When I lived in Europe, Asparagus was a revered vegetable. The season started in May and ended around Mid-Summer’s day. In England they treasured nice meaty stalks (but not woody), in Germany the white asparagus was on every menu and in France and Italy the small dainty little asparagus showed up salads, pastas and any where else it could be incorporated.
Did you know that Asparagus is a modified stem? They have thin flat ‘leaves’ called cladophylls; it’s modification allows it to photosynthesize. Other edible plants that have modified stems are potatoes, onions, ginger, strawberries (the stolen is a modified stem), peas (the shoots are the modified part), apple trees (fruit spur) and succulent plants like cacti (Source). So basically when you eat asparagus you’re eating a stick?
Stick or stem, it’s still one of the sexiest vegetables you could prepare and photograph. How do I love to photograph asparagus! I need to start growing my own, if nothing else to just photograph. But the planting time has passed and it takes 2 to 3 years before you can start to harvest them. Now that I have a plot in the new community garden I just might do that.
For this asparagus dish I combined my love of lemon with my new found love, dill (I have 3 plants started in my garden, yay). The asparagus is cooked until just tender crisp then it’s bathed in lemon juice and chopped dill. A healthy portion of toasted panko crumbs with lemon zest is served atop them. Once you cut into them you are delighted with all the wondrous textures and flavors!
It’s a quick and simple side which would be a perfect accompaniment to my Flounder Olympia (more panko and dill). Asparagus season here is pretty much done, hopefully there is still some in your area. Personally I’d be happy to fly to Europe for last of their season!
In a large non- stick frying pan melt butter over medium heat. Add the panko and lemon zest. Cook, stirring occasionally until panko is toasted and a light golden brown. Remove to a plate and set aside.
In the same pan, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add asparagus, salt and pepper. Saute until asparagus is tender crisp, about 4 to 8 minutes (depending on size). Finish with dill and lemon juice, cook and toss to coat for another 30 seconds to a minute.
To serve place asparagus on a platter or individual plate and top with lemon panko crumbs.
I need to apologize to my blogger friends for being a bit absent and not leaving comments regularly. This whole community garden, and my camera club and Boy Scouts and work…well, I just don’t have a moment these days. I am thinking of you all and I’ll be back stalking you in no time.
Here’s the latest at our garden: The city donated 6 dump truck loads full of wood chips. Really, 6 dump truck loads full! I don’t even know what amount that is but it’s a heck of a lot to spread around! The first couple days I didn’t have a lot of volunteers to help. I was spending all day out there (as evidenced by my sunburns), making headway but it seemed like the piles grew overnight every day.
The volunteers that I did have were super troopers though. And then on Wednesday when I went out I saw a ton of people there and my heart swelled. We didn’t get it all done but nearly so. We also planted 4 trees but have 15 more to plant. We currently have a children’s garden and we are planning a berry garden also. Big, big plans for the gardens!
The first load delivered to the middle of the gardens
Far end of the garden
Another truck load at the far end
Wednesday I drove up to see this, hooray! (This is the other end of the garden)
To me this epitomizes community gardening. One of my Master Gardener volunteers attending a baby, rake in hand and directing where chips need to go.
Last month I taught a cooking class, it was Mexican cooking. Not your standard heavy Tex-Mex loaded with cheese, sauces and sour cream. Our theme was Mexi-light, Mexi-easy, Mexi-delicious. We started off with the basics, salsa and guacamole and then things got better.
Taking my cues from Baja and the Yucatan region we started off with a mock shrimp ceviche, this citrus salad, Baja style fish tacos, Arroz Verde con Piña, finished off with a tres leches and fresh berry trifle. Of course I came up with a cocktail fitting the menu.
As always my Winter Sals-tice (and I don’t mean that arrogantly) gets rave reviews. The students were surprised at how delicious a simple guacamole of avocado, salt and lime juice was. My opinion alert! I think our Mexican chain restaurants put way too much in their version, hiding the beautiful flavor of the avocado. I have to say that the surprise dish of the evening was this Arroz Verde con Piña. Continue reading “Arroz Verde con Piña (Green Rice with Pineapple)” »
Remember when I received all that dill in my Bountiful Basket? I posted these deviled ham eggs and then I posted the Flounder Olympia (which you need to try if you haven’t yet). But that’s not all baby! I made this fantabulous quiche also. Actually I made quite a bit more but didn’t photograph it all.
After dosing ourselves in dill I realized that I never really used it enough in my cooking. Fresh dill was always paired with fish, or some creamy dressing/dip and used, of course, for pickling. Honestly I use more dried dill than fresh. But that wrong has been righted by the insane amount that I received and a new found appreciation and love for fresh dill.
I so enjoyed the flavor that I will be planting at least 4 dill plants, maybe more? I’m also planting a bunch of Boston pickling cucumbers. A good pair is a good pair.
