All Hail Asparagus, Spring is just around the corner

  So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid, it’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes

 

GRILLED ASPARAGUS MOCK CRAB TART (dairy)

1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb mock crab shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and mock crab on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

Modified from about.com

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND LOX BITES (dairy)

1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 lb lox, cut into bite size pieces

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, lox and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

ASPARAGUS POPOVERS (dairy)

1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

ASPARAGUS TID BITS (dairy)

1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.

ASPARAGUS STRATA (dairy)

You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ

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ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT (dairy)

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS (pareve)

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.

ASPARAGUS AND PASTA SALAD (dairy)

6 to 8 slices Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon, cut into bite size pieces

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 onion, finely chopped

1 red pepper chopped

1/2 lb mushrooms, sliced

1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into 1/2-inch-thick slices

1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup of the water used in cooking

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan for serving

Cook the Morning Star Farm ® fake bacon in 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and but keep the oil in the pan. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and 1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for 2 more minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the cooked Morning Star Farm® fake bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to 8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

Winter Squash Is In Season/ kosher recipes, information and suggestions

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We’ve all heard the terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” It’s kinda weird because you can get summer squashes all winter; and “winter squashes pretty much a summer long. Confusing yes, but easily explainable.

The terms “summer squash” and “winter squash” date back to a time when the seasonal vegetables were only available when they “were in season”  a “get em while you can” kind of mentality existed.  Right now the newest crop of winter squashes are just rolling into the marketplace so now is the time to get them, cook them and eat them

Winter squash are more typically round in shape and have a harder, non eatable skin that needs to be peeled. Winter (or fall harvested squash for those of a more literal mind) take longer to mature than summer squash and can be stored for months longer than the summer squashes as long as they are in a cool dry area. You can bake, mash, steamed or simmer you winter squashes and , for the  most part they can replace sweet potatoes in almost any recipe. Cooked winter squash is great as an ingredient in cakes, pies, soups and casseroles.

You should look for squash that feels heavy than you think it should for its size. The skin should have a deep color and it shouldn’t have any obvious bruises or blemishes. While there are bunches and bunches of squash the one that are the most popular (and available) are the acorn, turban, butternut, Buttercup, Carnival, Hubbard and Spaghetti.

These squashes are usually covered with wax and or dirt so you need to make sure you wash and really scrub the outside of the squash. Then cut off stem, cut in half, remove the seeds and stringy fibers and cook. It’s usually easier to peel squash after its been cooked.

 

 

1 pound peeled squash = 1 cup cooked, mashed
2-1/2 pounds whole squash = 2-3/4 to 3 cups pureed
1 pound trimmed squash = 2 cups cooked pieces
1 pound squash = 2 to 3 servings
12 ounces frozen squash = 1-1/2 cups

1 medium-size (15 to 20 pounds) pumpkin = 5 to 7 quarts of cooked pumpkin.

 

Bake: Cut the squash in half, poke the skin with a fork then place the squash cut side down on a cookie sheet with sides and bake at 350 for 40 to 50 minutes until soft.

 

Boil or Steam: Cut the squash into halves, quarters or rings and cook it, with water or broth for 20 to 25 minutes or until the squash is tender. You can mash cooked squash just like potatoes.

 

You can also microwave your squash. Place cut pieces of squash in a shallow glass dish with a little water. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and microwave 5 or 6 minutes and test it for softness. Continue checking for doneness at 2 or 3 minute intervals until the squash is soft. You can microwave a whole squash. Just poke the skin all over with a fork (so steam can escape). Microwave the squash 7 to 10 minutes and check to see how soft the squash is.

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CHEESE AND BEEF STUFFED TURBAN SQUASH

 

1 large or 2 small turban squash

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound ground beef

1 small onion chopped

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 green pepper, diced small

1 teaspoon thyme

1 teaspoon fennel

1 egg; slightly beaten

1 cup sour cream

1 cup parmesan cheese; shredded

1 cup fresh parsley; chopped

 

Preheat oven to 375. Cutting at a downward angle remove the crown of turban. Scrape out seeds and membrane. Sprinkle the inside cavity with salt. Place the squash in a 9X13 baking pan with the cut opening facing down. Add about 1 inch of water. Bake 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of the squash. It should be softening but not mushy. Remove the squash from the oven turn the cut side up and leave it in the pan.

