Arugula, Beet, and Blood Orange Salad

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So the Super Bowl was yesterday and blah blah blah. I may offend many of my fellow Americans when I say this, but what the hell¬†is with everyone and football? Grown men darting around in Spanx, fighting to the death over a¬†charmingly-named “pig skin”, bashing heads like they’re auditioning for Braveheart? Um, hello?

Can you tell I never played sports?
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Rosemary and Goat Cheese Scones

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It’s never easy to find recipes that work well for large groups, are easy to throw together, and make everyone do the happy nom noms dance. There’s always a person who doesn’t like eggplant, some weirdo fruitarian, or a living-in-denial, “I don’t eat carbs” lame-o.

In my quest to find meal ideas for our larger-than-life, week-long family fiesta for the 4th, I stumbled across some savory scones that did the tricksy. Served with salad, they were the perfect lunch that didn’t require too much fuss and pleased the masses. I set out to create one that was more my fancy and settled on some goat cheese, rosemary, gruyere, and apricot magic. Deeeelightful.

After a couple of tries, I think I found a happy balance between the flavors. The flour-butter-milk base can be used with your own favorite combination of flavors, so I encourage the adventurers out there to swap out my choices and go crazy with some pancetta, figs, blue cheese, etc etc.

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Rosemary and Goat Cheese Scones

1/2 c yellow onion, diced fine
1 t olive oil
1 t rosemary, chopped
3/4 apricots, chopped fine (I used dried apricots and rehydrated them in warm water for about an hour)
3/4 c goat cheese, crumbled
3/4 c gruyere, shredded
3 c flour
2 t baking powder
1 t salt
6 T butter, softened and cut into 1/2″ chunks
2 T shortening
1 c milk, plus 1-2 T

Heat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium pan over medium heat, add the olive oil. When hot, add the onion and saute over low until brown, 5-10 minutes. Add a bit of water if the pan gets dry. Cool slightly. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, combine flour, powder, and salt. With a pastry blender, two knives, or a fork, mix in the butter and shortening so that your mixture is coarse and about the size of peas. I find a fork easier than knives, since you have more control and can press the chunks of butter against the side of the bowl. When you have a consistent mixture, slowly add the milk while stirring with a spatula. If needed, add additional milk about 1 T at a time. The mixture should be fairly dry– don’t add too much milk. Add the onion, rosemary, apricots, and cheeses. Knead on a floured surface for a couple of minutes and then form into a disc on your baking sheet. Flatten into a circle that is about 1 1/2″ thick and bake for 30 minutes, or until brown. Let cool and serve.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad

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Like many out there, I tend to fixate on one ingredient for a few weeks and act like the world revolves around that single creation of nature.

“Why don’t you want to try my salmon skin milkshake? Are you seriously telling me that you’ve reached max capacity for Omega-3s today? Chug-a-lug, brah.”

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I haven’t gotten sick of chick peas yet, which have been my recent light-of-my-life, love-of-my-world item. Baked, fried, mashed, sauteed, pureed; wherever the wind takes you with these gold nuggets is heavenly, so I keep my shelves stocked with 5-6 cans. More if I can eat other things to make way for cases upon cases of garbanzo bliss.

This salad is great on toast or with any additionals you have lying around. The original recipe didn’t call for chick peas or avocado (which was just crazy talk), so I took the liberty of adding liberal amounts of both.

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Roasted Eggplant Salad with Chick Peas, Avocado, and Goat Cheese

adapted slightly from The Kitchn

3 small eggplants
salt
3 T cider vinegar
1/3 c olive oil
1 T honey
1 t paprika
1/2 t cumin
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 T lemon juice
2 T soy sauce
3/4 c toasted almonds, or smoked, coarsely chopped
1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
2 oz goat cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, diced
2 scallions, sliced finely

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop the eggplant into 1-in cubes. Place in a strainer in the sink and sprinkle generously with salt. In a small bowl, whisk together olive oil, vinegar, honey, paprika, cumin, and garlic. Pat the eggplant dry and transfer to a large bowl. Pour the marinade over the eggplant and stir to coat evenly, then spread evenly onto two baking sheets (use parchment paper for easy clean up). Bake for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove and let cool. Whisk together the lemon juice and soy sauce, then pour over the eggplant in a large bowl and stir to coat. Add the beans, almonds, cheese, and avocado; stir to combine. Sprinkle with the scallions and serve warm.

It’s kind of like crack, but you didn’t hear it from me.

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