Tag Archives: asparagus

Easter Meal – Shellfish, Lamb Chops, Asparagus, Brusssels Sprouts and More

19 Apr

While it is not set in stone, this is what we will most likely be eating tomorrow for the big Easter meal. We’ll start with shellfish (and Sauvignon Blanc for the growns, flavored seltzer for the kid), then simple lamb and vegetables (probably some couscous with pesto made by the little man as an additional side). We are off to the farm today, so I’ve run out of time…Happy Easter to all, if I don’t see you before then….lamb

Light Mediterranean-style clams

 Crispy Beer-Battered Oysters

Fantastically crisp beer battered oysters

Fantastically crisp beer battered oysters

 

Simple and Perfect Roasted Baby Lamb Chops

Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

 

asparagus

Brussels Sprouts – Sauteed and Sassy

brussels sprouts

 Grilled Potato Disks (Like Fries, but grilled!)

Crispy on the outside, crunchy on the inside!

Crispy on the outside, crunchy on the inside!

 

 

 

 

Light Yet Hearty Springtime Spanish Tortilla

19 May

The pressure was on! We had an invite to a brunch that would bring together some of the contributors to the new Edible Long Island magazine (launching first edition digitally in July, and then print editions starting in September). And everyone was to bring something.

A brunch full of food writers focused on local, hand-crafted food is a brunch full of people who know their way around a kitchen and know good stuff when they taste it. So this called for a dish that features seasonal ingredients, preferably locally-sourced, and perhaps expressing something about who I am and where I come from.

Portable and tasty, tortillas are a terrific potluck solution

Portable and tasty, tortillas are a terrific potluck solution

Continue reading

Leek and Asparagus: A Delightful Accessory for Scrambled Eggs

9 Jan

Today we have a guest post – my friend Ashley who is my accomplice in many of the recipes you see on this blog (most of the beverage recipes, funnily enough).

Served separately from the eggs

Served separately from the eggs

Ashley is from Maryland, which from my perspective is the South, although I suppose you can argue Middle Atlantic (for those of you who are curious where Long Island falls in the regionality game, we are kinda Middle Atlantic and kinda New England, which makes it very challenging to decide which Growing Zone to follow when planting in my garden! I welcome input on that. But let me meander back to Ashley and the South).

Prosecco mimosas are the appropriate accompaniment

Prosecco mimosas are the appropriate accompaniment

Ashley, like so many good Southerners has a terrific fondness for ramps (wild leeks) and anything that resembles them. So when making a breakfast recently, she decided to use the leeks in my fridge to accessorize the scrambled eggs I had on tap. Ashley has an aversion to butter (yeah, crazy, right?) so she used about a tablespoon of olive oil. You could certainly substitute, but I liked them just like this.

Mixed up with the eggs

Mixed up with the eggs

From Ashley:

Here is a very rough write-up of the leek eggs that we ate (and we used to call wild leeks ramps, so there might be other recipes out there that call for ramps instead of leeks…):

Take 1/2 pound leeks (approx. 2 medium) and scrub them to death.  Remove the end green parts.  Because they are so incredibly difficult to clean, you may have to clean them, start to cut them, stop and clean them again.  But in the end the effort is well worth it.

 Trim the ends and cut into small pieces.  Saute until leeks are tender.  While it apparently tastes better with butter, you know my aversion to butter, so this is where I use olive oil.

 Open your friend’s refrigerator and pilfer her leftover roasted asparagus.  How can you let perfectly good asparagus go to waste!?  Cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces.  As the leeks are almost finished cooking, add the asparagus until it heats up.

 Scramble 2 eggs (per person).  Add the warmed leeks and asparagus.

 We didn’t do this, but when I’ve made it before, I’ve added a little parmesan/grana padano cheese and that makes it irresistible!  Thyme is also a nice spice to add to this.  And of course, there’s always sriracha for the bonus kick.

You may also like:

Pan-roasted Tomatoes and Prosecco Mimosas

Duck Egg Frittata with Asparagus (Hen’s Eggs Can Also be Used!)

