Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘asparagus’

The Macaroni Marathon takes a quick step today with one of the easiest and healthy pasta dishes I know.  I made this last night and served it to a guest.  I was able to prep it before my company arrived and all I had to do when we were through with cocktails was to cook the pasta.

I had bought a large bag of asparagus at Costco and knew when I purchased it that one of the dishes I would make would be this favorite of mine.

INGREDIENTS:

2-3 TBS EV olive oil

Fresh asparagus  ( 1 bunch) cut into 2″ pieces

15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2-3 cloves of garlic, finely minced

3/4 cup of chicken or vegetable broth

3 TBS pine nuts (optional)

Coarse salt and ground pepper

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 lb linguine or penne

Grated Parmiagiano-Reggiano cheese

Reserve 1 cup of cooking liquid

DIRECTIONS:

Heat the olive oil in large braising pan over Medium heat.  Add garlic and asparagus to pan and lightly sauté.  Add cannellini beans  and pine nuts (if using) and cook another 4-5 minutes.  Add broth and simmer for a few minutes.  Add pepper flakes, season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta per directions to al dente. 

Add drained pasta to pan with asparagus and beans, add pasta water as needed and toss pasta to coat with a think sauce.  Sprinkle with cheese.

Read Full Post »

This Tasty Tidbits Tuesday I have two delicious Spring soup recipes I want to share with you.  The recipes are simple and easy, using only fresh ingredients and you can make them fairly quickly!  Lately in my house, we’ve been discussing eating only whole foods and trying to keep processed food out our diet.  For me, it’s because I truly do believe that your body doesn’t know how to process chemicals and the calories go into fat storage  and in general I think the more chemicals we ingest the more likely we are to get cancer or heart disease.  Anyway, I’m trying to follow the simple rules of not buying anything that has more than 3-5 ingredients and nothing that contains something I or any other cook would not have in their pantry.  

Now that I’ve given my nutrition lecture and believe me, I’m not one to really speak since I love Salsa and that’s good for you BUT I  like it on Multigrain chips and who am I kidding with the word Multigrain in the label!!

Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup

Spring Onion Soup   Prep time: 10 min. Total time: 60 min  Serves 4

Spring onions look like scallions but have a larger rounder bulb.  If unavailable use yellow onions.

2 TBS extra virgin olive oil plus more for drizzling

2 lbs spring onions, trimmed and thinly sliced

2 1/2 tsp coarse salt

1 1/4 cups low sodium chicken stock

2 cups of water

8 pieces of crisp flatbread, for serving

Heat oil in a large pot over medium high heat.  Add onions, and cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent but not brown, about 15 minutes.  Stir in salt, stock and water.  Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat, and let cool for 20 minutes.  Working in batches, purée in a blender, starting on low speed and gradually increasing to high, blending until soup is smooth.  Divide soup among 4 bowls, drizzle with olive oil, and serve with flatbread on the side. 

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living 

Spring Green Soup

Spring Green Soup

Spring Green Soup

This soup can be served straight from the blender, when it’s still frothy or well-chilled during warmer months.  Use sorrel as a garnish; its bright, lemony flavor is a wonderful accent.

1 cucumber, peeled

1/2 lb. pencil-thin asparagus, tough ends trimmed**

2 cups cold water

1/4 lb. spinach, rinsed well, tough stems removed

4 scallions, cut into 2-inch lengths

1 ripe avocado, pitted and peeled

1/4 cup fresh mint leaves plus more for garnish

2 TBS lemon juice

3/4 tsp coarse salt

freshly ground pepper

4-6 sorrel leaves for garnish (optional)

Halve the cucumber lengthwise; cut one half into eighths and the other into 1/4 inch dice.  Set aside.  Cut asparagus spears into  2 inch lengths.  Purée in a blender with 1/2 cup cold water.

Add spinach, scallions, cucumber eighths, and another 1/2 cup water.  Blend until thoroughly puréed.  Add avocado, mint leaves, and lemon juice; purée until smooth, adding the remaining water a little at a time until soup is desired consistency.  Add salt, and season with pepper.  Scrape down sides of blender with a rubber spatula and blend 5 seconds more.

Divide soup among four bowls;  garnish each with diced cucumber, and a mint spring (and sorrel if using).  Serve immediately.

