Autumn Pantry Pasta

I improvised this pasta dish tonight out of ingredients in my fridge and pantry that I needed to use up.  Despite the wacky mix of ingredients, it actually tastes delicious!

First I sautéed 4 cloves of garlic, 1 shallot, and 4 scallions in plenty of olive oil, seasoning with some herbes de Provence, freshly ground black pepper, and dried kombu and shiitake-laced sea salt (similar to the Breakaway Cook’s umami salt, but minus the Parmesan).  Then added a bunch of white Swiss chard, sliced into ribbons, a handful of chopped walnuts, and a roughly chopped Fuji apple.  Then I added in a few splashes of 100% pure apple cider from the farmers market and a heaping spoonful of organic white miso.  I let the mixture braise on low heat for a bit until the greens wilted.  Meanwhile, I cooked up the whole wheat penne pasta.  I used the apple and chard mixture to dress the pasta, adding a bit more olive oil, and topping things off with some grated Gruyère cheese and more freshly ground black pepper.

Yum!

Arugula, Walnut, Blue Cheese & Fig Preserve Salad

This salad is one of my current obsessions. I just can’t get enough of this stuff. It’s a real orgy of flavors, with tangy, creamy blue cheese gettin’ it on with the nutty walnuts, peppery arugula, sweet fig preserves and crunchy croûtons. (Recipe below)

Arugula, Walnut, Blue Cheese & Fig Preserve Salad

Ingredients (serves 2):

  1. Two handfuls of a baguette or other crusty bread cut into 1-inch cubes (This is a great way of using up your day-old leftover bread)
  2. One handful of raw walnut halves
  3. One clove of garlic, finely chopped
  4. Three or four handfuls of arugula, washed and thoroughly dried
  5. One or two green onions, thinly sliced
  6. One handful of blue cheese, crumbled, or cut into little cubes
  7. Extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt & pepper to taste
  8. Fig preserves (I used the sun-dried fig jam preserve from Mymouné)

Instructions:

  1. Put the bread cubes, walnuts and garlic in a mixing bowl. Season well with salt and pepper. Mix in some olive oil to lightly coat the bread and walnuts.
  2. Transfer the mixture to an oven-proof baking dish and bake in a 425 degree F oven (220 Celsius) for 10 minutes, or until the garlic is cooked through and the bread is crunchy. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly.
  3. Mix together ingredients 4 to 6 in a bowl. Add the bread and walnut mixture. Season with a bit more salt and pepper, and dress with a bit of olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss.
  4. Transfer the salad to a plate and top with some dollops of fig preserve. Serve immediately