18 May

We spend our Mother’s Days in the North Fork of Long Island (where I expect I’ll end up living one day), Abu, Padushi, Leandro, and me. We had another beautiful time this year, eating and drinking and having fun with friends.

The Long Island Sound was our back yard!

And of course on the way home we picked up some farm fresh goodness to keep savoring the visit.

In season now: ASPARAGUS, so we got some from Sang Lee. Really, when asparagus is in season in the North Fork, it is worth the drive just for that, even if you don’t have anyone to visit!

Sang Lee asparagus

And we stopped for eggs at Ty Llwyd. Our friend Dave had four duck eggs available too, and since my last experience with them was so memorable, I took them all.

Unwashed eggs don’t require refrigeration – for a few days anyway….and these were definitely unwashed! (I rinse before cracking though…)

With ingredients this good, you don’t have to do much. In fact, the more you do, the more you get in the way sometimes (a lesson I never seem to have learned, some might say, but they can just hush up, because it’s my blog post and I’ll fry if I want to). However, if you would like to try a Hollandaise, click to visit my fellow blogger Mad Dog’s step by step instructions!)

So I went for something pretty simple and non-fussy, but with style. This frittata shows off the flavors of Spring, looks rustic-wonderful, and doesn’t take much doing. Sort of the kind of thing that Leandro should learn to do when he’s old enough to bring me breakfast in bed for Mother’s Day!

Gorgeous!

Duck Egg Frittata

2 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

½ onion, chopped (red preferred)

Approximately 10 asparagus spears, trimmed, and sliced thin on the bias (may be precooked; I used leftover roasted, which were lovely)

4 duck eggs (6-8 hen’s eggs if you want to substitute!)

¼ Cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano or other good grating cheese

Pinch of salt

Heat oil in a small to medium ovenproof skillet at medium until loose and fragrant. Add onions, stir to coat and sauté for five minutes or more – until tender and browned. If using uncooked asparagus, add it one minute after the onions. If using cooked, add after the onions are tender and browned, then cook an additional minute. Either way, reserve a couple of the tops for garnish.

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl whisk eggs, cheese, and salt together to mix thoroughly. Pour eggs over vegetables in pan and mix thoroughly. Preheat the broiler to high/450°F.

Using a flexible spatula, turn the egg mixture away from the sides of the skillet as the egg solidifies, allowing the uncooked egg to run to the bottom of the pan. Continue this until egg mixture is well set – 5-10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the frittata (depth of skillet) and the stove top heat. Don’t rush this. You can stick a knife in the center to measure progress. 

Use the spatula to get under the frittata occasionally and make sure it doesn’t stick to the bottom. Shaking gently every so often can also help.

As the top is almost set, stick the reserved asparagus tops into the surface so they look pretty!

When egg is set, put the whole skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes (longer if you frittata is thick) until the top is browned.

Let sit for five minutes, then serve.

Asian-Inflected Steak and Asparagus Bites

6 Feb

I was looking for organic steak at Fairway Market in Plainview – one of my favorite places to shop for higher-end yet still reasonably-priced staples like Spanish chorizo, olive oils, tomato in cans, organic eggs — but instead found an irresistible deal:  U.S.D.A. prime hanger steak for $6.99 a pound. The prime designation means a higher quality of steak with loads of marbling (yes, fat) and virtuous me didn’t stand a chance against cheapskate bloodthirsty carnivorous me, so I bought 1.5 lbs and started to plan.

My friend Ashley was coming over, so I knew I’d have some support staff for child care AND prep, so I chose to do something I’ve been hankering after for weeks: Asian-flavored steak with asparagus. It is just slightly labor-intensive, but a show-stopper and I really should have given it to you earlier as a Super Bowl option, but better late than never.

We did half the meat that night, after the little guy was down (with a belly full of pizza and a promise of steak the next day). Must confess, once the pretty pictures were taken, we heaped all of the bites haphazardly on a plate, each grabbed a fork, and fell in like starving raptors from the Cretaceous Period.

