Saturday, May 22, 2010

Extemporaneous Cooking: Kalamata Olive, Grape Tomato and Arugula Salad

In my high school years, I was on the Speech and Debate team. I won awards, went to state competitions, the whole nine yards; simply translated: I can be elegant and articulate on the fly. A skill that can be applied to a multitude of areas has now been applied to cooking.
A few weeks ago we had made a rich salad with a nice peppery bite to it. It had kalamata olives, grape tomatoes, arugula and dill in it, but we had made it up then and never wrote down a recipe. Obviously, it was delicious because I sat there on my Saturday wracking my brain to try and recreate this salad on paper. Then I remembered that the original cooking event was unplanned and unprepared, so might as well employ a little improv here.
The key is confidence. Confidence that your cooking have everyone salivating for the next bite, or the confidence to watch a mal-produced batch tossed this time around.
So I approached the great white countertop, and prepared what I had: olives, tomatoes, dill, arugula. Then I proceeded to ransack the cabinet and fridge for any salad seasoning ingredients. I approached the mixing bowl fully armed with olive oil, lemon juice, cayenne pepper, salt, and basil. What happened next was nothing short of crazy chemistry: no measurements, plenty of taste-testing. I give you the recipe with very general measurements. It is up to your taste buds to discern, to experiment, to create! Anyways, cooking can be fun when there is a sort of nervous excitement surrounding the outcome of the final product.
Kalamata Olive, Grape Tomato and Arugula Salad
½ lb kalamata olives, sliced
½ lb grape tomatoes, sliced
1/3 c olive oil
2 T lemon juice
½ t dill weed
Dash of basil, salt and cayenne pepper
1 pgk [1 lb?] fresh arugula or mixed greens – but really just enough for those eating
1. Slice olives and tomatoes.
2. Add in all ingredients, except arugula/salad greens.
3. Let stand in fridge until just ready to eat.
4. Toss with arugula.
5. Eat!
*Tip, if storing any leftovers: separate the greens from everything else; they will wilt and become soggy.

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