Heatwaves are bunk.

Luckily, ours finally broke yesterday so we’re back to business as usual. No longer must we suffer idiotic television personalities “cooking” pizza on the sidewalk–that is until the next time the sun decides to hug the earth. Sidenote: just b/c it’s hot doesn’t mean it’s 500 degrees; so, your sidewalk pizza will never be properly crisp, dude.

In the midst of the mugginess I gathered some hearty & gorgeous greens from the farmer’s market. Realizing that if I turned on the stove I might very well combust, I remembered a massaged kale salad that I’d seen Aarti Sequeira make on the food network. A raw salad, the idea is that the acid in the lemon juice (though you could use lime or vinegar, etc.) tenderizes the greens. Delicious, quick & simple, it’s a great summer salad & bonus, you’re not going to cook out any of the nutrients.

For my version I used a mix of mustard & collard greens. The mustard provides a distinct spice–think wasabi or horseradish–and the collards give a subtle sweet earthiness. Instead of mangoes, I threw in the fruit I had on hand–a yellow peach, a red plum & 2 nectarines, all thinly sliced. Some toasted, slivered almonds took the place of pepitas & dinner was done.

To prep the greens, I fill my sink with cold water. As it fills, I fold each leaf in half, exposing the rib, and run a knife down the center, to the point where the rib starts to bend. Discard the ribs, thow the leaves in the sink, give them a swish and let them sit.

For this salad, I then remove several leaves at a time, stack them, roll them into a “cigar” and chiffonade. After a ride in the salad spinner, they are then ready to get dressed. (When braising greens, I prepare much the same way–only forgo the salad spinner as the bit of water on the leaves helps the braise & I make wider slices)

The first step is much the same: lemon juice over greens with a bit of oil and kosher salt. Massage the greens until they feel tender and, as Aarti says, get that just peeled green banana smell.

For the dressing I skipped the second dose of lemon and left off the honey. Instead, I mixed sherry vinegar with a bit of molasses, olive oil and salt. A very important tip: If you’re using mustard greens taste them first. My farm fresh ones were PUNGENT, a.k.a., spicier than I knew mustard greens could be. Greens from the grocer’s might not be as strong but for me that meant no black pepper. Similar in technique to slaw, this salad gets even better the longer it sits, so make extra–you’ll love it even more tomorrow.

A few quick-seared scallops & Friday night in was cool as a cucumber. Actually it was still pretty hot, but at least I wasn’t sweltering over a stove for an hour.


bare cupboard bonanza

I’d like to take a moment to pat myself on the back for being sort of awesome.

Last night was one of those nights where you open and close your cupboards, peer indefinitely into the refrigerator, stare at your shelf of cookbooks, wondering if one of them holds the key and generally stand around in your kitchen befuddled by what you’re supposed to do with a jar of pickled cherries and a box of flax-seed.

Dinner was totally about to be prepared by the Italian man down the street when, suddenly, I remembered that I had a bag of scallops in the freezer. I know what some of you are thinking: “Frozen seafood!? Blech.” Well, you’re wrong. Frozen seafood is one of the best bargains in the supermarket & not everyone has access to a great fish monger. If you are buying frozen though, look at the ingredients list–some frozen fish might be injected with sodium; if so, avoid it. Also try to buy vacuum packed and/or flash frozen for the best quality. To thaw shrimp or scallops, I like to fill a bowl with cold water and sea salt, then let the shellfish hang out in the brine, in the fridge.

Half a bag of baby carrots served as inspiration for a side dish: Carrot Latkes. I grated, salted and drained the carrots, then squeezed out, but reserved, all the liquid. Mixed with an egg, allspice, ginger, parsley and slivered almonds, I then pan seared the patties in a bit of coconut oil. Following the latkes, the scallops were seared in the same pan.

Thinking on my feet, I decided to make a jus out of the pan drippings, so in went the reserved carrot juice, a bit of water, a splash of sherry vinegar and a dab of honey.Finished with the liquid that had collected in my scallop serving plate and it was seriously tasty. Seriously.

A dollop of jarred arugula pesto on each scallop, and you would never know I had nothing to eat in my house. Accolades may be sent straight to my comments section.