Tag Archives: asparagus

Egg and Asparagus Open Faced Sandwiches on Rye

“Oh!” they proclaim.  Eggs and asparagus are the absolute taste of Spring.  Eggs and asparagus are the quinsential coupling of the season.  “They” said so, but I had not indulged.

In my world, eggs and asparagus belong in completely different groups.  Asparagus is in the Prepare it Simply and Resist Any Urge to Add Anything That is Clearly Not Necessary group.  Also in this group are steaks, salmon, peaches, and blueberries.  Eggs are in the Salsa Always Served With This category.  Other items in this group are tortilla chips, and, well, eggs.

In the end, the rye bread did add a bit of oomf to this dish.  The eggs are basically deviled eggs without the relish with the egg whites minced ever so sweetly.  Its a nice little Sunday brunch kind of thing while totally breaking all of my previous rules.

Egg and Asparagus Open Faced Sandwiches on Rye

Ingredients:

  • 7 eggs, boiled and peeled
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 2 TBS parsley finely chopped (optional)
  • salt and pepper
  • 8 slices thinly sliced rye or other dark bread, cut in half
  • 8 spears asparagus

Directions:

  1. Halve eggs, put the yolks in a bowl and mince the whites.  To the yolks, add the mayonnaise and dijon mustard.  Mix, and fold in whites, then parsely if desired.  Salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Set a pot of salted water to boil while slicing the asparagus spears into thirds.  Place asparagus into boiling water for 2 minutes, drain in a collander and rinse with cold water until cool.  If the spears are thick, cut each in half lengthwise.
  3. Lightly toast the bread under the broiler, then top with egg mixture and top with 2 pieces of asparagus.

Notes:

  • These are oh, so pretty.
  • The main idea here is the egg spread, asparagus, and bread.  Play with the parts as you see fit.
  • Rye bread was one of those foods I just decided that I didn’t like as a kid.  Then one day I took a personal field trip to Berkeley’s Gourmet Ghetto and had a pastrami on rye at Saul‘s.  Life changing!
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Asparagus Asparagus and Sausage Strata

Have you ever had one of those work projects where the forward motion of the whole train depended on a few key people?  You have great admiration and respect for these people who keep everything at work running smoothly, and the whole mojo of the project depends on their first impression?  The kind of project where these key people have to rearrange their own work days, find people to cover for them, be ready to learn more skills than mere mortals can absorb in a day, and then return to their regular posts to find out what catastrophes graced their work places that still need to be cleaned up?  That kind of project.  At times like this, food is essential.  Nothing says “you are appreciated” first thing in the morning than a home made breakfast.

The food was perfect, the project well received, and everyone is on board with the project.  “nuff said.

Breakfast stratas are perfect for sharing because they can be made the night before, feed a crowd, and are simply delicious!  This recipe is a combination created from a standby recipe I have used for years that frankly has way too much cheese, a few ideas found in other blogs, and the fact that I had lots and lots of asparagus on hand.  As has been my bent lately, I upped the veggies and cut way back on the grated cheese.  This is also the first time I tried ricotta in a strata.  I had some in the fridge and it just sounded good.  The ricotta turned out to be a perfect match with the asparagus as it didn’t overpower the flavor.  When a dish has double asparagus in its name, you darned well better be able to taste asparagus!

Asparagus and onions from Tachella Family Farm, strawberries on the side from “The Stand on the Corner” as we call it around here.

Asparagus Asparagus and Sausage Strata

serves 10 to 12

Ingredients:

8 large eggs

2 1/2 cups skim milk

1 pint skim ricotta cheese

5 green onions, sliced including greens

1 cup Swiss cheese, grated

1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated

1 pound spicy Italian sausage, casings removed

2 bunches asparagus, ends trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces

1 1/2 loaf french bread, sliced

salt and pepper to taste

1/4 tsp Paprika

Directions:

1.  Coat 13 x 9 inch pan with spray oil.

2.  Cook sausages in a skillet, breaking up the meat into small bits.  When the sausage is almost cooked through, move it to one side of the skillet and add the asparagus. Continue cooking until the sausage is cooked through and the asparagus just starts to brown.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, ricotta, green onions, salt and pepper.

4.  Prepare the strata by layering half of the bread slices in the baking pan, sprinkle with half of the sausage and asparagus mixture, and then with half of the Swiss and Parmesan cheeses.  Repeat layering.  Slowly pour egg mixture over the layers, making sure all of the bread is moistened.  Stop adding liquid when it reaches 1/2 inch below the rim of the pan.  Cover with foil and refrigerate overnight.

