The ease I referenced in my last post has stayed with me in the kitchen this week. I had to chuckle yesterday afternoon, as I found myself juggling multiple projects, all destined for different purposes: roasting potatoes, sautéing winter greens, candying pistachios, and making vegetable stock.
As it turns out, cooking with flexibility has reminded me of plunging into a chilly pool: despite the initial shock, I know I'll adjust if I just keep on moving and stay confident in my swimming ability (as choppy as my stroke may be).
This particular lunch developed from my new go-with-it attitude. In the fridge, I had unroasted brussels sprouts, chicory, and a grapefruit. In less than 30 minutes, I prepared a brussels sprout pasta and a chicory salad. I mimicked Alice Waters' method of prepping the sprouts, separating the sprout leaves from their small spine; all lumped together they looked like a heap of freshly fallen leaves from a tiny tree. I remembered Harry had posted a salad recommendation for his chicory on the Mudjoy Farm website, so while the pasta was boiling, I gathered the necessary ingredients, transforming the grapefruit and chicory into a sweet and slightly bitter salad in less than 10 minutes.
While the pasta was boiling gently, I sautéed a red onion, the sprouts, and garlic. Once the sprouts' edges turned brown and a bit crisp, I finished with a generous squeeze of lemon juice. Then I simply tossed this medley with the still hot pasta (and some pasta water), fashioning a meal that managed to be light enough for lunch (no afternoon nap here!) but big on flavor.
Winter Chicory SaladRecipe Source: MudJoy Farm
- One head of chicory
- Ice Water
- Grapefruit or other citrus
- Olive or grapeseed oil
- Balsamic vinegar
- One half medium onion
- Salt and fresh pepper
- Cut the chicory in thin strips and soak in ice water until bitterness is decreased to one’s taste.
- While the chicory is soaking, cut a grapefruit in half and remove the wedges of grapefruit with a small spoon. Put the wedges in medium bowl.
- Add 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar and 2 tbsp of oil to the grapefruit wedges. Stir and set aside.
- Cut the onion into thin rings. Drain the chicory and toss with the onion slices and the grapefruit dressing. Finish with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Brussels Sprouts PastaRecipe Source: Chez Panisse Vegetables
- 15-20 Brussels Sprouts
- 1 small Red Onion
- 1 lb Orrechiette
- Red Pepper Flakes
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- Lemon Juice
- Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Separate the brussels sprouts leaves. If you can't separate the leaves, thinly slice the hearts. Thinly slice a red onion and chop the garlic cloves.
- Start cooking the pasta. After adding the pasta to the boiling water, heat a sauté pan. Add olive oil, then the sprout leaves; salt and pepper them, and sauté for 1 minute over very high heat.
- Add the sliced onion and a pinch of red pepper flakes, and sauté until the sprouts are tender and a bit brown, 2 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the garlic, and toss.
- Squeeze some lemon juice on the sprouts. Drain the pasta and add it to the sauté pan. Gently combine the ingredients.
- Adjust seasoning as necessary and serve drizzled with olive oil. You can add either breadcrumbs or a few pieces of shaved Parmesan, if you desire.