Garden Greens with Grilled Peaches and Figs

The other day on my way to the dog park, I saw a sign for an estate sale in bright orange paint on a bright yellow poster.  Now, seeing as every four houses on a saturday in Portland is either having a garage sale or an estate sale, I normally wouldn’t detour too far out of my way for one unless I was truly on the hunt.  But this sign, for some reason, called to me.  I turned a sharp right on the next street, found a parking spot and went inside.  Among piles and piles of needless stuff,  I almost immediately spotted and couldn’t take my eyes off of a cast iron grill pan that was sitting quietly in the corner of the kitchen.  I couldn’t leave without it, and I knew I had to have it.  Instantly we were bonded.  It may sound silly, but it almost felt to me as if it had spent its entire existence at this house so that it would be sold, for eight dollars, to me.

Serendipity.  It’s not just a horribly cheesy movie.  It’s also pretty much how I try to live my life.  Opportunities present themselves, sometimes in the form of a job or experience opportunity, sometimes in new and old friends and acquaintances, and sometimes in bright yellow signs with orange paint.  I make an effort to leave space and time in my life for spontaneity, and for the most part I am rewarded.  I’ve also learned to let the things go which do not bring positivity into my life without necessarily being prepared to replace it.  Usually, in this case I am rewarded too.

It’s not easy moving to a new place without having any sort of concrete plans or a solid friend base.  I have my boyfriend, who’s not only a boyfriend but a true friend above all else.  We have an amazing puppy.  We both have at least one job that fulfills us, that makes us happy and has rewarded us in some way.  We are meeting some great people.  We’ve already encountered bumps in the road, impediments that force us to make difficult decisions and sometimes ones with unforeseeable outcomes.  But in making time for the good stuff, and in weeding out the bad, we are making it happen.  Slowly, things are coming together.

I received some great news today, and consequently spent the morning tearfully overjoyed and hugging my puppy.  Yes, good things are brewing on the home front.  Sorry to leave you in suspense, but it’s too early to divulge…and no, I’m not pregnant.  Just wanted to clear that one up.

So instead, I’ll just leave you with this recipe for garden greens with grilled peaches and figs.  There’s really nothing serendipitous about it, except for the fact that I used my amazing new-ish cast iron grill pan and it met- nay surpassed- my expectations.

Garden Greens with Grilled Peaches and Figs


  • Juicy peaches
  • figs
  • An assortment of garden greens.  Mostly arugula and spinach.
  • Mint
  • Pistachios
  • Some kind of crumbly cheese.  I used homemade farmer’s cheese from my Portland Culinary Workshop class)
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • Juice of half a lemon

Start by gathering your greens.  Farmer’s Market, Trader Joe’s, New Seasons, your neighbor’s garden.  Don’t matta.  Just pick up a bunch and make sure they’re organic and healthy looking.  None of that supermarket iceburg crap.

For this salad, I mooched some spicy arugula, refreshing spinach, and cooling mint leaves from my neighbor’s backyard.  Rinsed, chopped, thrown into a bowl.

Chop the peaches into slices, half the figs and place on a sizzling hot griddle pan with maybe a drizzle of olive oil.  Allow to grill for a few minutes on each side, using tongs to flip, until the fruit is softened and has some grill marks on both sides.

Meanwhile, shell some pistachios.  Use a knife to smush and crack them into smaller pieces (as you would a garlic clove to remove the peel) and throw them in a small pan on low to medium heat for a few minutes to bring out a roasted nutty flavor. Watch carefully so as not to burn, as nuts can and will burn quickly if you don’t keep an eye on them.    Remove from heat, allow to cool.

When your fruit is sufficiently grilled, turn off the heat and remove from the grillpan (or grill).  Allow to cool then cut into chunks.

Assemble the salad.  Throw the greens into a bowl, sprinkle the pistachio, grilled fruit, and some goat cheese, farmer’s cheese, or feta.  Or maybe even blue cheese if you have that on hand instead.  Drizzle generously with a mix of olive oil, salt, pepper, and the juice of half a lemon.  Take a moment to appreciate the simple beauty of the dish.

And then devour.


Lucia’s Kale Salad

Welcome, my friends, to this blog.  It’s taken me a while to finally create this darn thang, but I’m glad you’ve decided to join me on my culinary adventure.  As of now I have zero game plan here except to share my foody thoughts with you in hopes of getting your foody juices flowing.  Now let’s get down to business…

This is my main squeeze these days, I just can’t get enough:  Lucia’s Kale Salad

Super easy, quite inexpensive and absolutely delicious!  It can be eaten as a meal in itself or as a side dish.


  • One head of kale (as always, organic if possible), washed, stalks removed and finely chopped
  • A generous portion of peeled ginger, grated (it helps if the ginger is frozen)
  • A healthy drizzle of olive oil
  • Apple cider vinegar, added in small increments (as an alternative, I prefer to use fresh lemon juice and a bit of grated lemon zest)
  • Sea salt
  • Black pepper

Also, if you fancy: minced garlic, onion, chili flakes (I throw a ton of garlic in mine).  Normally raw garlic is too intense of a flavor for me, but in this recipe in particular, it matches up really well with the garlic and lemon juice so don’t be skimpy.

NOW, the key to this recipe is massaging in a large bowl (with hands, you don’t have another option here, just suck it up and go for it).  Not only is this dish super yummy, but it is incredibly good for you too.  Can you tell by now that I am obsessed with this salad?

A bit about kale: Eaten raw, the texture of kale can be a bit unwelcoming and/or unappetizing.  Pairing it with olive oil and an acid works to break it down, and surely using your hands to massage the kale for a few minutes will help to reinforce this wilting into a more appealing leafy green.  It comes in several different varieties, so if you have a choice you should select a ripe yet less rigid type.

A bit about Lucia:  Lucia is one of my very dear friends and a mentor of mine both in the kitchen and out, and in the best of ways she is a hilariously particular woman.  When I say particular, I don’t mean in her recipes, in fact when I furiously scribble notes during her cooking lessons she absolutely refuses to give me exact measurements as she believes that the right measurements should be felt with the heart.  A prime example of her particularity is that she follows a strictly raw diet and yet still manages to create the most original, flavorful, and delicious recipes I have ever tasted.  More about this raw diet of hers another time.

A bit about the title of my blog:  The definition of a recipe denotes exact measurements, and yet my title suggests that there is no one recipe for a dish.  I realize the irony in the title of my blog, No Such Recipe, but that is why I went with it.  I found inspiration in Lucia’s cooking lessons, as I mentioned that she refuses to give exact measurements but merely gives me a few guidelines, preferred ingredients and notes on technique.  This is how I hope to convey my “recipes” on this blog.

One more thing, I promise: kale chips are the ISH as well, second only to Lucia’s Kale Salad!  One head of kale makes for a ton of salad, so you may want to reserve half or a quarter of the chopped kale leaves for this simple snack.  To make these tasty treats, toss kale whole leaves in olive oil, sea salt and black pepper and spread onto a greased baking sheet.  Bake for 15-20 minutes at 250, and ta-daa!  kale two ways, BOOM.