Arugula and Asian Pear Salad

Arugula in our boxes, two weeks in a row. Hooray! I love this peppery green, but it can be really bitter. When you’re getting ready to use it, nibble on a leaf or two. If it’s tasting really young and sweet, the less you do to it, the better. I love it tossed with a vinaigrette and then put on top of hot (homemade) pizza.

If it’s more on the bitter side, you might give it sweeter accompaniments.

I love salads with fruit (you may have noticed this already) and believe it or not, I just ate my first Asian pear this week. I’m not sure why I never tried them – just happy with “regular” apples and pears, I guess, and maybe that rusty-looking skin meant I’d have to peel them, and I absolutely hate to peel anything. Turns out the peel is just fine, no need to pare these pears.

What a revelation. Juicy and sweet, I was an instant convert. Locally grown Asian pears are at farmers markets right now, so how about pairing them with the arugula? (ok – way too many puns. sorry.)

Apple Chutney

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat; add onion. Saute over heat until translucent and beginning to brown, about 6 minutes. Add apples; sauté 4 minutes more. Add vinegar, raisins, ginger, mustard, and cayenne. Stir well to combine; cover. Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until apples are very tender but hold their shape, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Cool and store in the refrigerator. It should keep for about a month.

Apple, Ham, and Cheddar Melt

I’m looking for a way to use these apples. Some are really the wrong texture for eating out of hand, so I needed inspiration for other uses. Here are two. The first is basically a grilled cheese sandwich fancied up a little by the folks at Martha Stewart with the addition of ham and slices of apple. That’s what I’m having for dinner tonight. Tomorrow I’ll make the apple chutney. I think it would be a great addition to my next apple, ham, cheddar melt.

Roasted Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup from Serious Eats

Here’s the idea: Grab some produce, seasoning, and perhaps some protein, throw it on a sheet tray and roast until golden and tender, then mash it up into a rustic, warming soup. Roasting adds a depth of flavor that simmering will never provide, and it also makes for a low-fuss dinner that tastes like it took a lot more effort than it did.

In this recipe, chicken thighs are tucked in amongst chopped onion and cubed squash (peeling and preparing the squash is the hardest part of this whole thing), then shredded into the soup. Ground cumin and coriander add a little punch to help cut the sweetness, and a crucial squeeze of lemon adds acidity to keep it all in balance.

Browned Butternut Squash Couscous

And then there’s that ubiquitous butternut squash. You do know that you don’t need to be in a hurry to use it up – it will keep, in your pantry, for months. A nice reminder come February of the bounty of the fall season.

Several MBers have mentioned butternut squash risotto, and this recipe will give you a similar dish that’s doesn’t require quite as much attention. I love couscous, and I love this combination with almonds and scallions.

Brown Butter Creamed Winter Greens

he following very chef-y recipe is from Linton Hopkins, he of Restaurant Eugene/Holeman & Finch fame. It was published in the Southern Foodways Alliance Community Cookbook. It’s a little time consuming, but what a beautiful indulgence that will use up all the greens in the box this week. It’s a nice reminder of how delicious a little browned butter can be.