Asparagus


Thank you, Gaye, for choosing pasta for this week’s Eating with Ellie theme. It is my all time comfort food. And then I made a shrimp pasta and it was the ultimate cool night dinner.

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White wine, lots of Parmesan along with asparagus and cherry tomatoes in this one.  And lots of good flavor.

My only complaint:  it was a little dry.  I added in the pasta water to make it saucy but  I may not have added enough {recipe calls for 1 cup}.  I was afraid it would be too wet.  I was wrong.  I would definitely make this again.  But with more pasta water added.

The recipe is on page 161 of Ellie’s The Food you Crave. You can also find it HERE.

For more Ellie Pastas visit Eating with Ellie.

I had one more recipe of Curtis’s I really wanted to try but never got the chance while he was out ‘assigned’ chef for I Heart Cooking Clubs.

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asparagus and parmesan risotto

Y’all know how much I love risotto so I couldn’t pass this one up.  Seems like every time I went to make it I didn’t have one of the ingredients.  THIS time every thing came together.  YUM!

About 8 cups store-bought vegetable stock
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 shallots, finely diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 Tble dried thyme leaves {I didn’t have any fresh}
2 cups Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry white wine
1 1/2 pounds thin asparagus, woody ends removed, stalks cut into 1 1/2-inch lengths
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut in small pieces
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
1/4 cup mascarpone cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Juice of 1/2 lemon

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved with a vegetable peeler, for garnish
Bring the vegetable stock to a simmer in the mircowave and keep warm.
Heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium heat and  sauté shallots, garlic, and thyme leaves until the shallots are tender but not browned. Add the rice and sauté just long enough to  coat with the oil.Add the wine and cook for 3 minutes,or until it is absorbed.

Add the hot veggie stock 3/4 cup at a time stirring after each addition until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rise is al dente
 

Add the asparagus cook for 2 more minutes.  Remove the pan  from the heat.  Add the butter, grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and mascarpone cheese and stir until the butter has melted and the cheeses are just incorporated. Add the parsley, mint, and lemon.juice.  season the risotto generously with salt and pepper.

Garnish with the shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, and serve.
Curtis’s risotto was a beautiful white with the green asparagus shining through.  My veggie stock was really dark so the risotto is very dark.  But it was full of flavor.  The  mascarpone, which I would NEVER have thought of using, added a certain sweetness to the risotto.  And the big shavings of Parmigiano-Reggiano….  nuff said!   I think I could live off of this risotto.
The recipe is from Relaxed Cooking with Curtis Stone.  Page 133}  You can find the original recipe his website as well.
Want more POTLUCK?  Visit IHCC.

 

 

Whenever I hear those words I always think of one thing.

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But that’s not what’s on the menu today!

When Gaye suggested that theme I know she was thinking of veggies instead.  Green veggies!  Or maybe lime! Or maybe Pistachios!

Whatever she was thinking I went with asparagus!

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asparagus ‘pasta’

Ellie calls this pasta because the stalks of asparagus are shaved into thin strips.  Not an easy task if your stalks are rather thin.  But quite tasty when quickly sauteed with garlic, onions, and lemon then topped with some Parmesan.

I will definitely make this again but maybe not as ‘pasta’.

The recipe is from Ellie’s weeknight wonders (page 246) and it is a very quick side – less than 15 minutes (not counting the shaving!).

More green on the Eating with Ellie site.

 

 

 

 

There is just something about risotto. It’s not easy to make. Well, it’s easy, it just takes a while. All the stirring and adding broth and stirring. But with the right combination of flavors it is well worth the effort. And this risotto was well worth the effort.

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This is Julie Shafer’s Risotto with Lemon and Asparagus

Julie says she learned to make risotto as a small girl cooking with her mother, grandmother, and aunts.  While we think of risotto as something fancy, she says it is just a staple of Italian cooking.  She also suggests that this is just a basic recipe and any local, seasonal veggie can be used.

    2 lemons
    2 small bundles asparagus
    1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
    2 tsp unsalted butter
    2 Tbl olive oil
    2 cups Arboio or Carnaroli rice
    2 – 3 quarts homemade or low-sodium store bought chicken broth, heated.

Zest the lemons then juice them and strain the juice.

Prepare the asparagus by peeling {which I did not do} and cutting off the tough ends.  Cut into 1″ pieces and steam to crisp.  {I am not a fan of steamed asparagus so I sauteed mine lightly in a little butter until just done.}

Sautee the onion in butter and olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  The onions should be fragrant and transparent.  Add in the rice and stir until the rice is well coated.  Season with salt and pepper.  {Salt and pepper are NOT in the recipe so I seasoned lightly and then later seasoned to taste.} Cook until the grains are almost clear.

