Isn't the internet great*? All you have to do is type in the names of the two or three ingredients you have in your fridge/pantry that seem like they might go well together, hit enter, and behold, umpteen recipes that use those exact ingredients in that combination! Not that I don't still love, and use, my many cookbooks, but as it turns out there are numerous talented and interesting cooks and food writers out there, publishing recipes in blogs, websites, and periodicals, and I would have never seen their work had I not decided to google "kale lamb white beans" or whatever. It has definitely been a good thing.
With the increasing ubiquity of farmers markets and CSAs, lots of these cooks and food writers have turned their attention to the kinds of veggies that seem to turn up almost exclusively at local farms. They value the freshness and nutritional value that comes with buying locally and cooking seasonally, and they're just as passionate as the farmers themselves about opening people's eyes to some of these less common items.
Having said all that, it obviously kind of doesn't apply to arugula. I think most people have encountered arugula, and if you enjoy its peppery flavor, you know what to do with it. Here's an idea to add to your repertoire: a substantial summer salad, completely adaptable to whatever grains, nuts, dried (or fresh) fruits, vinegars, etc. you happen to have on hand.
*The internet also definitely has some HUGE drawbacks, let's be clear. The thing with the recipes is pretty great though.
BULGUR & ARUGULA SALAD
adapted from Anastatia Curley in The Atlantic, via the internet!
serves 2 as a main dish, 4 as a side
note: quinoa, farro, barley, kasha, or wild rice would be fine substitutes for the bulgur. Walnuts, pecans, cashews, or almonds would be fine substitutes for the pine nuts. Dried sour cherries, raisins, fresh blueberries, or just about any fruit, fresh or dried, would be just as delicious as dried cranberries. Crumbled goat cheese or torn fresh mozzarella would work in place of feta. The addition of cooked, drained chickpeas, lentils, or canellini beans would add more protein and stretch the dish a little further. You get the idea. Remember, cooking is all about what you have in your pantry that needs to be used! Or that may just be what cooking is about for me...
1 cup bulgur
1/4 lb arugula, washed and dried (salad spinners are wonderful!)
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 avocado, sliced
good olive oil
red wine vinegar
Bring 2 cups of water to a boil. Add a good pinch of salt, and the bulgur. Bring to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 20 minutes, until the water is absorbed. Remove the pot from the heat, uncover, place a dish towel over the pot, and replace the lid. Let the bulgur sit for about 10 minutes (the dish towel will absorb condensation, which helps the bulgur become fluffy and delightful).
While the bulgur is cooking, make the dressing: mix about two tablespoons of Dijon mustard with about a quarter-cup red wine vinegar. Add the juice of half the lemon, then about a half-cup of olive oil and a large pinch of salt. Whisk mixture with a fork to combine.
When the bulgur is ready, toss it in a bowl with the dressing, arugula, and dried cranberries. Add more lemon juice, salt, vinegar, or olive oil to taste. Serve, garnishing individual servings with pine nuts, feta, and avocado.