Saturday, February 26, 2011
A Toast to Bridge and Arugula
We put that passion on hold for many years while we raised our sons – the time and mental commitment was more than we felt we could give. And now that we’re retired, we are back on the tournament scene. But even at a bridge tournament, I can’t seem to get away from food and other foodies.
A couple of weeks ago, we were about halfway through an open pairs session, and as we sat down to face a couple of women, one of them said something about lemongrass.
“Lemongrass?” I said. “What do you know about lemongrass? I’ve been looking at some recipes that call for it, and didn’t know what sort of taste to expect.”
“It’s a citrusy taste,” she said. “So, if you like food,... do you like arugula?”
I pronounced myself an avid fan of arugula, whereupon she pulled out a giant bag of the stuff from behind her chair, and gave me a big bunch!
I love arugula almost as much as I love tournament bridge. In fact, I grew some in my garden last spring, and ate off it for ages. I took this photo after I decided to let some of the plants flower.
It’s a great time of year for arugula salads – the greens are a lot like spinach only more peppery, so your salad can have many of the same ingredients. (In the summertime, I go a completely different direction and toss it with tomatoes, shaved parmesan, and a simple vinaigrette. But I think I’ve said enough about my feelings in regard to winter tomatoes. )
For a winter salad, I remove the toughest stems, tear it into large-bite pieces, add fresh orange or grapefruit segments or diced pears, toss in sliced almonds for some extra crunch, and drizzle on a honey-lemon salad dressing I discovered years ago. If I’ve got goat cheese or feta, I’ll crumble some of that on, too. It’s easy to experiment with salads, and arugula is a great start.
Here’s the dressing.
Honey-Lemon Salad Dressing
3 Tbl fresh lemon juice
3 Tbl honey [Kitchen Goddess note: I prefer acacia honey, but it’s not always easy to find, so just look for the lightest color honey on the shelf. They're the ones with the mildest flavor.]
½ tsp salt
½ c olive oil
fresh ground pepper
Whisk together the honey, lemon juice, and salt. Add the olive oil in a stream, whisking constantly as you pour. Add the pepper and adjust the seasoning to taste.