Add the hot broth in to the rice/onion mix one ladle at at time and stir until it is absorbed. Continue this process until the rice is ALMOST creamy.

Add in the lemon juice, zest, steamed asparagus and one last addition of broth.  Cook for one additional minute.

Remove from the heat and add in the Parmesan to taste.  Add additional Salt and Pepper if needed. Let sit, covered, for about 5 minutes then serve.

Garnish with shaved Parmesan (optional)

This was really good.  I think I would use a little less lemon juice next time because I think it tended to overpower the asparagus.  You many not need a full 3 quarts of the broth.  I made 1/2 of the recipe and did not used a full 4 cups.

This is definitely a repeat.  I can imagine how it good it will be with different mushrooms, or maybe some spinach, or even just different cheeses.  It is very adaptable.

The recipe is on page 639 of O’Niel’s One Big Table,  an eclectic  collection of recipes from home cooks around the United States.

I’m linking this post with Cookbook Countdown hosted by Kitchen Flavours and Emily’s Cooking (Makan2).

This week is the beginning a six months of a brand new chef for I Heart Cooking Clubs – Curtis Stone!  I have watched him on cooking shows for several years but never used his recipes.  When his name came up for new chef I knew I wanted to vote for him.  Picked up a couple of his books and I am ready to go.

I started with something easy.

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lazy asparagus omelet

You don’t really need a recipe for this.  Whisked eggs with salt and pepper.  Throw in some blanched asparagus and cook.  Layer on some Taleggio cheese….okay, whoa!  What kind?  I looked everywhere for this one.  It is a creamy semisoft cheese which melts beautifully.  It is similar to Brie.  Where I shop even Brie is difficult to find so I subbed in some lovely herbed goat cheese.  PERFECT!  But I will find some Brie….

Perfect for lunch you can find the recipe in Curtis’ Relaxed Cooking on page 44 or on his website with some small changes. The only change, really is his use of Gouda or Fontina cheese rather than the Taleggio.

You can find more Curtis Stone at G’day Curtis .

If you need a VERY quick and VERY simple side this is the one. Provided you like fresh asparagus with lots of flavor.

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I didn’t really like asparagus until a couple of years ago. Mom had always used the canned stuff and the ‘fragrance’ was enough to send me screaming from the house. But then, one day, I tried fresh and now I look for new ways to cook it. And this was my pick for this weeks Wednesdays with Donna Hay. How simple is it, you ask. Melt butter. Add some balsamic vinegar. Throw in a bunch of asparagus and cook until it is tender. Top with Parmasean cheese. How can you say to no to THAT??? Definitely a keeper.

Check with the rest of the cooks on our website – Wednesdays with Donna Hay

The recipe is on page 134 of Donna’s New Food Fast.

And if you would like to join us – just look at our choices for the next few weeks (on he right) then cook/bake, blog and leave us a comment below. Love to have you!

Yep, it’s that time of the month again. Potluck week for I Heart Cooking Clubs. I haven’t had a chance to try any of our new Chef’s, Diana Henry, dishes but I had made a Bittman recipe earlier. A tasty pasta dish with lots of bacon and asparagus.

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I found some asparagus on sale so I took advantage of it and brought home a couple of bunches. I know it won’t last long – we will eat it too quickly – so I had to make this dish before the Man came around!

    2 Tbsp olive oil
    4 ounces bacon, chopped
    1 1/2 lb asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
    8 ounces whole wheat pasta shells or ziti
    2 eggs
    1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (freshly grated)
    Pepper to taste

Cook your pasta according to package directions. {Bittman recommends WW pasta but I had some Rice and Quinoa pasta in the pantry from Trader Joes.}
Cook the oil and chopped bacon in a hot skillet over medium heat until has started to brown.
Add in the chopped asparagus and cook asparagus until softened but still crisp.
In a warmed bowl (I put mine in a hot oven and then turned the oven off while I was cooking the bacon mix.} beat the egg and then mix in the bacon and asparagus mix. Make sure to add the rendered fat from the bacon.
Mix the drained pasta with the egg mix. Add a little pasta water if needed. Add in the Parmesan cheese. Pepper to taste. Serve.


Just a note – if the bowl is too warm the egg will cook fine but stick to the bowl. I added a little pasta water as I was cooking the egg.
As usual Bittman was right on with this recipe. Very good.


You can find the recipe on page 219 in Bittman’s Food Matters Cookbook or HERE.


Check out with the other POTLUCKS were this month over at I Heart Cooking Clubs.

If you haven’t met Mary you need to do that right away. Along with her chickens, goats, emus, cows, and donkeys. Living on a 5 acre farm all of the creatures keep her busy as does all the wonderful cooking and baking she finds time to do. The pictures of her lovely house and all of the animals are lovely.