Speaking of a good pair; asparagus and dill! Why have I never done this before? I know asparagus gets pickled (they’ve been known to show up in my Bloody Mary’s and Caesar’s); logically this thought should have occurred to me before! I am mourning the missed opportunities I could have had with dill and asparagus… Continue reading “Asparagus Dill Quiche with a Potato Crust” »
It may be winter outside but it’s spring in my house. My garden last summer was a total disaster, I obviously had no clue what I was doing and while I was gone for 5 months, let’s just say that McGyver and Thing 2 didn’t give it much attention. I yielded a couple of radishes and some Thai red peppers, that’s it.
One these days I’m going to count how many recipes that I’ve posted that have lemon as an ingredient? Perhaps I shouldn’t or I might find out exactly how freakishly obsessed I am with all things lemony. Sometimes is just better not to know.
I’m finally posting my the recipe that I eluded to in one of my photography school update posts. I was in my Food & Product class at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, taught by Joe Lavine from when our assignment was to shoot pasta. Personally I can’t just set-up food for a photograph shoot and then throw it away (my girth is also proof of that). Plus, this was a perfect opportunity for me to do school work and get a little blog work done also. Don’t ya just love it when you get a two fer one?
I thought long and hard about what type of pasta to make, honestly my first thought was of asparagus and not the lemon. Asparagus are just so darn pretty, it’s hard not to have a good photo if you have asparagus. Naturally lemon and asparagus go together. What totally solidified it for me was a trip to the mall and a visit to the Oil and Vinegar store.
A month ago when I said I was participating in the next month’s Secret Recipe Club, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I simply looked at the date and thought, hmm, right during break, perfect. Posting is right during break, but picking out the recipe and cooking and photographing meant that it fell right into the hot and heavy portion of my final days of part 1 of photography school. Will I not be able to have the time????
I felt especially lucky to be assigned Julie’s Eats and Treats, because Julie’s site is full of mouth watering recipes…with plenty of simple ones; which meant that I could easily stake out a little time to whip up one of her dishes, whew. A little about Julie: Julie started blogging because so many people asked for her recipes. And she’s super fortunate to have a hubby, Jason who helps out, Julie also has an adorable baby girl Miss Kenzie Marie (a name that I adore, especially the middle name because my daughter Leah shares the same middle name.
Back to the recipe…I often thought of orzo as the risotto pasta. It’s so similar in shape that I think people often get this pasta and rice confused, normally I would say that is the only they have in common. But when I stumbled across this recipe, it definitely had risotto (of which I am especially fond of) written all over it. I kept the heart of the recipe although I did make several modifications. Continue reading “Romano Orzo-SRC reveal” »
I think this is my first food post since Secret Recipe Club last month! I’m delighted to say that this recipe is a great one to come back with. If you haven’t heard me talk about SRC before, it’s a bloggers club that works a lot like a Secret Santa. Each member is assigned another blog and cooks one recipe from that blog…secretly. Then on our group’s assigned day, we reveal the recipe that we chose.
Today is Group C’s reveal day and my assignment was….drum roll please….Cooking with Stilettos…applause…. Can you believe Aly had me last month? She Shepherdized my Shepherd’s Stuffed Green Peppers. So I’m super pleased to have her this month! Anywho, every blog I’ve ever been assigned too, I always find more than one recipe that I’d like to prepare, but I find myself making (more often then not) an old family recipe. Family recipes are not only tried and true and hold the test of time, they’re also laden with memories, making the dish all that more special.
So, once again it’s no surprise that I was drawn to Aly’s Bampa’s (her grandpa’s) recipes. I giggled when I read the recipe for Bampa’s Corn Fritters, one of the ingredients was Bisquick and not too long ago I posted on how Bisquick was a staple in our house while growing up. I felt a connection with Bampa right away and knew that this was the recipe for me.
Our Daring Cooks challenge this month was more like a scene from “Chopped”, contestants, open your baskets.
In basket 1 you have Parsnips, Eggplant, and Cauliflower
In basket 2 you have Balsamic Vinegar, Goat cheese and chipotle peppers
In basket 3 you have maple syrup, instant coffee, and bananas
The challenge was to pick one ingredient from each list and create a main meal from them. The challenge this month is hosted by David and Karen from Twenty-Fingered Cooking. The purpose behind this challenge was NOT to have a “Chopped” challenge, it was to inspire original…truly original recipes from a set of ingredients.
I must warn you, if you like gnocchi that is purchased from the store do not ever make your own, ever, ever make your own. I’m ruined, my life was easier when I picked up a pack of refrigerated gnocchi dropped in boiling water and almost like magic, it was ready.
Why did I think I want to make my own? I can’t recall what was my motivation, I think it’s because I bought some truffle cheese and felt that a luxurious ingredient such as truffles deserved to be served with the finest of ingredients. The problem is, I was right. I will never buy a package of gnocchi in the store again, I probably won’t ever order it in a restaurant again for fear that it will not be the perfect pillows of potatoes that I made.
Today is the first day of Spring and I’m posting a pumpkin and applesauce recipe. First of all, those of you who know me, know that I’m either so far behind that I’m ahead or it’s my little rebel coming out, or in this case, the circumstances just led me to what would normally be suited to a recipe more suited to Fall.
While the rest of the world is starting to enjoy the promise of better weather, balmy days, lush green foliage and beautiful flowers I have this…