Arugula, Carrot, and Mint Salad

A very very simple salad that goes with pretty much anything. It's at home with sandwiches on a picnic, burgers in the back yard, aaaand lots of inside places with lots of other foods too!

Like many of the salads in The Myrtlewood Cookbook, this one can be adapted pretty easily, if you think about it in part like thiss: crunchy vegetable, spicy leaves, sweet herb, salty cheese, simple dressing. You could make it with kohlrabi, mizuna, basil, and feta. Or celery, escarole, parsley, and goat's cheese. And so on!

arugula sylvetta (the 'wild' kind that is small and jagged, but any kind will do!)

purple-skinned carrots

mint 

flaky salt

black pepper

olive oil 

lemon juice

grated parmesan or pecorino

Peel the carrots, discarding or keeping the skins depending on their toughness and cleanliness. Continue using the vegetable peeler to make sort of ribbons/strips. If you're working on this salad as part of a larger, more complicated meal, put your prepared carrots in water with lemon juice or vinegar. If not, just rinse them briefly to perk up the pieces. 

Wash and dry the arugula.

Pull the mint leaves from the stalks. Slice about half of them in half, keeping others whole. 

Combine the carrot slices and arugula. Drizzle olive oil and lemon juice around the sides of the bowl. Toss the carrots and arugula around the edge of the bowl to get them properly dressed. Add flaky salt and a healthy cracking of black pepper. 

The kind of pecorino that has been aged with black pepper is great here, but can obviously be faked with just, y’know, cracking over a bunch of black pepper. 

Portion the salad into bowls, add the mint, toss once again, top with the sprinkling of cheese.

Blackcurrant Fool

The school where I used to work had an inconsistent gardening situation. Things would grow, things would die, they'd hire someone new, it would all start again. One happy day, waiting for a ride outside on the hot pavement, I noticed a mature blackcurrant bush had been planted, as if it had rained down from the heavens. I watched it like a hawk, then picked them at their peak, on the sly. 

handful of blackcurrants

red or blackcurrant jam (other jams work just fine too)

lemon juice

3 dried juniper berries

scattering of sugar

thick cream

cream of tarter 

powdered sugar

Whip the cream with a generous pinch of cream of tartar, and a pinch or two of powdered sugar. I like it less sweet. The cream of tartar lends a tangy note that is quite complimentary to that of the black currants. I also like the cream to be slightly less stiff. If it whips too thoroughly, I add more cream and just stir until it has evened out. 

In a small saucepan, place the currants (de-stemmed, top/tailed) with a tiny amount of water and a scattering of sugar. Raise the heat to high. Smash three juniper berries and add them to the mixture with a dribbling of lemon juice. If you have no juniper berries, but do have gin, a splash will do great. Cook for about 2 minutes at the most. Stir in a spoonful of jam. Turn off the heat. If it's too thin, strain out the blackcurrants, continue cooking the liquid until it has reduced, then add the blackcurrants back in when you take it off the heat. Let cool completely. 

Fold with the cream. It can be served right away for a softer dessert, chilled until set for a medium-soft dessert, or nearly frozen for a on-its-way to semifreddo dessert. Serve with almond biscotti or an almond cookie of some kind.

Berry & Beaujolais Summer Drink

half a glass of beaujolais wine

a few spoonfuls of strawberry/beaujolais compote (or other soft berry compote)

half a glass of sparkling water

A drink to make the day after the Black Pepper Cheesecake with Strawberry/Beaujolais Compote in the book, or to approximate at other times with other ingredients. This could easily be done throughout the later summer with currants, raspberries, marionberries, or blackberries. 

Spoon a couple of strawberries (or other fruit) into the bottom of a glass, with a few more spoonfuls of jammy compote. Fill the glass half with beaujolais, then the other half with sparkling water. Stir, let mingle for a second, and enjoy.