The fruits of my farmer's market labors!
Fresh basil (from mom's garden), local tomatoes, onions, and that sweet banana pepper, you were meant to be together.
Normally, when cooking for myself, I stick to one dish per meal. It fills me up just fine and my blessed metabolism works in such a way that I'll be hungry again in 2 hours anyways. But, being home means cooking more, somehow.
So for this Sunday dinner special, I paired two concoctions that I wouldn't normally put together. To me, all the items on the plate should be able to be enjoyed separately, but also in one, big, glorious bite a la Thanksgiving dinner. In this instance, the flavors of the two separate dishes don't really compliment each other. So, I'll go through them separately.
First, the summer squash. It was composed of:
one yellow squash
one small zucchini
one green apple
Using my oh-so-special food processor, I was able to thinly slice the squash and apple and grate the zucchini. I love different textures. It keeps the dish visually interesting.
Then I heated up some lemon juice (enough to generously cover the bottom of the pan), tossed in the produce, and added a few spoonfuls of brown sugar, and a healthy dose of tarragon. (I wanted mint, but found that tarragon made a pretty good substitute. IF YOU HAVE FRESH MINT, USE IT!) I put on a lid and let those veggies steam.
I also boiled some short grain Italian rice (the kind usually used in risotto, but any short grain rice will do), and tossed in a few spoonfuls of brown sugar when it was done. My goal was a sort of sticky rice. The rice finished before the rest of the meal was ready, it had plenty of time to settle into itself, and voila! Sticky rice.
Now, moving on to the arugula. I used:
Two small tomatoes
One small onion
One sweet banana pepper
I heated some olive oil and added the onions, fresh basil, sweet banana peppers, and probably some salt and pepper. Once that had had enough time to get all friendly and sauteed, I tossed the arugula on top, turned the heat to barely on, and put a lid on it.
Next to that pan, I made a balsamic vinegar reduction to balance out the bitterness of the arugula. For those of you who haven't tried this before, TRY IT! All you do is put some balsamic in a pan, cooking it over high heat, and stir it while it bubbles. After a few minutes, it gets sticky and sweet, forming a syrup-like consistency.
I plated my arugula salad and drizzled some reduction on top. Next to this went a mound of sticky rice with the summer squash. And next to that, one large fork.