** If you can’t find pencil thin asparagus, trim thicker stalks with a vegetable peeler or paring knife.

Recipe from Martha Stewart Living

Read Full Post »

So last night was in fact a food fest and we ate and drank according to tradition.  There were the required 4 cups of wine which in reality can be 4 sips and the Schmurra matzo, the bitter herbs, the Charoset, and the egg in salt water.  Briefly just in case I have some readers who up to this point have no clue as to what I’m talking about let me clarify.  There is a traditional Seder plate and on it there’s Charoset which is a mixture of apples, cinnamon, sugar and walnuts all processed to symbolize the mortar and brick the Jews made as slaves for the Pharaoh.  Maror is the bitter herbs (horseradish) which symbolizes the bitter life of the Israelites during the time of their enslavement, Zeroa, a shank bone as a reminder of the Paschal lamb offered as a Passover sacrifice. Bytzah, a hard-boiled egg symbolic of the loss to the two temples (and also ecumenically symbol of  Spring and new life) which was served in Chazeret , salt water which represents the tears of the people and also the bitterness.  So much for that lesson on some of the Seder meal.

I brought my asparagus dish and it was a big hit.  I’ve made this dish for many years for Easter dinner as a perfect Spring side dish with some symbolism of its own.  First of all, asparagus are associated with Spring and that’s when they are most  plentiful and fresh in the markets. The egg sauce symbolizes what the egg has always represented – new life, rebirth and isn’t that what Spring is all about?  There’s also mustard (the seed of which is a Christian symbol of belief and faith) and vinegar which can be interpreted to mean the bitterness and sorrow of the Jews before being freed.

Asparagus w/ Egg Sauce*

Asparagus w/ Egg Sauce*

** This photo depicts an egg sauce with mayonnaise in it which is why it appears white.  Your sauce will be yellow and only chopped egg whites will garnish the sauce. More like a Hollandaise with chopped egg whites on top.

Ingredients:

1 # fresh asparagus 

1 hard boiled egg

1 raw egg yolk

1/2 cup olive oil

1/2 tsp white pepper

1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard

1 1/2 TBS white vinegar

1 tsp salt

Cook the asparagus in boiling salted water to cover  till crisp tender and bright green – 5-7 minutes.  I used an asparagus steamer.  Immediately immerse in a large bowl of ice water with ice cubes to stop the cooking.  Drain on paper towels and refrigerate covered.

Mash the hard cooked egg yolk in small bowl with the raw yolk and mustard till smooth.  Gradually add the olive oil whisking till smooth.  Combine the vinegar, pepper and salt and add to oil mixture.  Whisk thoroughly.

To serve:  Lay asparagus on a platter, spoon the egg sauce over and garnish with chopped egg white.  It makes a lovely presentation and is served at room temperature so if you are bringing a side dish, this is perfect to travel.

Enhanced by Zemanta

Read Full Post »

Linguine with Spring Vegetables

Linguine with Spring Vegetables

Pasta is such a seasonal dish especially when you cook it with vegetables.  The winter sauces are hardy, rich and often made with root vegetables.  Come Spring and Summer, we lighten up the dishes with lighter sauces and lots of garden fresh vegetables.

Coarse salt and ground pepper

3/4 lb linguine

1 lb asparagus (trimmed) and cut into 1″ lengths

1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced

4 oz sugar snap peas (stem ends trimmed), halved

1/2 cup heavy cream

1 TBS buter cut into pieces

2 TBS fresh tarragon leaves

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes short of al dente; add asparagus, zucchini, and snap peas.  Cook until vegetabless are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes.  Reserve 1/2 to 1 cup of pasta water.  drain pasta mixture and set aside.

In the same pot, bring cream and butter to a simmer.  Toss in pasta mixture and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce (it will thicken as it stands).  Season with salt and pepper, and top with tarragon.

Recipe from Martha Stewart’s Every Day Food

Read Full Post »

I found this recipe in a magazine and thought it sounded delicious.  It was part of an article  by Donatella, renowned Italian chef in New York City.  Tonight I invited my friend, Dilara to dinner and this is what I served.

2 bunches of asparagus or broccoli

1 # gemelli or fusilli

1/2 cup pine nuts

1 lb. bulk Italian sausage

1 medium onion, chopped

1/3 cup whipping cream

1 Tsp Kosher salt

1 cup whole milk ricotta

1/3 cup Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

10 fresh basil leaves

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bring large pot of water to boil with 1 TBS salt

Cut top 2 inches from asparagus stalks.  Cook in boiling water for 3-4 minutes just until tender.  Transfer to colander and run under cold water to stop cooking.