5.  Bake the next morning uncovered for one hour in a 350 degree oven.  Remove from oven and sprinkle with Paprika.

Notes:

  • The amount of bread and liquid needed will depend on the type of pan you use.  A metal baking pan seems to hold an endless amount of food, while the stoneware pans hold less.  You may not need all of the liquid called for in the recipe.
  • This is a very flexible recipe!  Swapping out the asparagus for another veggie and the sausage for another meat works well.
  • I bought my cheese from my favorite supermarket … the one with the huge variety of vegetables, peppers, and lentils.  It wasn’t that flavorful.  Next time I’ll be sure to get at least some decent cheese.

Lightish Asparagus Artichoke Dip

Ahhhh, the brew pub.  Sitting at the bar, eating snacks, enjoying the local brews, and catching up with my main man.  No dressing up in scratchy, uncomfortable outfits.  No making small talk with people you chose not to keep up with anyways.  No trying to update your dancing style from the 80’s while dancing to an 80’s cover band.  This weekend included such an evening, and while eating some deliciously cheesy artichoke dip, I figured that just perhaps make this my own with local asparagus and some calorie pinching techniques.

First of all, the asparagus in this needed to be clearly present.  Due to its more delicate flavor, the requisite jalapenos in most any cheesy in in our abode were 86’d.  While at Tachella Family Farm, I spotted a bag of small artichokes on the clearance table due to their browning tips.  Bingo … more fresh produce.  After all of the bother in preparation of the lovely thistles in the first trial, I’ll use frozen or canned artichoke hearts next time, as reflected in the actual recipe below.  The asparagus does need to be fresh.  It is all about the asparagus!  I used a Cooking Light recipe for Cheesy Spinach-Artichoke dip as the basis for this plan, then just winged it from there. Enjoy!

Lightish Asparagus Artichoke Dip

based on the Cheesy Spinach-Artichoke Dip recipe in Cooking Light, October 2004

Ingredients:

1 can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and coarsely chopped

1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller (a food processor works well)

8 oz package cream cheese at room temperature

8 oz light sour cream

1/2 cup fat free mayonnaise

1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup low fat milk

3 green onions including greens, finely sliced

1 TBS red wine vinegar

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2.  Quickly cook the asparagus pieces in a pot of boiling water for 1 minute.  Rinse with cold water in a strainer to stop the cooking process then drain thoroughly to remove excess water.

3.  In a mixer, blend the cream cheese, sour cream, and mayonnaise on medium speed until smooth.  Add the Parmesan cheese, milk, green onions, red wine vinegar, black pepper and mix on low speed until blended.  Add the asparagus and artichokes and mix until just combined.

4.  Place artichoke mixture in a 1 to 1 1/2 quart baking dish, sprinkle with the cayenne pepper, and bake at 375 until cheese is melted and the mixture bubbles around the edges, about 30 t0 40 minutes.  Serve with pita or tortilla chips.

Notes:

  • I served this with tortilla chips, but it would be better with pita chips.  To make your own pita chips, cut each pita into two rounds, then into wedges.  (I like sixths)  Lay them on a baking sheet, rough side up.  Lightly spray with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, and bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.  Delicious!
  • Why is is that every three years or so I have to relearn that cooking my own artichoke hearts is a big pain?  Also, it just breaks my heart to toss all of those lovely leaves in the process.
  • This is pretty vegetably, but I’m sure the you could even up the proportion of asparagus if you’d like.
  • This was the first time I’ve included red wine vinegar in a cheesy dip.  It was good!  But, I’m a gal who doesn’t shy away from vinegars, either.

Asparagus and Shiitake Quiche

Oh, the asparagus has arrived!  This time of year brings with it great anticipation.  Asparagus harvested up the road means that the corn and tomatoes are being planted and that the strawberry fields will soon be ready for U-pick and then the whole summer will open up with an abundance of fresh local fare.  The asparagus always leads the band.

This lovely little dish is based on the asparagus and moral quiche recipe in the April edition of Sunset magazine based on what was hanging out in the pantry.

Asparagus and Shiitake Quiche

Ingredients:

2 frozen pie shells

4 eggs

1 pkg fresh shiitake mushrooms

3 cups thick asparagus spears, cut in 2 inch pieces, stalks split in half

3 cups half and half

1 1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp white pepper

1 tsp Coleman’s mustard

1 1/2 cups provolone cheese, grated

2 green onions, finely chopped, optional

Directions:

1.  Prepare pie shells according to directions.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees while allowing the pie shells to cool.

2.  Blanch asparagus in a saucepan of boiling water until barely tender-crisp, about 45 seconds.  Drain in a colander and gently rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process.  Drain and pat dry.

3.  Remove stem tips from mushrooms and slice into 1/4 inch pieces.

4.  In a bowl, whisk eggs half and half, salt, white pepper, and mustard to blend.  Sprinkle provolone and green onions in the prepared crusts, dividing evenly.  Arrange the asparagus and mushrooms in the pie crusts, again dividing evenly.  Pour egg mixture over vegetables.

