I would eat arugula in a boat

Arugula is the new kale. Lately I just cannot get enough of this spicy green. I’ve been putting it on pizza. I’ve been devouring it raw with a simple vinagrette of mustard, olive oil and lemon juice. I eat it with eggs. I’ll eat it on the bed. I’ll eat arugula in the kitchen. I’ll eat it playing with a kitten. I’ll eat arugula in the rain. I’ll eat it in the dark. And on a train. I’ll eat arugula near a deer. At Sardine I’ll eat it with a hoppy beer.

It may have been my inundation lately with children’s literature (not that I don’t love it) that drove me to Sardine on Saturday for brunch;  a place I can feel like an adult and maybe even an adult who has found herself on vacation. And so I found myself this past Saturday at Sardine with Dan, but only after a trip around the Square for- drum roll here- Harmony Valley arugula and Bleu Mont cheese curds (you knew there would be cheese).

With its high ceilings, wooden beams, white tile walls, and squares of butcher block paper draped over an iron rail, Sardine oozes a certain sophistication, but despite this, I still feel at home. Except now I live somewhere on the coast, where they serve oysters and I do things like go to happy hour without staying the whole night.

If you go to Sardine for brunch, try to sit at the bar (or outside, if a table is available and the weather allows it). The bartenders are quietly charming and if you pay attention, it’s a tutorial on drink-making. You can also play the game that I invented this past trip to the bistro- if you had to consume one of the garnishes in the rocks glasses that line the bar (oversized-green olives, lemons, limes, gurken, sugar- the raspberries, orange slices, and cucumbers didn’t count) in one minute, which one would you choose? See, I may pretend to be sophisticated, but these are the things I think about.

On to brunch. I started with a greyhound in a tall glass and pondered the menu. I usually opt for the caesar salad but this time my eyes landed on the arugula salad: Arugula, shaved shallots, blueberries, hazelnuts and farmer’s cheese dressed in a lime vinagrette. Boosh.

I have to admit, when my salad arrived it paled in comparison to the appearance of Dan’s grass-fed burger with bleu and frites. I may have even uttered something disparaging about the size of the salad. But then I took a bite. Citrus, salt and pepper flavors took charge and I quickly ate my words. This salad may have looked small, but what it lacked in quantity it made up in flavor. I was unable to identify the salt source (the cheese? vinagrette?), but this salad definitely had that, dare I say it, umami. And paired with a hoppy beer from Three Floyds Brewery my brunch was out-of-sight.

I like arugula. I do!

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Pizza: A love story

This is the story of girl

meets boy

meets pizza.

A love triangle with a new twist: Homemade whole wheat pizza crust.


Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

This recipe comes from Dinner a Love Story

3 3/4 cups flour (I used Bob’s Red Mill White Whole Wheat)
2 1/2 teaspoons instant or other active dry yeast
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon sugar
1 1/3 cup room-temperature water

In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, yeast, salt, and sugar. Add the water and, using a wooden spoon or your hand, mix until blended, at least 30 seconds. The dough will be stiff, not wet and sticky. Cover the bowl and let sit at room temperature until the dough has more than doubled in volume, about 2 hours. Divide the dough in two and shape each into flattened balls. (Dough can be frozen at this point.)*

When you are ready to make a pizza, preheat oven to 500°F roll out one ball of dough in a rectangular shape and place on an oiled cookie sheet.

*I skipped the step of dividing the dough and found that it makes a perfect amount for one cookie sheet (one pizza). And while this pizza is supposed to serve 5, Dan and I can take it down, just the two of us.


Top the pizza with your favorite ingredients and cook at 500 degrees for about 15 minutes. When I first made this a couple of weeks ago I had bought a bunch of arugula from Harmony Valley at the downtown Madison farmer’s market with hopes of recreating a pizza I had in Chicago last winter: a spicy arugula salad with lemon and shaved parmesan topped a thin crust pie. Heaven. So I improvised a recipe that I found on Dinner a Love Story. I topped the crust with tomato sauce and slices of Cesar’s mozzerella and baked it for 15 minutes. When it came out of the oven I dressed the pizza with a salad of arugula, lemon, olive oil and parmesan cheese. It was love at first bite.

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