The rest – two small steaks — I cooked whole the following evening on the broiler at our friend, Pam’s, without the asparagus (Yes, Leandro got his!). They were just as tasty, but almost 24 hours in the marinade did leave them almost too tender. The following recipe can be jiggled; use the greater amount of asparagus if you want to do all of the steak in wraps.

Anyhooo, I will be doing these the next time I entertain. I hope you will too!

Asian steak and asparagus bites

(factor in minimum marinating time of 30 minutes)

3 cloves garlic, minced fine

2 inch of ginger, peeled indifferently, and grated (about 1.5 packed Tbs; add more to taste)

2 tsp sesame oil

2 Tbs rice vinegar

4 Tbs soy sauce

1 – 1.5 lbs hanger steak (or other fairly thin, tender boneless cut)

1 – 2 lbs asparagus spears, washed, woody stems snapped off, and chopped into 2-inch pieces

Mix all ingredients except meat in a plastic freezer bag or a bowl. Add steak, coat thoroughly and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes and up to 24 hours.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Reserving marinade, slice marinated steak ACROSS THE GRAIN* into thin slices and then cut the slices into strips suitable for wrapping artfully or not so artfully around asparagus spears. Lay steak and asparagus bites onto an oven rack with a catch dish underneath. Pour remaining marinade over and salt to taste. Cook for 5 minutes on each side (7-8 for well done) and serve.

*Cutting steaks across the grain cuts through the fibers that hold the muscles together and shortens them so the meat can barely hold together, thus, tenderness. This is especially necessary with my favorite muscle-y cuts: skirt steak (churrasco), flank steak and hanger steak. When raw, you will see natural lines across the meat. Slice against them (at a 90° angle, if I have understood Kenji at Food Lab (Serious Eats) correctly).

Asparagus, Tomato and Hummus Wraps

25 Jul

I love asparagus and red pepper and especially love them with hummus. The following recipe is an easy wrap that tastes delicious and feels virtuous going down. It is easy to assemble, quite portable and looks very nice when you serve it (or eat it with shameless gusto in front of your admiring colleagues at the lunch table). The slightly charred tomatoes really give it a depth of flavor you will like, especially in this season when they are abundant and ultra-sweet.

But first: a confession.

Ready to roll

It has been a very, very long time since I made my own hummus.

When I lived in Puerto Rico and there wasn’t any readily available, I made my very own, very yummy hummus using (expensive) tahini from the health food store. Today, I have to admit, I buy the Sabra stuff from Costco in big tubs; it’s my In Case of Emergency Break Glass (or plastic seal) lifesaver for surprise guests or a snack for watching the news before dinner with my folks. One day I will go back to making my own (and of course I will tell you all about it and look forward to any recipes you would like to share), but for right now, Sabra is a shortcut I feel pretty comfortable with.

In this recipe, I give the ingredients to make four or five wraps, but you may want to double the vegetables so that you can have some as an appetizer and make the wraps for next day fare.

 

Wrap and go

Asparagus Wraps

1/2 lb asparagus spears, bottoms snapped off and set aside for stock/another day

1 red pepper, top and seeds removed, sliced long

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil, plus a smear of olive oil for the skillet (only if sauteing the peppers_

½ pint small tomatoes (grape, cherry, Sungold), halved

1-2 Tbs hummus per wrap (about 1 Cup)

4-5 wrappers of your choice (tortillas for example)

If roasting the asparagus and red pepper, preheat oven to 400°F. Coat vegetables in olive oil and roast 20 minutes, turning once or twice, until fairly tender. You may also simmer the asparagus for five minutes in water instead and follow skillet instructions for red pepper.

In a skillet, warm each wrap until soft and pliable and keep warm on a plate, covered (may also be heated in microwave, following package instructions).

In the same skillet, warm a bit of olive oil on medium to cook the red pepper (if you haven’t already roasted it) until tender. Add the roasted vegetables and the raw tomato halves to the skillet and cook on high about three minutes, until the tomatoes look slightly charred and softened, shaking the pan frequently. Go back to the wraps, smear one half of each with a tablespoon or two of hummus. On the half that has the hummus, place a few vegetables. Roll up and serve, or pack up for an excellent work lunch or beach snack.

