Asparagus


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!!

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    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.

Ok. I confess, this week’s REAL Donna Hay pick is supposed to be smoky roasted Gazpacho. I have tried gazpacho a couple of times. I have tried to like it a couple of times. Nope! Doesn’t work for me. Sorry, Chaya. It was Chaya’s pick this week. But I could not just do nothing, so I went back and did an extra that Kayte and Gaye did earlier.

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    Asparagus Tarts

These are extrememly easy to make and deliciously easy to eat. Simply place some trimmed asparagus on some puff pastry squares, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and bake. YEP!! THAT easy. I make asparagus like this all the time, but not in the crust. And I didn’t actually use puff pastry. I used some Croissant dough I had left from another recipe. Croissant dough is very similar to puff pastry to I decided it would be just right.

I only made four. I am glad it is still asparagus season so I can make some more!!!

You can find the recipe on page 174 of Donna’s classics BOOK 1
And if you want to see everyone elses Gazpacho visit:
Gaye
Kayte
Chaya

The recipe is on page 30 of Donna’s classics BOOK 1. I also found it HERE! But you really need to buy her cookbook for MORE wonderful recipes. And then you could cook along with us!!

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