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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Arugula, Pear and Parmesan Salad

Sometimes the simplest recipes are indeed the best.  There are plenty of recipes (boeuf bourguignon, for example) that require hours of preparation and layer upon layer of flavors.  Then, there are others with a few ingredients and quick preparation that just can't be improved on.  Pear, parmesan and arugula salad is one of those. 

This month for Blogger C.L.U.E. Society, I was assigned Wendy's blog.  A Day in the Life on a Farm.  I love her intro:  "Two retired cops searching for peace and quiet find chaos and happiness."  Isn't that just the way life works?  Wendy and her husband, Frank, may be technically retired but it sure looks to me like they spend a LOT of time working on this farm of theirs. 

I've loved reading Wendy's blog since joining Blogger CLUE so was very excited to get her this month.  Our assignment was originally to be apples.  Turns out ONE apple is $6 in Japan.  So, we expanded to pears also.  Turns out some of our buddies didn't have either on their blog.  So, we wound up with fall fruit.  That meant I had a wealth of choices.  Thank you, Wendy! 

Even though we're not big dessert eaters, I started with the desserts.  Just for research, you know.  LOL.  Pumpkin spice bundt cake.  Pumpkin custard pie.  Caramel apple pretzels.  They all sounded SO good.  But, in the end I kept going back to the salad I'd found.  I was feeling guilty because it was so easy.  Then, I remembered the pickle dip.  Made for another group a few years ago.  Three ingredients and it's always the hit of the party.  Then, there's the fact that Connie LOVES pears.  Most fruit he grumbles about.  Not pears.  And, it's the perfect time of year to have them.  Ok, salad it was. 

We couldn't find any arugula anywhere so our trusty baby greens from Sam's had to stand in.  I missed the bit of pepperiness that the arugula would've provided.  But, I'll confess that had I not known the baby greens were a substitution, I'd have been 100% happy with my salad.  This was so easy to put together.  The flavors were fabulous.  And, the pears were the stars.  Not buried under dressing or cheese or something else.  They were the stars.  This is a perfect fall salad.

Here's where you can go meet Wendy and see this fabulous salad:  Arugula, Pear and Parmesan Salad.

Now, for some other fall fruit fun here are the links to my friends in Blogger C.L.U.E.:

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tomato Sandwiches

I thought BLT's were my favorite summer sandwiches.  Not quite sure how to say this, but I was wrong.  I've found something better.  Unbelievable, I know.  But, so true.  So, what is it?

It's a mash up of three sandwiches.  First and foremost, the BLT.  Bacon, lettuce and tomato.  Second, James Beard's onion sandwiches.  Third the famous Spanish sandwich, the pan con tomate.  Thanks to Melissa Clark writing in the New York Times, we have my new favorite.

You see, for probably the second time since we started this whole moving adventure, I went to the grocery store.  Because I was the logical one to be packing and unpacking and putting away, Connie did all the errands.  ALL the errands.  Other than work, moving and the fun things we've done, I've not been out and about.  I was itching to actually go shopping.  Not something I thought I'd EVER say because, quite frankly, I don't like shopping.  Unless it's a garden center or a hardware store.  Well, or the cookbook section of a bookstore.  Then, I like shopping.  Tonight I had the option to stay home and work on all the stuff I'd brought home from the office.  Or head to Sam's with Connie.  Now, I'll admit, part of the reason I wanted to head out with him was to have time to actually work on a couple of upcoming charitable events.  We've volunteered to participate for the third time in The ARC of Indiana's annual cook-off.  And, we're hosting a friendraiser for Actor's Theatre of Indiana in a couple of months.  I wanted time to chat about both of those.  We got the ARC solved.  Our entry will be Boss Tweeds.  One of my favorite drinks. Ought to be fun. 

We got home pretty late.  I'd read this recipe in the last few days.  We had one lovely heirloom tomato left.  We had some bacon left.  And, some rye bread.  Not what the recipe called for but one of our favorites.  This would be perfect.  Connie brought the haul in, I put bacon in a skillet and started putting stuff away.  Just about the time that I stuffed the last thing into the freezer, the last piece of bacon came out of the skillet to be drained.  Show time!

Connie stood on the other side of the counter juggling the camera and handing me the appropriate ingredients in the appropriate order.  

So, let's take a second and go back thru these sandwiches.  BLT.  Bacon, lettuce and tomato.  With mayonnaise.  A classic.  pan con tomate.  Toasted bread, garlic rubbed on it, tomato crushed over it and salt sprinkled over it.  Last, but not least, James Beard's onion sandwich.  Bread, mayo, VERY thin slices of onion. 

Here's how you put them together:

Toast the bread
Rub both pieces with halved garlic cloves
Drizzle the bread (both pieces) with good extra virgin olive oil
Sprinkle with kosher salt
Cut the ends off REALLY ripe tomatoes and smoosh those onto the bread
Slather on mayonnaise
Lay very thin slices of tomato on the bread
Top with very thin slices of sweet onion
Top that with cooked bacon (which, by the way, I sprinkled with garlic and freshly ground pepper as it cooked)
Top with the other piece of bread

This sandwich is messy.  No, it's MESSY.  It's also fabulous and worth every bit of messiness it generates.  Either count on washing your napkins afterward or use paper. 

Here's how it looked:

adapted from The New York Times