Saturday, June 19, 2010


I come to you today with a story of success and a story of, well, not failure, but definitely less than success. I'll start with the latter as it is more amusing and, for reasons that will soon be obvious, you won't be getting a recipe for it.

It was one of those days where I had very little in my fridge and I wanted to use up what I had before buying a bunch of new produce. I had a few scallions and that was pretty much it for the way of dinner. I figured I could make a fairly decent sauce using them. I could cook them out a bit, throw in some white wine, a dash of cream, and some fennel seeds just for interest. Easy.

I wanted chicken. But there were leftover fish fillets in my freezer so those went into the pan. I chopped the scallions and threw them in once the fish came out. I opened the fridge to grab the white wine. There was none. Odd, because there normally is. So I used water...yes, water. I figured the cream could redeem it. If only I'd had cream. Right. So milk it is. Then the fennel seeds. Needless to say it didn't work out so well. Yes, I had a sauce, but it's flavour was, well mostly of onions. Which incidentally I don't even like that much. It wasn't terrible, but I would never eat it again. This was very much a lesson in making sure I have ingredients before I start making something. Oh well. Live and learn.

But today I made a salad. A lovely salad. I had half a cucumber and an apple in the fridge so I figured I could make a half-way decent salad with a nice vinaigrette. It turned out so much better than I expected. Now this may be relative to the aforementioned near disaster, but I think you'll like it. It's light, fresh, and summery (as promised). Before beginning I did run down the road to the grocery store to grab some arugula. What resulted was a delightful combination of nutty arugula, sweet crisp apples, cucumber, pecans, and a balsamic vinaigrette with mustard, tahini, and honey.

Arugula and Apple Salad with Honey and Mustard Vinaigrette

Handful of arugula
1 apple

1/2 cucumber
2 tsp lemon juice
1/4 cup chopped pecans

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp honey
1 tsp dijon mustard
1 tsp tahini
pinch of cardamom

1. Cut the apple and cucumber into matchsticks. Toss in lemon juice. Arrange over arugula.
2. Combine ingredients for vinaigrette, whisking until smooth.
3. Drizzle over salad and top with pecans.
4. Enjoy!

Admittedly a salad is far more difficult to screw up than a fish sauce. But that's why I love salads. There is nothing wrong with simplicity and a salad is just that. There is almost always something hanging out in my fridge that could be turned into a salad. They beg for improvisation. So please play with this 'recipe.' Tweak the vinaigrette until it's exactly how you want it to taste. Use pear instead of apple...or Asian pear would be nice. The possibilities are truly endless. But this one's staying in my repertoire.

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