Bring asparagus water back to boiling.  Add pasta and cook until just tender to bite. While pasta is cooking, spread pine nuts on baking sheet and bake until golden.

Meanwhile, in large skillet cook sausage and onion in until meat is browned and onion is tender.   Drain fat.  Add asparagus tips, all but 1 TBS pine nuts, the cream, and salt;  simmer two minutes.  When pasta is almost done, use a skimmer or long-handled strainer to transfer to skillet, reserve cooking water.  Increase heat to high; toss until pasta is well-coated, about 30 seconds.  Add Parmigiano and toss again.  Transfer to platter; top with reserved pine nuts and basil.  Serve with additional ricotta.  Makes 6 servings

Read Full Post »

Littleneck clams, small hard clams, species Me...

Little Neck Clams

You know I LOVE shopping at Wegman’s and one the best features of the store is that fact that often when you walk in, you see Gus over to the left and you know to make a bee line directly to him to see what he is cooking up!  Well the other day it was clams!  Gus was grilling some Little Neck clams and preparing them in a way that never occurred to me.  He handed me a warm little half clam shell with the clam and a tiny piece of steamed asparagus in it and it was drizzled with Wegman’s  Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

If you recall my very long Memorial Day blog, you know that I served these clams as an appetizer.  They were different, delicious and fairly easy to make.  Of course it is easier to do when you have the ingredients available the way Wegman’s does;  The clams were in a net bag, the asparagus were a gorgeous green, uniform in size and packaged in a micro-wavable pouch and Wegman’s carries a line of finishing butters which come in small round containers, slightly bigger than a disk of cream cheese you might get at a restaurant.

Steam or grill the clams till they open.

Steam your asparagus for a couple of minutes in the microwave.

Melt a container of Wegman’s Garlic Cheese Finishing Butter.

I put the clams on the stove to steam open.   I put the asparagus in the microwave and then put the finishing butter in the microwave to melt.

With slotted spoon, I removed the clams to a colander in the sink and proceed to remove one half of the shells.   I quickly sliced a few asparagus into tiny pieces and put one piece on each clam and then just drizzled the melted butter on each.  It was a great presentation to bring a platter of these to the table

Here’s what I learned – I should have used just the tips of the asparagus because it would have looked nicer and you can always serve the rest of the asparagus minus the tips as a side dish later.  The clams didn’t stay hot while I went through the process of opening and discarding one shell and then topping with asparagus and butter.  A good chef has every component prepped so he or she can just add the ingredients as needed.  I thought I had but I found myself cutting up asparagus or trimming pieces to make them smaller because the clams are tiny.  Next time I will put the finished clams on a baking sheet and warm them up a bit before putting them on the platter.  I was using my Melmac so that wasn’t going in the oven and was too large for the microwave.    To improvise if you can’t find finishing butter, for this dish, I believe melted butter with some garlic powder or garlic salt in it and maybe some finely chopped Italian parsley would be fine.

Read Full Post »

Red onions, lemon, and tarragon come together as a tangy topping for salmon and asparagus.

20 asparagus spears, trimmed to 6″ and halved lengthwise

2 large radishes, very thinly sliced

4 boneless, skinless salmon fillets 5 oz each, 1″ thick

coarse salt and pepper

1 small red onion thinly sliced

1/4 cup plus 1 TBS thinly sliced lemon zest strips, plus 1 TBS  plus 1 tsp fresh lemon juice

3 TBS fresh tarragon

1 TBS plus 1 tsp olive oil

Preheat oven 400 degrees.  Cut out four 12″ by 17″ sheets of parchment paper, fold each in half crosswise to form a crease

Divide asparagus and radishes evenly among parchment pieces, arranging mixture on 1 side of each crease.  Lay 1 salmon fillet on top of each pile. Season with salt and pepper.

Toss together onion, zest and juice, tarragon, 2 tsp oil, and 1/2 tsp salt; divide among salmon, spooning over tops.  Fold parchment over ingredients; make overlapping pleats to seal.

Bake on 2 baking sheets for 11-12 minutes for medium-rare, or 13 minutes for medium.  Unwrap; drizzle with remaining 2 tsp oil.

I’ve often avoided cooking fish because I think it’s either going to smell in the house or it will come out dry.  WELL, neither happens with this delicious dish.  Heart Healthy!

heart healthy fish, salmon, tarragon, lemon zest, red onion

Salmon is Heart Healthy

Read Full Post »