I think we may have hit a road block. Things have been going great in the kitchen. No REAL mishaps and those that did occur were never all that detrimental to the flavor of a dish.
But I've lost my zest.
It's not that I don't like summer foods, it's just that I like almost every other season's food that much more!
Chilled soups? Vomit-ville
I like hearty warm meals. Meals that make you feel as if you achieved something after you finish eating them. Maybe you're sweating, maybe you need to lie down, but you definitely should not need to put on another layer because your body temperature has decreased.
I went to Terry Walter's "Clean Food" cookbook again and found the recipe for a White Bean Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula and although the dreaded word "salad" was right in the title, I thought the "roasted" would overcompensate.
I revelled in the fact that I would be using my oven and my new cooking dishes.
Unfortunately, this salad failed to deliver.
Maybe that's because I took some liberties that I shouldn't have:
-First of all, my weird grocery store did not have arugula. I used Romaine.
-Matt hates fennel. Scratch that, Matt "claims" to be allergic to fennel and says that his throat gets itchy when he comes into contact with it. So, even though I LOVE fennel and think it's a great addition to many dishes, I have to suffer through finding a subsitute. I found out that celery is sometimes used as a substitute, so I did that.
The verdict: Not so good.
Maybe it's because I need more flavors in a dish or maybe it's because I hate large slices of onions, but this just really did not appeal to me at all. We ended up serving this on lettuce and dousing it in Italian dressing.
At least it wasn't ketchup.
It was a pretty dish, however.
Here it is with our own adaptions:
For those of you with a more "mature" palate than mine, here's the recipe for the White Bean Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Arugula.
2 sweet onions, cut into wedges (Walla Walla or Vidalia)
1 fennel bulb, halved, cored and chopped
5 carrots, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon coarse sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
8 tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
3 cups cooked great northern or navy beans
6 cups arugula leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In glass baking dish, combine garlic, onions, fennel and carrots. Drizzle with just enough olive oil to coat vegetables evenly. Toss with sea salt and plenty of pepper. Roast uncovered 20 minutes or until just tender. Remove from oven, fold in tomatoes and beans and return to oven to roast an additional 10 minutes or until tomatoes are soft.
Remove from oven, cover individual plates or large platter with fresh arugula, top with bean and vegetable mixture and serve.