 

In a bowl, combine egg, sour cream and parmesan and mix to combine and set aside. In skillet, combine the beef, onion, garlic, green pepper, thyme and fennel. Cook, stirring frequently for 7 or 8 until the meat is fully cooked. Drain any excess grease and add the parsley. Add the egg mixture to meat mixture and mix to combine. Spoon the beef mixture into the squash. Place the stuffed squash back in the oven and bake for 50-60 minutes until filling is set. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before serving. To serve, cut into slices. Serves 4.

 

Modified from about.com

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CASABLANCA ACORN SQUASH

 

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons butter, melted

4 large acorn squash, halved and seeded

1/4 cup olive oil

1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic

5 to 6 stalks celery, chopped

4 carrots, shredded

2 cups garbanzo beans, drained

1 cup raisins

3 tablespoons cumin

salt and pepper to taste

2 (14 ounce) cans chicken broth

2 cups uncooked couscous

 

Preheat oven to 350. Arrange squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet. Bake 30 minutes, or until tender. Combine the sugar and butter in a sauce pan and heat until they are combined. Baste the inside of the squash with the mixture and set it aside. In a skillet heat the oil and add the garlic, celery, and carrots, and saute 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garbanzo beans, raisins, cumin, salt, and pepper, and continue to cooking (stirring often) until vegetables are crisp tender. Add the chicken broth and couscous. Cover and turn off heat. Allow the mixture to sit, covered for 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the cover, mix to combine and then fill the squash and serve. Serves 8.

 

My files, source unknown

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CHICKEN AND BUTTERNUT SQUASH STEW POT

 

1 tablespoon olive oil

3 to 4 lbs skinless bone-in chicken breast

1 large onion, chopped

2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 cup chopped celery

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes

1 cup chicken broth

2/3 cup white wine

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon sage

1 teaspoon thyme

4 cups peeled, cubed butternut squash

1 cup frozen peas

1 lb sliced mushrooms

 

Heat oil in a large (4 1/2 quart Dutch oven. Add chicken and brown about 15 to 20 minutes. Remove chicken and add onion, garlic and celery to pan; sauté on medium heat about 5 minutes. Return chicken to the pan with vegetables. Add tomatoes, chicken broth, wine, salt, pepper, sage, thyme and bring to a boil; simmer about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Add the squash, bring to boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional or until squash is tender. Stir in the peas and cook for 2 more minutes. Serves 6 to 8

 

Submitted by Ronnie Marchoni Chicago IL

 

ORANGE SEAFOOD STUFFED BUTTERNUT SQUASH

 

1 (2 pound) butternut squash

Cooking spray

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon pepper

½ cup fresh orange juice, divided

2 tablespoons butter

3 green onions, thinly sliced

 

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons orange zest

¼ cup whipping cream

1 1b. mock/fake crab

Garnish: orange slices and additional thinly sliced green onions

 

Preheat oven to 375.Cut the butternut squash lengthwise into 4 wedges. Remove the seeds and place the squash in a 9 X 12 baking dish that has been coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle the squash with ½ teaspoon each salt and pepper.

Pour 1/4 cup orange juice over the squash. Cover and bake for 40 minutes and until fork tender.

During the last 15 minutes of baking, prepare the Orange mock crab.

Arrange the butternut squash wedges on a serving platter, cut side up.In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the green onions and garlic and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining ¼ cup orange juice, orange zest, and remaining salt and pepper. Simmer for 6-7 minutes. Add the heavy cream and mock crab and simmer an additional 3 minutes.Divide and spoon the mock crab mix on top of the roasted butternut squash. Garnish the platter with orange slices and sprinkle all with additional thinly sliced green onions. Serves 4

Modified from CookEatShare.com

 

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WINTER SQUASH AND APPLE SOUP

Roasting squash and apples intensifies their flavors. Use a mixture of winter squash varieties for a more complex taste.

