Chef Michael's March Musing


This weekend was a turning point, literally: time to turn the garden. I never thought it would come - the endless rain, the cold, even the snow that brushed our cheeks. I never trusted the groundhog, he's an over grown rat. Why are we looking to an over grown rat to predict our weather ? I guess it could be worse, maybe a duck squawking. The turning of the garden gets me outside and out of the kitchen. It clears the senses and gets me excited for what's to come. It's wonderful to have a beautiful 18-bed garden, behind Besaw's. Last year, before we put the garden to sleep for our over-wintered veggies, we planted some arugula - one of my favorite greens. Its spicy crunch makes salads better and served with a steak, it's just divine. I never expected it to survive winter but, to our surprise this weekend, there it was sprouting like a weed. Young spicy goodness. The greenhouse version of this flavorful survivor has inspired my menus long into winter. I have an excellent arugula salad on our menu, right now. Tasted it ? It has caramelized pears and onions in an apple cider & caraway vinaigrette and, let's not forget everyone’s favorite, good ol' bleu cheese. Topped with roasted, local Oregon hazelnuts, its tastiness is unforgettable.

Here is the recipe for our apple-caraway vinaigrette:

1/4c apple cider

1/4c apple cider vinegar 2tbsp caraway seeds (toasted) 3/4c olive oil

Put all the ingredients in a jar and shake well.

And, here are the ingredients for the salad preparation:

4 big handfuls of arugula

1 crisp, local pear

1 large onion

1Tbsp EVOO

1/8c bleu cheese

Slice the pears into thick wedges, about 1/2"-3/4". Leave the skins on for texture. Cut the onions into thick chunks, too. Toss both items in olive oil and put in oven for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Let the pear and onions cool... Toss with a handful of arugula, arrange on plate and garnish bleu cheese. Dress to your liking. A great salad of sugar (pears/onions) and spice (arugula)... makes everything nice. Serves four nicely. Enjoy.