 

Roasted Asparagus and Sweet Red Pepper Dipping Sauce

23 Apr
Simple and beautiful spring fare

I have been experimenting with my new fancy Breville toaster oven and it’s been a life-changer! I don’t always want to turn the regular oven on for a small dish, so this new tabletop oven has widened my options.

One example is asparagus, coming soon into season and one of my favorite things to eat. It roasts very nicely and quickly with no fuss. I just eat the spears with my fingers right off the plate.
I decided to jazz it up (and in the process use up some sweet roasted red pepper that I had taking up space in the fridge). This took a jiffy and was a bright relish-y sort of taste (note that I used SWEET roasted red pepper). I later whipped some up as a dressing for black bean burgers (recipe to come in the next couple of days).
 

Zesty Dipping Sauce for Roasted Asparagus

3 Tbs mayonnaise

1-2 Tbs plain nonfat yogurt

2 Tbs roasted sweet red pepper, diced fine

Mix all ingredients together. Serve as a dipping sauce or as relish for black bean burgers or other sandwich fillings.

 

Roasted Asparagus

1 lb asparagus (the fat kind preferred), washed and bottoms snapped off (reserve to make broth for another recipe)

1 Tbs extra virgin olive oil

Sea salt or coarse kosher salt for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350°. Rub olive oil over asparagus spears and place on rimmed baking sheet, foil or, ideally, broiler-type rack. Cook for 15 minutes, sprinkle with salt and serve with dipping sauce.

It’s Winter and I Am Roasting (vegetables)

17 Jan

Moving and angst are natural partners. We’ve been moving upstairs and emptying a storage unit  this week — as in:

“I didn’t even know I still (or ever) had this!”

“Where the f**k did all this crap come from?”

“I have never seen a dust mouse that big. Ever.”

“Oh God, how am I going to get all this done before the semester starts on Tuesday?”

“Leandro please don’t run in front of: the moving truck/hand truck/person trying to move a big box up the stairs/me. ”

“Sweet Jesus, the moving guy just looked in that long-unopened drawer before I  had a chance to remove the scandalous lingerie that I had completely (and sadly) forgotten about.”

…etc. etc. etc….

and add to that an aching, frigging back from said moving, ’cause the ten years that have passed since I last saw that stuff haven’t made me any younger. Heavy sigh.

So, our diet has not been virtuous – Chef Boyardee was on the menu more than once; reheated pizza, Cheese-Its, leftover Halloween chocolate, cheese and crackers, cheese and crackers, salty popcorn, basically a diet of shut-up food all in front of the T.V. and endless repeats of a Scooby-Doo video — where can I buy those Scooby Snacks, anyway, cause Lord knows they would fit right in with my current mode…

But within the frenzy, I have made some good food happen too, thanks to some of the very recipes you have seen here. The spinach sauce for pasta served for a couple of meals, especially because I used farfalle (bow ties), which Leandro really really digs (and which grip a lot of spinach).

I made the basic seasoned ground beef in a big batch, a third of which went into an impromptu pasta dinner for friends on Friday, another third into chili con carne with rice Saturday, then on tortilla chips with cheese today (Sunday) and another third is frozen for next week and the new semester.

I also roasted vegetables.  This is something I do all winter (it’s too damn hot in the summer to turn on the oven) and then eat the vegetables all week in different formats. This is just one version (as I continue to crave asparagus in the off-season). It really is best with the linguine, but I was pressed for time and my son is not yet interested in this kind of dish, so I just served it to myself (several days running) with leftover rice and a dash of soy sauce. I also gave a plastic tublet to Leandro’s godmother (a teacher) for her take-to-school lunch.

Roasted Vegetable Linguine

2 packets (about 20 oz) baby bella mushrooms, washed and sliced

1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 ½ inch pieces

1 bunch broccoli crowns, separated into florets

1 red pepper, cored, seeded and chopped

1 medium onion, chopped

5 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tbs olive oil

½ tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup cherry tomatoes

½ cup white wine

½ lb linguine

½ cup torn fresh basil leaves or 1 Tbs dry oregano

Preheat oven to 450°F.