3 pounds winter squash such as butternut, kabocha, acorn or delicata, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 8 cups)

2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1-inch chunks

1 yellow onion, chopped

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 teaspoon ground ginger

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

Preheat oven to 400. Line two rimmed baking sheets or shallow roasting pans with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss squash, apples, onion, garlic and ginger until mixed well. Spread mixture on baking sheets in a single layer. Roast squash mixture until tender and beginning to brown, about 45 to 50 minutes, rotating pans between oven racks halfway through baking. Remove from oven and purée squash mixture with broth and 1 cup water in a blender or food processor in 2 batches until smooth. Transfer to a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Add more water if needed to thin soup to desired consistency. Serve garnished with parsley.

 

Modified from wholefoods.com

Edamame: A food that sounds like a video game/Recipes/Kosher

There was a time not so long ago that the soy bean was an ingredient that was relegated to the soy sauce or tofu ingredient in our recipes. Some enterprising chef realized that the soy bean in its fresh form AKA Edamame is a fabulous food in its own natural form and voila, a new food craze is off and running.

Edamame (or the soy bean) is a green vegetable that is jam packed full of protein and is a wonderful source for calcium, magnesium, riboflavin, thiamin, foliate and iron. These large beans come in a pod that looks like a pea pod only bigger. They are harvested early in their growth cycle so the beans are still tender and green and haven’t matured. The best way to use the edamame is to parboiled in lightly salted water, rinse, drain and cool and then remove the bean from the pod. When shopping for your fresh edamame choose pods that are plump, firm and don’t have any spots of blemishes. You can keep the fresh edamame in the refrigerator for 4 or 5 days and the frozen stuff is just fine for 3 or 4 months in the freezer.

Edamame is so very versatile it’s great eaten all by itself or in salads, soups, stir fry, pasta dishes and any kind of casseroles into which you want to add some protein.  Fresh edamame is usually found at natural and higher end produce sections or at farmers markets. You can find the frozen stuff in most grocery freezer sections.

At this point you know as much as I do about our friend the edamame and you’re ready to try some of the new recipes you’ll find below.

 

HOISIN BEEF AND EDAMAME (meat)

 

1/2 lb cooked and drained whole wheat spaghetti

3 tablespoons lime juice

3 tablespoons hoisin sauce

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon cornstarch

2 teaspoons sesame oil

8 ounces  steak, trimmed, thinly sliced

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 10-ounce package frozen shelled edamame, (about 2 cups), thawed

1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

 

In a bowl combine the lime juice, hoisin sauce, garlic and cornstarch. Whisk to combine.

Heat the oil in a large skillet and add the steak and cook, stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes or until it’s done the way you like it. Immediately transfer the steak to a plate using tongs but don’t clean the pan. Add bell pepper to in the pan and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add edamame and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add ginger and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the sauce mixture and beef to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened, about 1 minute. Remove from the heat. Add the noodles; toss to coat. Top with cilantro. Serves 4

 

Tip: Freezing the flank steak for about 20 minutes will make it easier to thinly slice.

 

From EatingWell January/February 2007

GARLIC EDAMAME (pareve)

 

1/2 cup water

6 cloves garlic, minced

2 (16 ounce) packages frozen edamame

1/2 cup teriyaki or soy sauce

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/4 cup rice vinegar

2 tablespoons sesame oil

1/4 cup sesame seeds

1/2 to 1 lb angel hair pasta, cooked, drained

 

Bring the water and garlic to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in the edamame, and cook until the edamame are hot, and the liquid has nearly evaporated, about 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and stir in the teriyaki sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, and sesame oil. Stir constantly until the sauce has thickened and coats the edamame, about 4 minutes. Add the cooked pasta, toss to combine and place the mixture in a serving bowl. Sprinkle the top with sesame seeds and serve. Serves 6 as a side dish 4 as a main course.

 

Submitted by Jore Cardase Chicago IL

EDAMAME AND CORN SALAD (pareve)

 

1 package (16 ounces) frozen shelled edamame

2 cups fresh or frozen corn, cooked and kernels

1 medium red bell pepper, coarsely chopped

4 green onions, thinly sliced

4 stalks celery, chopped

1/2 cup chopped black olives

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

 

dressing:

 

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon sugar

1 small tomato, seeded and diced small

1 tablespoon oregano

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon black pepper

 

 

Bring 2 quarts water to boil in medium saucepan on high heat. Add edamame; cook 4 minutes or until edamame are bright green and tender. Drain and rinse under cold water. For the dressing, combine all the ingredients in a large salad bowl and whisk to combine.  Add edamame, corn, red bell pepper, green onions, celery, black olives and parsley; toss well to coat. Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour to blend flavors. Toss before serving.