Mary – in case you haven’t recognized it yet – is the author of The Egg Farm and my assignment for the Secret Recipe Club for October. I perused her recipes for days, pinning more than I will ever cook, and finally ended up with a few I really really wanted to make asap. The other 20 or so can wait.

The garden gave us tons of tomatoes this year. I put up quite a few and they were still bearing in September when my assignment came through I managed to save two large green ones so I could make Mary’s Fried Green Tomatoes.

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I haven’t made them in ages. These were so good. Nice and crispy. Lots of flavor. I didn’t change her recipe at all.

    2 large green tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch slabs
    Buttermilk sufficient to cover the tomato slices
    Dash of hot sauce
    ½ cup all purpose flour
    ¾ cup panko bread crumbs
    ½ TBS kosher salt
    Freshly cracked black pepper to taste
    Canola oil for frying

Place sliced tomatoes in a glass pie dish. Add a dash of your favorite hot sauce. Pour buttermilk over the tomatoes to cover. This can be done ahead of time and refrigerated for a few hours or overnight. The great thing about letting them set overnight is that the water separated from the solids of the buttermilk leaving a nice thick white layer of buttermilk solids.
In a medium bowl, mix remaining ingredients except the oil. Remove the tomato slices from the buttermilk and carefully press each into the bread crumb/flour mixture. Have oil pre-heated to medium in a large frying pan. Add the tomatoes to the oil as soon as the are coated. Fry the tomatoes until each side is golden brown, turning only once. Remove from oil and allow the oil to drain a bit before placing the fried tomatoes on a plate. Serve immediately.

I usually just use a little flour and cornmeal, but Mary’s addition of the Panko bread crumbs added a great texture.


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Needing something for lunch I made

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The picture doesn’t do it justice. Full of basil and lots of cheese – I used Asiago, Parmesean, and Pecorino/Romano – the flavors really shined through. The only think I did different was to make it crustless. Delicious. Writing this I want it NOW for lunch.


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I love a good simple but filling dish for lunch. I really don’t like sandwiches unless they are hot. I went back to Mary’s blog and found –

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her Asparagus Fritata. And I had just bought some asparagus so I figured it was an omen! Especially since she had JUST posted it. A fritatta is much like a quiche except it is finished under the broiler and is crustless. Perfect!!

    2 tablespoons butter
    ¼ cup diced shallots
    ½ teaspoon salt
    Few turns of black pepper
    1 pound thin spear asparagus spears cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths
    ½ baked potato, cubed
    4 large eggs = 6Tbl egg whites
    1 Tbsp minced fresh chives
    1 cup shredded Gruyere or Swiss cheese

Melt the butter in a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook until soft and translucent.
Add the asparagus cook for an additional 3 minutes. Add in the potatoes (mine were still hot so I added them later.) Save a some spears to top the frittata.
Mix the eggs, ¾ of the cheese, chives, salt and pepper and beat them until a little fluffy. Pour the egg mixture over the onions and asparagus in the skillet. Arrange the reserved asparagus spears on top. Cook until almost set. Pre-heat broiler.
Sprinkle the remaining cheese over the eggs broil until cheese is melted and browned, and the center is set. Carefully remove pan from oven and slide frittata onto a serving plate. Cut into wedges. Can be served warm or room temperature.

It was a yummy lunch. I had to stop myself from eating the whole thing. Happily, now I have leftovers!!

We wenyto a huge car show in Mississippi with 6 other people I took dessert. Mary’s Irish Cream Cupcakes caught my eye for two reasons. First – I love chocolate and second so does our cousin, Randy. Cuppys it is! These were so good and gone quickly. I did take pics but they are lost in cyberspace. You’ll just to trust me.

Thanks, Mary for some amazing recipes.

If you want to visit with the other members of Secret Recipe Club check out the link below. Lots of good stuff there!!

    If Quiche is one of your fave dishes, like it is mine, you need to visit this blog soon.
    If Dessert is one of your fave dishes, like it is mine, you need to visit this blog soon.
    If Ice Cream is one of your fave dishes, like it is mine, you need to visit this blog soon.

Cause if you do, you will find TONS of recipes in each of those categories, plus TONS more in chicken, pizza, pasta just to name a few of the types of recipes you will find on SARA’s Blog – Cooking with Sara. Sara was my ‘assignment’ this month for Secret Recipe Club. SRC is a monthly cooking group where we cook from different blogs each month. The blogs are new to us and a great way to find new fellow Foodies.

Sarah is in the Midwest and loves to cook. She says her Mom was her inspiration…

    “Much of my love for cooking comes from my Mom, who demonstrated (almost!) every day that an attractive and delicious meal on the table shows love for those around you. I learned much from watching her, and continue to be inspired by her ministry of hospitality.”

