Thursday, May 30, 2013

Asparagus-Arugula Salad With Dates and Stilton Cheese

Asparagus-Arugula Salad With Dates and Stilton Cheese

I don't expect anyone to be into my pugs as I much as I am {note 1: obsessed} and {note 2: except Mr SSS,} but my four-legged girls do tend to garner lots of attention when we take them out for their weekend excursions of shopping on one of our favorite neighborhood streets followed by some sort of lunch that involves sidewalk dining, wine and a restaurant that isn't opposed to misbehaving dogs who persevere for 45 minutes to land on our laps. 

What I realized shortly after we adopted Coco 11 years ago and what I am continually reminded of is the fact that pug ownership is an entree into a secret society. A pug lover's society. I had no idea that this unofficial-but-nationally recognized organization existed and was quite baffled during Coco's early puppy-hood. Why when walking her down the street would people driving by in cars sometimes beep and give a thumbs up? Why were people, who in LA are not typically known for making small-talk with strangers, coming up to give Coco lots of love and proceeding to tell me their life stories? Then I noticed a common thread: all of these people {at least in the  latter group} at one time or another have had a pug prance into their lives and take hold of their hearts for eternity. 

From current pug owners to former pug owners to people who know someone who has a pug {a friend/neighbor/aunt/therapist/AA sponsor} they all reveal themselves as card-carrying members. People who are enamored of these curious canines, canines who are full of wrinkles, smarts, pride, humor, stubborness and more affection than you can possibly imagine. 

Last Sunday's excursion with our two girls was no different. While strolling along our favorite street, we met no less than 7 members of the secret society with the last one being THIS GUY.  I vaguely recall answering several questions about Coco and Emma. And I half-heard about the pug he had a child, and something about dog training and alpha male owners. All the while I was trying {unsuccessfully}to not let this person's astonishing good looks get the best of me.

What happened next, you wonder. Did his fiancee and Mr. SSS excuse themselves so  JM and I could share more pug stories over an asparagus-arugula salad with dates and Stilton cheese? No, silly. This salad has nothing to do with this story except that I made it today for lunch with Coco and Emma at my feet, they lying in wait for a morsel of food to drop on the floor as I was realizing these precious creatures bring out the best in people, creating positive connections between people from all walks of life who have on thing in common: pug love. And I also randomly thought about JM and the fact that his agent should be pushing for him to be cast in the maybe-hopefully Zoolander sequel, cast as a model who, in Derek's words, "is just too good looking". 

Asparagus-Arugula Salad With Dates and Stilton Cheese

1 small parsnip, peeled and roughly chopped
1 small bunch of asparagus, tough ends snapped off and discarded
3/4 c red wine {I used Port but Cabernet would be good too}
6 figs seeded and cut into slivers
1 c + 1/2 c baby arugula
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
generous 1/4 c freshly crumbed Stilton cheese
- and for the dressing
6 T white balsamic vinegar
4 T vegetable stock
1/2 T honey 
3/4 T Dijon mustard
1 T + 1/2 T olive oil

It's time to multi-task.  Place parsnips in a small sauce pan with about an inch of water. Place wine in a separate small saucepan. Fill a medium saucepan with water. Bring all saucepans to a boil. Reduce saucepan with parsnips to a low simmer and cook until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Reduce saucepan with wine to a medium simmer and cook until liquid is reduced by half. Remove from heat.Place asparagus in saucepan with water and cook for 3 minutes. Drain; transfer to an ice bath and drain again. Set aside.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer parsnips to a food processor a food processor and puree.  Add just enough water to create a smooth paste consistency and process.

Make the dressing by whisking together first 4 dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Slowly add the oil and and whisk until incorporated.Combine asparagus, arugula and 6 T of dressing in a large bowl.

Place a dollop of parsnip puree in the center of each salad plate. Place salad on top, followed by the dates and cheese. Drizzle each salad with wine reduction. Finish with a dusting of freshly ground pepper.

Serves 4.

Remaining dressing can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for a few days}.
post signature
Source: Adapted from Dr. Weil. 

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...