 

Modified by me from mccormick.com

 

SESAME CHICKEN EDAMAME (meat)

 

2 teaspoons oil

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger

2 teaspoons minced peeled fresh lemongrass

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 cups frozen shelled edamame (green soybeans)

2 cups frozen bell pepper stir-fry mix

2 tablespoons  soy sauce

1 tablespoon mirin (sweet rice wine)

1 teaspoon dark sesame oil

1/4 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 cup (1/4-inch) diagonally cut green onions

2 teaspoons dark sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon salt

 

Heat the oil in a large skillet. Add the ginger, lemongrass, and garlic and sauté 1 minute or just until mixture begins to brown. Add the chicken and cook for about 2 minutes. Add edamame and stir-fry mix and cook, stirring constantly for about 3 minutes.  In a bowl combine the soy sauce, mirin, sesame oil, and cornstarch and whisk to combine. Add the liquid to the pan and cook for about 1 minute. Remove the pan from the heat and add the onions, sesame seeds, and salt. Mix to combine and serve over rice or noodles. Serves 6 to 8

 

Modified from Cooking Light MARCH 2006

 

PEPPERS EDAMAME AND QUINOA (pareve)

 

1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa

1 cup shelled frozen edamame, thawed

1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped

1 red onion, chopped

3 stalks of celery, chopped

2/3 cup golden raisins

8 to 12 bib lettuce leaves

1/4 cup rice wine vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 tablespoon honey

1 clove of garlic, minced

 

In a bowl combine the garlic, honey, soy sauce and vinegar. Whisk to combine and set aside.  In a large bowl combine the quinoa, edamame, pepper, raisins and onion and mix to combine.  Pour the sauce over the quinoa and mix together until the mixture is completely coated. To serve, place 2 leaves on each serving plate and spoon some of the quinoa mixture into it. Serves 4 to 6.

 

From my files, source unknown

 

Carrots Carrots and More Carrots/ Kosher and Non Kosher Recipes

 

So when is a vegetable bargain REALLY bargain? Answer:  when it’s a 10lb bag of carrots and you only need 2 lbs but the 10lb bag is only $1 more than the 2 lb bag. No brainer, you buy it. The truth is I always have carrots in the fridge; sometimes I just have more of them than other times. It’s when I have too many that I really great creative.

Carrots are my go to veggie that are always in season and ALWAYS cheaper than any other vegetable out there. They are delicious cooked or fresh you can always count on them to lend color and fiber to any meal. I call them the Robin Williams of vegetables, all over the place when it comes to their color. They come in the ever popular international orange we all recognize, white, or red, yellow purple (yes purple) and everything in between. On top of being the “pretty” vegetable  carrots  are a terrific source of  potassium, manganese, foliate, phosphorus, magnesium and vitamins A, B1, B3, B6, C and K.

So now I’ve got all these carrots and I can only needed 2lbs for the soup I was making (recipe below). I figured that since I had them I might as well use them all at once because, well, I just cook that way. I went digging for carrot recipes that were just a little bit different and easy to make and delicious enough that even the most finicky of non veggie lovers would like.

 

PARSNIPS AND CARROTS WITH HONEY AND ROSEMARY

 

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 pound carrots (about 4 large), peeled, cut into bite sized pieces

1 pound large parsnips, peeled, cut into bite sized pieces

kosher salt

1 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary

1 1/2 tablespoons honey

 

Heat the oil in large skillet. Add the carrots, sugar and parsnips and saute until the carrot and parsnips start to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Add the butter, rosemary, and honey and mix to coat. Cook, stirring constantly until the vegetables are coated about 3 to 4 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Serves 8

 

Modified Bon Appétit November 2007 submitted by Molly Stevens

CARROT SLAW

 

6 medium carrots, shredded.
1/2 a head of green cabbage, shredded

1/2 a head of red cabbage, shredded.

