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Posts Tagged ‘asparagus’

 

This is a fabulous dish to start off the New Year in the kitchen.  Lemon juice and zest add a tangy brightness to the fresh asparagus and sweet shrimp.  There’s a little bit of grated parmesan cheese and butter for creamy richness. And, the white wine and minced onion yield a great depth of flavor.  The recipe, from the venerated archives of Gourmet Magazine, gives a good reminder: “the rice should be creamy and tender but still al dente — like the consistency of a thick soup.”   Solid guidance that led to a perfect outcome this time around!

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Salmon

 Fresh dill. Lemon. Garlic. White wine.  A simple but delicious combination for a quick and easy weeknight poached salmon.

While the steelhead filets marinated a bit (they don’t take long to poach), I devoted my energy to swirling arborio rice over medium heat, infusing the grains with lemon, garlic, onion and chicken stock.  Then I added blanched asparagus, diced yellow bell pepper, lemon zest and a dash of freshly grated parmesean cheese.

 Risotto

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VeggiePlate

A sign outside Westville East (173 Avenue A at 11th Street) lists the daily specials — fresh vegetables.  But the sign doesn’t do justice to the unique and tasty preparations of vegetables that make this and its sister restaurant New York City hot spots. The menu features select cuts of grilled fish and meats over organic mixed greens as well as dressed-up burgers, sandwiches and hot dogs. The best part about Westville, however, is its list of “Market” sides (or choose four and make a full plate!):

Lemon Grilled Asparagus; Beets with Goat cheese or Walnuts; Sauteed Broccoli with Roasted Peppers; Cauliflower Dijonaisse; Brussel Sprouts with Honey Dijon; Soy Glazed Green Beans; Green Beans with Almonds; Asian Style Bok Choy; Green Peas with Shallots and Bacon; Sweet Potato Fries; Sauteed Tofu with Spinach and Roasted Peppers; Roasted Zucchini with Cherry Tomatoes and Mozzarella cheese; Broccoli Rabe with Cherry Tomatoes and Parmesan; Hearts of Palm Salad; Classic Collard Greens; Sauteed Kale with Shallots and White Wine; Artichoke Hearts with Parmesan; Mushrooms with Leeks and Herbs; Sauteed Cherry Tomatoes; Garlic Or Pesto Mashed Potatoes; Snowpeas with Sesame and Ginger; Grilled Fennel with Parmesan; Fried Plantains with Cotija cheese; Cucumber Dill Salad!!

Veggies

In the picture at top, our market plate boasts grilled fennel with parmesan, lemon grilled asparagus, broccoli with garlic and roasted red peppers, and fresh peas with shallots and bacon.  None of the veggies were overcooked and all were incredibly fresh — including the homemade roasted red peppers. Westville is very reasonably priced and with it’s open windows/doors which spill out onto the street, it offers great ambiance for a date.

Westville

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risotto

The short grains of Italian Arborio rice in risotto are like tiny sponges of flavor: their high starch content keeps them firm and creamy as they absorb chicken stock, white wine, olive oil, and essence of garlic and herbs. Most risottos are relatively simple, though time-intensive, and feature one or two ingredients, like asparagus in this case. The flavor-packed rice and cheese stand for themselves.

asparrisotto

Williams-Sonoma Asparagus Risotto
5 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 ¼ lb asparagus cut into 1 ½ inch segments
¾ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cups Arborio rice
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh tarragon
salt/pepper
(1) Bring stock to a boil. Blanch asparagus for 2 minutes. Use slotted spoon, transfer to bowl and set aside.
(2) Add wine to stock and bring to a simmer. Keep hot.
(3) In large saucepan over med-low heat, warm olive oil and sauté onion about 8 mins. Add rice and stir until white spots appear, about 1 minute. Add a ladleful of liquid, simmer, and cook stirring constantly until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding liquid, a ladleful at a time, until rice is tender and mixture is creamy, about 20-25 minutes.
(4) Add asparagus, parmesan, and chopped tarragon. Season with salt/pepper. Add lemon zest on top.

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For his birthday dinner, Nate requested my parmesan-herb crusted chicken tenders, twice-baked potatoes, tomato pie, and a blueberry-peach pie for dessert. It was a delicious meal! The biggest hits were the two homemade pies.  For each, Nate made his mother’s pie crust and I made the fillings, using the fresh South Carolina tomatoes and peaches we picked up at the farmers’ market.

Sweet SC peaches from Marion Square market in Charleston

Sweet SC peaches from Marion Square market in Charleston

Here are some highlights of the dinner for your viewing pleasure (recipes to follow):

Parmesan-herb crusted chicken tenders

Parmesan-herb crusted chicken tenders

Twice-baked potatoes, ala Anne

Twice-baked potatoes, ala Anne

Asparagus and zucchini crudi, compliments of Maggie

Asparagus and zucchini crudi, compliments of Maggie

Tomato and blueberry-peach pies

Tomato and blueberry-peach pies

Special thanks to Melinda for the tomato pie recipe and modifications. It was so good!  (Mel recommends only a 1/2 cup of mayo and 4-5 large seeded tomatoes, instead of what’s listed.)

The blueberry-peach pie recipe was courtesy of the July 2007 Parade Magazine, via Epicurious.

Thanks to Maggie for the awesome asparagus-zucchini salad from the Giada De Laurentiis cookbook. What a refreshing, crisp, tangy accompaniment to this rich meal!

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Nate and I just returned from a glorious spring weekend in South Carolina. One of the highlights of the trip was our Sunday night meal with his brother and sister-in-law in Charleston.

Maggie is an Italian by blood – and boy does it show in the way she cooks. Her pan-fried chicken breasts wrapped in prosciutto and fresh sage topped a bed of homemade asparagus risotto, blended with fresh garlic and onion, white wine, chicken stock, parmesan cheese and a touch of butter.

The beautiful salad of spinach, sliced strawberries, goat cheese and candied pecans was tossed in a light balsamic vinaigrette.

And for dessert… a famous Simmons Seafood homemade key lime pie from Isle of Palms on the coast.

I am now inspired to wrap everything in prosciutto. That was an incredible flavor!  Look for more of that to come. 

Up next: Tuesday night tilapia fish tacos with homemade cilantro-lime salsa and a radish slaw.

-Devin

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