Monday, April 08, 2019

A TASTE OF SPRING! 'ASPARAGUS LEEK SOUP'

"You know, when you get your first asparagus, or your first acorn squash, or your first really good tomato of the season, those are the moments that define the cook's year. I get more excited by that than anything else."  ~ Mario Batali





ASPARAGUS LEEK SOUP

(a simple taste of spring)
~ Slightly adapted from The Silver Palate Cookbook

2 pounds sliced asparagus (reserve tips) 
1 large bunch of leeks
1 large sweet onion
2 quarts organic chicken broth
1 stick sweet butter (love Kerrygold Butter)
coarse salt 
freshly ground black pepper
sour cream
chives
  1. Melt butter in large stockpot. Simmer clean chopped leeks until soft, about 20 minutes, stirring often.
  2. Add chicken stock, and sliced aspargus. Bring to boil.
  3. Reduce heat and simmer 30 minutes or until asparagus is very soft.
  4. Puree stock in blender, a batch at a time. Return to pot and add tips, simmering until tender but still firm, about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  5. Ladle in bowl and top with dollap of sour cream and chopped chives.
(In the spring, the soup looks lovely toppped with chive blossoms. When the weather is warm, serve the soup cold blended with 1/2 cup of heavy cream.)
(8 servings)





“The Earl of Woolsey was indeed completely nude. He did not seem particularly perturbed by this fact, but Miss Tarabotti felt the sudden need to close her eyes tight and think about asparagus or something equally mundane.” 

― Gail Carriger, Soulless

Thursday, January 31, 2019

FAREWELL JANUARY ~ ROASTED RED and YELLOW BEET, WALNUT, BABY ARUGULA SALAD


" ... January, in ermine cloak,
With crystal spangles dight,
He gave the queen an Ivy crown,
And her fair shoulders white
He happ'd with tender ferny Moss
From many a cosy nook,
Or from the rounded boulders warm
Beside the frozen brook."

~James Rigg, "The Progress of Queen Flora, Adorned by a Hundred Wild Flowers," Wild Flower Lyrics and Other Poems, 1897




ROASTED RED and YELLOW BEET, WALNUT, BABY ARUGULA SALAD

~ the smell of roasting beets in winter is divine as is the taste of this yummy salad. (Adapted compliments of Allrecipes.com)

3  large red beets
3  large yellow beets
extra-virgin olive oil
5  oz. Baby Arugula
2/3  cup toasted walnuts
1/2  cup balsamic vinegar
3  Tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
Pink Himalayan Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper to taste

  • Preheat oven to 4OOº .
  • Scrub beets well and rub with olive oil. Place each beet in piece of aluminum foil and place on roasting pan. Roast about 60 minutes or until fork pierce tender. Unwrap and let rest 10 minutes or cool enough to handle. Peel each beet and set aside. 
  • Slice beets into bite size wedges. Combine sliced beets with baby arugula and walnuts (reserve a few for garnish). Whisk balsamic vinegar and olive oil until blended. Pour over beets and toss. Season with Pink Himalayan salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.    





(Roasted Beet Walnut Arugula Salad)





Sunday, January 06, 2019

'SIMPLE ONE PLATE JANUARY SUPPER' ~ ROASTED SWEET POTATO 'ZOODLES' with RED PEARS, BABY SPINACH and SAUTÉED PECANS

"The shortest day has passed, and whatever nastiness of weather we may look forward to in January and February, at least we notice that the days are getting longer.  Minute by minute they lengthen out.  It takes some weeks before we become aware of the change.  It is imperceptible even as the growth of a child, as you watch it day by day, until the moment comes when with a start of delighted surprise we realize that we can stay out of doors in a twilight lasting for another quarter of a precious hour."
~ Vita Sackville-West


(January Sunset - Hubbard Lake, MI)



ROASTED SWEET POTATO 'ZOODLES' with RED PEARS, BABY SPINACH and SAUTÉED PECANS
(adapted from Wegans)

4  medium spiraled sweet potatoes
3-4  Red diced pears
8  oz. baby spinach
1  cup pecans or walnuts 
1/4  cup extra virgin olive oil or more if needed to lightly coat
2-3  Tbsp. unsalted butter
2  Tbsp. chopped chives or dried to taste
zest of 1-2 lemons
freshly ground black pepper and coarse salt to taste


  • Preheat oven to 400º. Spray 2 baking sheets with coating.
  • Toss sweet potatoes and pears in large bowl. Season with salt & pepper. Spread evenly over the 2 baking sheets. Roast 20 minutes. Remove from oven, add spinach to each pan, and turn all well before returning to oven. Continue roasting another 20 minutes or until lightly browned and tender. 
  • While potatoes are roasting, melt butter in pan and add pecans. Sauté pecans until lightly brown and fragrant. Set aside. 
  • Add roasted potatoes, pears, and spinach to large bowl. Add chives, lemon zest (reserve some for garnish), and pecans (reserve some for garnish). Adjust seasonings and serve.