4 green onions, sliced thin
2/3 cup of mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 tablespoon of orange juice

Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 to 1 cup salted sunflower seeds

 

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, green onions, cabbage. Toss to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, sugar and orange juice. Whisk to combine and season with salt and pepper to taste. Pour the dressing over the carrot mixture and toss to coat. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour but up to 6 hours before serving. Sprinkle the sunflower seeds over the top and serve. Serves 10 to 12

CARROT SOUP WITH A KICK

 

8 carrots, chopped
5 celery stalks, cut into pieces

1 parsnip, peeled, cut into small pieces
1 tablespoon of minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped

4 cups of water
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 to 2 teaspoons of curry powder
sea salt to taste

 

In a large soup pot heat the olive oil. Add the garlic, celery and onion for 4 to 5 minutes, stirring constantly until they are soft. Add the curry powder and mix to coat. Add the carrots, parsnip, and water. Cover and cook for 30 to 40 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Cool slightly and then process in a food processor or blender until the soup is smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Heat and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

 

Submitted by Antonia Marcarni Chicago IL

CARROT & PASTA

 

3 large carrots, washed, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil

A little kosher salt

1 onion, sliced into rounds

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 teaspoons minced garlic, finely diced

2 teaspoons dried oregano

1 teaspoon dried basil

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup your favorite spaghetti sauce

1 lb cooked pasta, spaghetti, rottini or bow tie

 

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the carrots into long thing strips. Place the strips in a bowl and sprinkle them with a little kosher salt. Place the oil in the bottom of a large pan and add the carrots and onions and stir frequently.  When the carrots start to soften, add the garlic and pepper and continue cooking for about 5 minutes but make sure not to let the veggies get too browned. Add the spaghetti sauce, oregano and basil and then continue to simmer until the everything is hot. Serve the sauce over the cooked pasta. Serves 6 to 8.

 

My file source unknown

 

APRICOT CARROTS WITH WILD RICE PILAF

 

3 cups baby carrots or regular carrots, peeled and cut into bite sized pieces

1 large onion, chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons oil

12 to 16 dried apricots, chopped

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon cloves

1/8 teaspoon allspice

salt and pepper, to taste

1/4 cup water

2 cups wild rice/white rice mix cooked

 

Steam carrots until tender, but still firm and then set them aside. In a skillet saute the onions and garlic in the oil until the onions are soft. Add the ginger, cloves, sugar, and apricots and cook for 2 or 3 minutes until the sugar has been incorporated. Add the water and whisk until the sauce thickens slightly.  Add the carrots, and cook for a few minutes until the carrots are hot throughout. Add the rice, mix to combine and serve. Serves 6.

 

My file source unknown

ULTIMATE CARROT CAKE

 

2 1/4 cups flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

4 eggs, at room temperature

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

1/2 cup buttermilk or milk or non dairy substitute

2/3 cups firmly packed brown sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1/2 cup crushed pineapple, drained

1 pound finely grated carrots

1 cup toasted chopped pecans

1 cup golden raisins

1 batch Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

 

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by lightly coating with oil and lining with parchment paper. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, salt and nutmeg together in a bowl.  Set aside.

 

In a large bowl combine the eggs, sugar, oil, buttermilk, brown sugar, vanilla, and pineapple together, mix to combine.   Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.   Stir in the carrots, pecans and raisins just until evenly distributed throughout the batter.

 

Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake on the center rack for about 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester comes out clean. Cool cakes in their pans for at least 30 minutes before attempting to remove them.  Then, removed from the pans and peel off the parchment paper.  Continue to cool the cakes completely before frosting.

 

To assemble the cake, place the bottom layer on a cardboard round or other flat surface and put on a cake turntable. Scoop about 1 1/2 cups of the cream cheese icing onto the top of the bottom cake layer.  Using an offset spatula, spread the frosting evenly over the surface.  Carefully place the second layer on top.  Scoop another 1 1/2 cups or so of the frosting on the top of the cake and spread evenly, easing the frosting down the sides.  Spread the icing around the sides of the cake, adding more as needed.  Lift the cake off the turn table and place on a cake stand or platter and chill a bit to firm up the frosting before slicing.