Toss all vegetables (except tomatoes and herbs but including red pepper flakes!) and oil into a large roasting pan and roast for 20 minutes, stirring once or twice.

Get your pasta water on the boil and prepare pasta according to package directions. Save ½ cup pasta water when draining.

Add tomatoes to pan and roast 10 more minutes. Transfer vegetables to a bowl. Set pan on two burners on medium heat and add wine, stirring and scraping off burnt bits. Simmer for 3 minutes or so, until wine has cooked off then add reserved pasta water.

Return pasta to pot, add vegetables and liquid from pan. Warm to serving temperature and add herbs.

Snap and Go Asparagus (fast and fun)

4 Jan

I dared to go off-season this week and it was well worth it.

When Spring rolls around I am on the phone to the local North Fork farms to find out exactly when they will be harvesting asparagus. There is nothing, nothing, nothing  better than the sweet, buttery green-ness of fresh-from-the-earth asparagus. I eat it for the six weeks of May and June that it is harvested (nevermind the odd smell of bathroom visits! More on that later), raw, steamed, sauteed, roasted…however.

However, it is not Spring right now! Asparagus may be in season somewhere, but not in my grow Zone.

Usually I stick to our local seasons, but the bunches of asparagus at one of the local grocery stores just looked so good that I got a craving that virtue could not curb. Hey, it’s been a tough holiday and virtue doesn’t seem to be handing out its own rewards at the moment. What the imported stuff lacked in farm-to-table zest, I made up for in garlic.

At $3.99 a lb, you might not find asparagus cheap (especially when you snap a third off the bottom!). Asparagus (which is a member of the lily family) tends to be expensive because it has to be harvested by hand. But it is certainly easy to prepare, and made for a speedy yet chic snack for me and my friend Jamie on a recent playdate (during which the kids ate – you guessed it – pizza). 

Please note, you can look very sexy nibbling asparagus if you let yourself go a bit. For that purpose, and for this barely-cooked recipe, I recommend the skinny asparagus over the fat.

Snap and Go Garlic Asparagus

1 bunch fresh asparagus (about a pound), rinsed and trimmed*

1-2 Tbs olive oil

2-3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped, not too fine

salt for sprinkling

Heat the oil in a large skillet at medium heat until fragrant. Toss in the garlic, turn to coat, sauté an additional minute, then toss in the asparagus. Stir to coat then allow to cook for 5-10 minutes (the fresher and thinner the shorter the cook time). You can test them after five minutes by trying a stalk. You just want it tender and warm, but not mushy. Sprinkle with salt, and serve.

*Prepping the asparagus is fast and easy, but requires some explaining:

Rinse the stalks. Take one stalk and snap off from the bottom; there will be a natural break (sometimes it’s as far as a third of the way up!), which will scare you because you have spent money on this asparagus, dadgummit! The point, however, is that the stalks can be woody (especially if it is not-so-fresh) and the woodiness creeps up from the bottom. Some people use that first stalk as a measure and use a knife to trim all the rest. I snap each one. Discard the bottoms. Dry the remaining stalks.

(I often use this as a side dish to eggs or steak, but will also just do a pan and eat it with my fingers, as Jamie and I did on Sunday. Delicious and dead simple).

Fun science notes: Now, about the asparagus and urine connection. Apparently some people detect a sulfurous odor in their pee after eating asparagus (I definitely do) and others don’t. The jury is still out on whether that is because some people don’t produce the odor or they just can’t smell the difference. According to some of my online searches, Ben Franklin found the odor disagreeable, while Marcel Proust thought it rather fragrant (so the differences of olfactory opinion between the Yanks and the Franks go waaaaay back and waaaaay deep). At any rate, the odiferous asparagus mystery raises interesting questions about human digestion and sense of smell in general and may hold the key to greater understanding of what the nose knows and why.

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