June 15, 2012

In Season Recipe: Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula

A recipe?
What does that have to do with crafting, or business owning, or the New York Etsy Team?

Well last week, I wrote about joining a CSA as a way of incorporating a green and sustainable practice in your every day life.  I also discussed the benefits of supporting your local farmers and buying in season fruit and vegetables not just for you and your family, but for the community.

In the spirit of keeping with that idea, I've decided to share some good recipes during the summer and early fall months for you to use with seasonal produce, if you are a CSA member, farmer market shopper, supermarket shopper, or just want to whip up some good food for yourself, family and/or friends.

The requirement is that you love food. Really. That's it!

In a few weeks, I'll share composting (the scraps from your food preparation) tips for city dwellers, but I'll make sure to add in tips that don't require worms for anyone to use, too.

A bit of background before I share today's recipe:
About four years ago, I decided to try vegetarianism. I am not a vegetarian now, in fact, I love hamburgers, but I find myself eating vegetarian meals more and more.  It's been a natural progression and has easily been inspired by my environmental education.

Please know I am not expressing one way over another. I believe everyone should eat what they want and as they want. This is just my story.

When I made the decision four years ago, I purchased a cook book by Mark Bittman called "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian" and it changed my life. It is a monster of a book, heavy and large, but it covers everything you could possibly imagine of cooking vegetables and fruit for every meal.  It has been a life saver since joining my CSA, as there have been countless Wednesdays where I'm staring a bunch of vegetables down, chewing my lip, trying to determine what to do with them.

And so last week, after first distribution, I was staring down a ton of vegetables with no clue what to do with my arugula and strawberries.

Yes, I could have eaten both individually, but should I whip up pesto? Should I make strawberry shortcake? What ingredients in my cupboards could I use to make deliciousness? 

That's where Mark stepped in.

I grabbed my copy of "How To Cook Everything Vegetarian" looked up arugula and found a recipe for "Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula". I can not express just how delicious it is. The arugula was fresh, the berries were the perfect combination of tart and sweet and were the right size (not the jumbo kind you see these days).

I'm pretty sure that I had too many berries to the bunch of arugula, and I definitely added a bit more balsamic vinegar than the recipe calls for, 3 Tbps, I believe, but it was perfect; the best fresh and light salad to kick off the strawberry season!

I also added optional goat cheese (at the bottom of the recipe), because I ate this as a meal with a small piece of baguette and called it a night.

Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula
by Mark Bittman
Makes: 4 to 6 servings
Time: 15 minutes

3 cups strawberries, hulled and halved or quartered
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar, or more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
4 cups arugula leaves
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1. Toss the strawberries with the vinegar and black pepper in a large salad bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.
2. Add the arugula, sprinkle with salt, and toss again. Drizzle with olive oil and toss gently one last time. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve.

Balsamic Strawberries with Arugula and Goat Cheese. Before the final toss in Step 2, crumble 4 ounces of goat cheese over the salad.

Happy eating!  If you make the recipe, let me know below. If you have a recipe you want to share or me to include, let me know.  Cooking is a sharing art.

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