 

Cream Cheese Frosting

16 ounces cream cheese, softened

4 ounces (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 teaspoon orange extract

3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar to taste

 

Beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth.  Add extracts and beat just until incorporated.  Beat in sugar, one cup at a time, until frosting has the flavor and consistency you want.  You may not need to add all of the sugar.

 

Adapted from The Essential Baker via Zoe Bakes

© Eileen Goltz carrots12

Gourmet Sprouts Make Good Salads Spectacular/ Kosher recipes

When “mung bean sprouts” first made their appearance as a healthy, natural food in the 60’s and 70’s many people dismissed them as a food fad. Thank goodness nobody paid attention to the nay sayers and the sprout survived and thrived. Today dozens of varieties of gourmet sprouts grace the shelves of supermarket and farm stands and each is more delicious, and surprising, nutritious than the last one you tried. All sprouts are low in calories and are virtually fat free. A cup of alfalfa sprouts contains about 10, count them 10 calories and mung bean sprouts about 30 calories.  While the nutrition value varies bean and lentil sprouts both deliver vitamin C, folic acid and vitamin B.

A sprout is produced when a seed starts growing into a vegetable. Sprouts can grow from the seeds of vegetables, from grains such as buckwheat, and from beans. They vary in texture and taste. Some are spicy (radish and onion sprouts), some are hardy and are often used in oriental food.  Mung beans are the most popular and hardy others are more delicate (alfalfa, onion, broccoli) and are used in salads and sandwiches to add texture and moistness.

Sprouts are fresh when their roots are moist and white and the sprout itself is crisp. You should store spouts the vegetable crisper of the refrigerator and use them as soon as possible.

The following mung bean recipes are a combination of salads and main courses that should tempt even the most salad phobic child. There are a variety of other vegetable sprouts used in many of the recipes so you’ll have the opportunity to experiment with a variety of different flavors.

EZ BEAN SPROUT SALAD   (pareve)

1 lb. mung bean sprouts

1/2 cup sliced radishes

1/3 cup broccoli sprouts

2 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon sesame oil

salt and pepper to taste

 

Blanch mung bean sprouts and place them in a bowl. Add the radishes, broccoli spouts soy sauce, sugar, and sesame oil. Toss gently, taste and then season with salt and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes before serving. Serves 4 to 6.

 

SHREDDED CHICKEN WITH BEAN SPROUTS AND PEA PODS (meat)

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, about 2 lbs.

1 teaspoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon white pepper

4 oz. Chinese pea pods

1 lb. bean sprouts

2 tablespoon chicken broth

1 tablespoon soy sauce

2 teaspoon cornstarch

1 teaspoon sugar

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

2 teaspoon finely chopped garlic

1 teaspoon finely chopped ginger root

1/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup toasted almonds

cooked rice (optional)

toasted slivered almonds (optional)

 

Cut the breasts into 2 x 1/2 inch pieces. Stack slices; cut into thin strips. Place the chicken in a bowl and add 1 teaspoon cornstarch, 1/2 teaspoon salt and the white pepper. Toss, cover and refrigerate 30 minutes.

 

Remove the strings from pea pods. Place pea pods in boiling water; cook for 30 seconds and immediately remove the pea pods from the water; drain and rinse in cold water; drain. Rinse the bean sprouts in cold water; drain thoroughly. In a bowl combine 2 tablespoons broth, soy sauce, 2 teaspoon cornstarch, and the sugar.

 

Heat wok until very hot. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil; tilt wok to coat side. Add bean sprouts and 1/2 teaspoon salt; stir fry 2 minutes. Remove bean sprouts from wok; drain.