Sarah, she taught you well because there are WAY too many recipes to choose just one from, so I didn’t. But even choosing just a couple was very difficult.

I started out with Sara’s…

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I like quiche for lunch more than any other meal. It is light, quick, and you can often tailor a quiche to your own tastes, as I did Sara’s.

    1 medium onion, finely chopped
    1/2 pound medium cooked shrimp, cut in half
    2 tsp. olive oil
    3 cloves garlic, finely chopped or minced
    6 eggs
    1 cup half and half
    1/2 pound asparagus, washed and trimmed
    1 tsp. red pepper flakes
    1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan gruyere cheese
    1 1/2 Tbsp. bread crumbs

{I made a small sized quiche so I cut all the ingredients by about 1/3}

Cut 6 asparagus spears into equal length and blanch them in boiling water for about 2-3 minutes or until bright green. {I actually did this with all the asparagus.} Remove and set aside. Chop the remaining asparagus into bite sized pieces.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a pan and add the garlic and onion and saute for several minutes until the onion gets soft. Add the chopped asparagus and saute for 2-3 minutes or until it turns bright green. Add the shrimp and red pepper flakes and mix well to combine. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Whisk the eggs together with the half and half, and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grease a pie plate or quiche pan with non stick spray, then add the bread crumbs, tapping the pan to distribute them evenly across the bottom of the pan. {I would probably leave this out next time.}
Pour the asparagus and shrimp mixture into the prepared pan, and top with the egg mixture.
Sprinkle the cheese over the top and arrange the reserved asparagus on top.
Bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Let stand a few minutes before serving.

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This was as good as it sounds. The asparagus were soft but not mushy and the shrimp were nice a crisp. Delicious! Sprinkle the cheese over the top means it has a nice crust and you get more of a concentrated cheese flavor.

The Man of the House is big fan of ice cream. Summer! Winter! doesn’t matter. I have several kinds that I make all the time, but I am always looking for new ones. Like this one.

Coconut Macadamia Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

    1 8-oz. can cream of coconut
    2 cups half-and-half
    1/2 cup coconut, toasted
    1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts
    1/3 cup mini chocolate chips

Whisk the cream of coconut and half and half in a large measuring cup. Pour into ice cream freezer. Near the end of the cycle, add coconut, nuts and chocolate chips. Makes about 1 quart.

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I have made coconut ice cream before but not with crème de coconut. It adds a whole great depth of flavor. Definitely going into the ice cream rotation. And I am already thinking of subbing crushed pineapple for the chocolate chips, or maybe candied pecans for the macadamia. YUM!!!

Those are only two of TONS of recipes. Now if I can just find time to make her

…and at least 15 more I have pinned and waiting. Go. Visit. Sarah!

What did the other members of Secret Recipe Club

    make? Just click on the links below. Awesome food is waiting for you.

There are three facts you must know.

    1. Asparagus is GREEN.
    2. If something tastes good it tastes even better fried! (I am a Southern Girl, after all)
    3. Monday 3/17 is St Patrick’s Day

How do these three fit together? It’s all about this week’s theme for IHCC – Eating of the Green, the choice was easy.

    FRIED ASPARGUS!!! DUH!!

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I used Donna’s Tempura Batter to fry up some fresh asparagus. The batter didn’t stick very well but the frying increased the wonderfully nutty flavor.

    2 cups rice flour
    12 oz iced water
    I egg, beaten
    sea salt.

Sift the flour and salt together.
Add in the egg and water and whisk til the batter is smooth. It will be somewhat thin.
Dip the veggies into the batter and fry quickly until brown and crisp.
I found the batter ‘stuck’ better to the asparagus if I dusted it first with some extra rice flour.

Since I still had asparagus left over, and we are nearing the end of our 6months with Donna Hay I also made her asparagus and poached eggs with brown butter .

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    2 3/4 oz butter
    1 Tbl sage leaves
    1 lb fresh asparagus
    4 eggs
    Parmesan cheese shavings
    cracked black pepper

Heat butter and sage in a saucepan over low heat until it begins to bubble and the sage turns golden brown. Keep warm.
Trim asparagus ends and steam until tender. While asparagus is steaming poach the eggs in simmering water one at a time. Poach for 3-4 minutes or until whites are firm and yolks are soft.
Place asparagus on warmed serving plates. Remove eggs from water with a slotted spoon and place on top of asparagus. Pour over the browned butter, top with parmesan shavings and lots of cracked pepper. Serve immediately.
Serves 4.

This was so good for lunch. Light, but not quick, and delicious.

The recipe for the Tempura batter is in Donna’s new food fast on page 162 and 165.

The recipe for the asparagus and poached egg is in the new cook on page 17.

Check with the other IHCC members to see what kind of GREEN dish they came up with.

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