5.  Bake quiche on bottom rack until filing no longer jiggles when gently shaken, 40 to 45 minutes.  Let cool in pan on a rack at least 30 minutes.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes:

  • The original recipe called for gruyere cheese which would be delicious in the recipe.  Provolone made it into mine due to the “clean the pantry” concept.
  • Yes, you can make your own crust.  And if you do, feel free to gloat.
  • Honestly, I’ve never had a morel mushroom, but they just didn’t look yummy in the magazine photograph.  And, I’d just picked up some fresh shiitakes at the store just because they were fresh and not dried.  Choose your favorite mushroom and use it without worry.
  • The recipe was expanded for two quiches simply because there were two pie shells in the package and an ample supply of ingredients were in the pantry.  It can be halved for just one quiche easily.

Smoked Salmon, Asparagus, and Goat Cheese Rolls

salmon roll displayIts time to be honest here. Creativity? Oh, I do wish! Planning ahead? Likewise. Allowing enough time before a big event to drop back and punt? In another life. But this time, for once, it all worked just like in my dream!

So, it was time for our Gourmet Dinner Club to get together for food, wine and a bunch o’ fun. C and J planned this cooking party thing (very brave, VERY brave!) and each of the other couples brought appetizers to nibble on while we cooked. Let’s see here, Spring … asparagus, salmon … something light. Found a perfect recipe for these little lovelies here.

But then it got dangerous …. I got thinking. Presentation. This is not my forte, and I know that Ron and Sandi who got us started on this whole adventure really pride themselves on presentation with their group. After a bit of tossing ideas around in my mind, I came up with the perfect plan: put the salmon rolls on a fake plant! Haha! Actually, these little tasty morsels look just like little spring buds just as I anticipated. Although I’m not sure which was funnier: the look on my husband’s face when I finished putting it together and declaring it perfect, or when I walked through the door at our friend’s house and they realized the potted plant I was carrying WAS the appetizer! Regardless how you present it, this is a great little make ahead winner!

Ingredients:

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped shallot
  • 3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), room temperature
  • 1/4 cup trimmed peeled chopped raw asparagus
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced lemon peel
  • 6 ounces thinly sliced smoked salmon

Directions:

Heat olive oil in heavy small skillet over medium heat. Add chopped shallot and sauté until beginning to soften, about 1 minute. Transfer to medium bowl. Mix in goat cheese, chopped asparagus, and lemon peel. Season filling to taste with salt and pepper.

Place sheet of plastic wrap on work surface. Using 1/5 of salmon, form 6×3-inch rectangle atop plastic, overlapping salmon slightly. Spoon 1/5 of filling along 1 long side of rectangle, leaving 1/2-inch plain border. Using plastic as aid, roll up salmon into tight log. Repeat with remaining salmon and filling, forming 4 more logs. Refrigerate logs until firm, about 2 hours or overnight.

Remove plastic from logs. Cut each log crosswise into 4 pieces.

Notes:

  • The asparagus was FRESH from TK’s Best farm stand. (Just had to brag on that!)
  • Don’t know if this is in the new Trader Joe’s cook book, but it should be. 😉
  • The fake plant was picked up at Home Goods. That store is my total addiction.
  • The stakes holding the salmon rolls are just those little metal stakes covered with floral tape from Michaels. I just twisted them around a screwdriver to create an itty bitty ledge so the salmon rolls wouldn’t slowly slide down the stakes during the evening.

Gremelli and Asparagus

pasta asparagus saladOh asparagus! How do I love thee? Let me count the ways!

Last night, after a quickie pasta dinner, there was still lots of pasta left over. Time to raid the vegetable bin and make a pasta salad! And what was waiting there for me, just begging to be included in the fun? Asparagus. While many dishes that I toss together with bits of this and that from the pantry are better than prison food, I wouldn’t specifically shop for the ingredients to make that dish again. Not so this time. This my friends, is a winner. Part of the love in this dish (yes, that’s a shout out to Carla from Top Chef!) is the pasta itself. Costco carries this brand in 6 packs, and it is truly worth keeping some on hand.Garofalo pasta

The red wine vinegar gives this a nice tang while the Parmesan rounds out the flavors. Enjoy.

No notes were taken during the creation of this dish, so bear with me on the directions.

Ingredients:

half pack of gemelli or similar pasta, cooked al dente

1 bunch asparagus, but into 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 tsp dried basil

3 TBS flat leaf parsley, minced

1 TBS olive oil, plus 1 tsp for cooking

1 TBS red wine vinegar

1/2 tsp kosher salt

ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat a skillet to medium high, add oil and asparagus. Quickly cook so that the outsides of the asparagus begin to darken but the insides are still crisp, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

2. In a small mixing bowl, whisk together oil, vinegar, basil, parsley, salt and pepper. Add pasta and mix gently. Add Parmesan and asparagus to pasta and combine.