile, heat some olive oil or butter in a pan over medium heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until caramelized, about 20 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring water to a boil with bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper. Add lentils, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain, then toss with sherry vinegar.
Right before serving, toss arugula with a squirt of lemon juice and some olive oil. Mix together lentils, onions, and cauliflower and serve warm.

makes four salads.

Monday, February 1, 2010

gruyere-walnut crisps

Sunday is special. There's that whole going to church day-of-rest thing, but not everyone is into that. However, I've not yet met anyone who has not been into these crackers. With their sharp cheese taste and the added crunch of walnuts, they're kind of like Cheez-Its for adults. They are best presented around five o'clock on a Sunday afternoon, when the sun has turned extra-golden and the hint of a hunger pang is starting to insinuate itself. And Sunday adult snacktime is best completed with this and some gin.

gruyere-walnut crisps

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
12 ounces finely grated Gruyere cheese
1 tsp salt
2 cups plus 2 tblsp all purpose flour
1 cup chopped toasted walnuts

Using electric mixer, beat butter in medium bowl until smooth. Beat in cheese and salt. Add flour and walnuts; beat just until dough comes together, adding water by teaspoonfuls if dry. Divide in half. Roll each half into 14-inch log. Wrap in plastic and chill until firm, at least 4 hours. At this point, dough can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Preheat oven to 375F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut logs crosswise into 1/4 inch thick slices. Arrange on prepared sheets, spacing 1/2 inch apart.

Bake crisps until deep golden brown, about 20 minutes. Transfer to racks and cool completely.

Variation: For attractive presentation, before slicing the dough, brush the logs with lightly beaten egg white then roll in poppy seeds, sesame seeds, or caraway seeds. Slice; bake as directed.
From Bon Appetit.