Posts Tagged ‘salads


Lunch and a Walk in Central Park North

Yesterday, SYR and I had the pleasure of having lunch with the famed Lévana Kirschenbaum at her apartment, in Manhattan’s Upper West Side. While everyone who has read this blog over the years knows of my love/hate relationship with fish (more hate than love, actually), I really enjoyed her sushi grade tuna steaks. Juicy, flavorful and without a hint of fishiness they were truly delicious!!!


A delicious tossed salad, a cup of sake in the lower  left corner and a some tuna steaks in the back...

A delectable tossed salad, a cup of sake in the lower left corner and a some tuna steaks in the back…

Grilled Mushrooms, Grilled Zucchini and Carrot Salad...

Grilled Mushrooms, Grilled Zucchini and Carrot Salad… Fantastic!

After such a great lunch (which we capped with Lévana‘s superb Chocolate Chip Cookies) the three of us went for a walk in Central Park North…

...a wooden bridge

…a wooden bridge

Some of the Park's inhabitants...

Some of the park’s inhabitants…

Great company, great meal, great walk, great afternoon, what more can one ask?



Baby Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberries

While looking for easy to prepare,  nice summer salads, we came across this one in Williams Sonoma‘s New Flavors for Salads – Classic Flavors Redefined:

Baby Spinach Salad with Roasted Strawberries

From book, page 37 - Photo by: Kate Sears

From book, page 37 – Photo by: Kate Sears

The flavor of this salad sparkles with the bright acidity of red wine vinegar, its tartness tempered by the sweetness of fresh orange juice. Roasting strawberries with a bit of sugar intensifies their fruitiness and softens their texture, creating a nice counterpoint to the salty cheese and crunchy toasted almonds.


  • large strawberries, 2 pints (1 pound total weight)
  • extra-virgin olive oil, 8 tablespoons
  • sugar, 1 tablespoon, plus 2 teaspoons
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • fresh orange juice, 1/4 cup
  • fresh tarragon leaves, 4 teaspoons finely chopped
  • blanched whole almonds, 1 cup toasted *
  • baby spinach, 9 cups
  • pecorino romano cheese, 9 ounces shredded

Preheat the oven to 400 F.

Using a pairing knife, hull the strawberries** and cut them in half lengthwise. Spread the berries on a rimmed baking sheet. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil and sprinkle with with 2 teaspoons sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper. Toss to coat the berries evenly, then spread them out again. Roast until softened, about 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature.

In a small nonreactive bowl, whisk together the vinegar, or orange juice, tarragon, the 3 tablespoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and several grinds of pepper until the sugar dissolves. Slowly whisk in the remaining 6 tablespoons olive oil until well blended to make a vinaigrette. Taste and adjust the seasonings.

In a small bowl, stir together the almonds and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a large bowl, combine the spinach, 3/4 teaspoon salt and several grinds of pepper. Whisk the vinaigrette to recombine, drizzle about one-third of it over the spinach and toss well (reserve the remaining vinaigrette for another use). Taste and adjust the seasonings. Divide the dressed spinach evenly among individual plates, top each serving with an equal amount of the roasted strawberries, and sprinkle with the almonds and cheese. Serve right away.

Makes 6 servings

* toasting nuts and seeds

Toasting nuts and seeds crisps their texture and lightly browns them, giving them a rich full flavor. Be sure to let toasted nuts and seeds cool to room temperature before use.

in the oven Scatter the nuts or seeds in an even layer in a baking dish or on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast in a 325 F. oven stirring once or twice, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color , 5-10 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of the nuts or seeds.

on the stove top Place the nuts or seeds in an even layer in a frying pan. Toast over medium heat , stirring or shaking the pan often, until fragrant and slightly darkened in color, 2-5 minutes, depending on the size and quantity of the nuts or seeds.

** hulling strawberries

Hull fresh strawberries after washing them and just before use.

  1. Insert the tip of a pairing knife – Insert the sharp tip of a pairing knife at a slight angle just below the stem areauntil the tip of the knife reaches the center of the berry.
  2. Trim and pull off the top – Cut around the stem area, rotating the berry to make a circular cut. Gently pull or pry off the top.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!



Mushrooms à la Grecque

Growing up I intensely disliked mushrooms but, like so many other things that changed, as I grew up, as my palate got more sophisticated, I learned to love them! So… what are mushrooms? They are…

…the fruiting bodies of soil-borne fungi that live from nutrients they take from plants living and dead. They flourish throughout the world’s temperate zones and add varying of earthiness and savory flavor to foods. Their flavor character and intensity depend almost entirely on the type of mushroom they are, rather than whether they are cultivated, what color they are, or their size.

(The Illustrated Cook’s Book of Ingredients – Page 270)

And… they are delicious, healthy and a great addition to salads, soups and more. Last evening I was not in the mood of long preparations, so… what better than this classic dish?

Mushrooms à la Grecque


Serves 1


  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 lb 3 oz crimini or button mushrooms, halved
  • 8 plum tomatoes, roughly chopped
  • 3 1/2 oz pitted black olives
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper
  • chopped parsley, to garnish


  1. Heat 2 tbsp of the oil in a large frying pan, add the onions and garlic, and cook until soft and starting to brown. Add the mushrooms and tomatoes and cook, stirring gently, for about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. transfer the mushroom mixture to a serving dish and garnish with the olives.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the remaining oil into the vinegar, season to taste with salt and pepper and drizzle over the salad, Garnish with the copped parsley, cover and let it stand at room temperature for 30 minutes to allow the flavors to mingle before serving.

Enjoy, gentle reader, enjoy!!!


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