 

Heat wok until very hot. Add 2 tablespoons vegetable oil; tilt wok to coat side. Add chicken, garlic, and ginger root; stir fry 2 minutes or until chicken turns white. Add bean sprouts and pea pods; stir fry 1 minute. Add 1/4 cup broth; heat to boiling. Stir in cornstarch mixture; cook and stir until thickened. Serve immediately over rice and garnish with the toasted almonds.  Makes 4 servings

 

SPINACH BEAN SPROUT SALAD (pareve or meat)

 

1 bag of baby spinach, washed and broken into bite size pieces (aprox. 4 cups)

2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts, washed and dried

5 or 6 green onions, sliced

1/2 cup fake bacon bits or 4-6 slices kosher breakfast beef, fried and crumbled of

2 to 3 hard cooked eggs, sliced

1/2 diced red onion

 

DRESSING:

 

1/4 cup oil

1/4 cup red wine vinegar

3 tablespoon ketchup

2 tablespoon brown sugar

 

In a salad bowl combine the spinach, bean sprouts and green onion. Toss gently. In another smaller bowl combine the vinegar, ketchup and brown sugar. Whisk to combine.  Pour the dressing over the vegetable salad and toss. Serve with crumbled breakfast beef bits, red onion and sliced eggs on top. Serves 6. Can be doubled or tripled

HAWAIIAN BEAN SPROUT SALAD (pareve)

2 cups fresh bean sprouts

1 can (12 oz.) pineapple chunks, drained

1/2 cup mandarin oranges, drained

1/2 green pepper, cut in strips

3/4 cup diagonal cut celery

2/3 cup mayonnaise

1 1/4 teaspoon curry powder

2 1/2 tablespoon soy sauce

 

In a large salad bowl combine the bean sprouts, pineapple chunks, oranges green pepper and celery, toss to combine. In another bowl combine the mayonnaise, curry powder and soy sauce. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss gently to coat.  Serves 4. Can be doubled or tripled

 

THAI CARROT AND SPROUT NOODLE SALAD

This recipe is an interesting take on the traditional pad Thai.This is great at room temperature after the flavors have blended.

12 ounces linguine
4 tablespoons oriental sesame oil

8 green onions, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic

1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili sauce or a few dashes of hot sauce
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 cup finely shredded carrots

 

Cook the pasta in large pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Transfer pasta to large bowl; add 3 tablespoons sesame oil and toss to coat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 6 green onions, garlic, and ginger; sauté until onions soften, about 2 minutes. Add honey, peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar, and chili sauce; whisk to blend. Simmer sauce 1 minute. Cool to room temperature. Pour the mixture over the cooked pasta and toss to coat. Add the sprouts and carrots; mix well to combine. Transfer to a bowl or platter; sprinkle with remaining green onions. Serves 3 to 4. This can be doubled or tripled.

 

WARM TERIYAKI BEEF SALAD

This salad is really a great winter dinner.

3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons medium-dry cooking wine
3/4 pound steak, cut across grain into 1/4-inch-thick slices
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh gingerroot
1/2 pound mushrooms
3 scallions
1 small cucumber
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup fresh bean sprouts
2 tablespoons water
2 cups packed spinach leaves, washed well and spun dry

 

In a measuring cup stir together the soy sauce, vinegar, and cooking wine. In a glass bowl combine the cut up steak with the garlic, gingerroot, and 2 tablespoons soy sauce mixture. Mix to coat and let set while preparing vegetables.  Discard the stems from mushrooms and cut the mushrooms and scallions into thin strips, keeping them separate. Peel the cucumber and cut in half lengthwise. With a spoon scrape seeds from cucumber halves, discarding seeds, and cut each half crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick slices.

 

In a large non-stick skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over high heat until very hot but not smoking and brown the steak, stirring frequently, until any liquid evaporates, about 3 minutes. Transfer steak to a clean bowl.

 

In the skillet heat the remaining tablespoon oil over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking and sauté mushrooms, stirring occasionally, until liquid they give off is evaporated. Add the scallions and bean sprouts and cook 1 minute. Remove the skillet from heat and add the cooked steak, remaining soy sauce mixture, and water. Mix to combine.

 

In a large bowl toss together spinach, cucumber. Add the warm steak mixture and toss just to combine. Divide salad between 2 plates. Serves 2. This recipe can be doubled or tripled

 

LINGUINI WITH SPROUTS, CUCUMBERS AND PEANUT SAUCE

 

The combination of cooked and raw vegetables is refreshing and satisfying enough to please everyone. Serve the pasta immediately after tossing it with the peanut mixture; the sauce gets thick if it sits too long.

 

2 cloves garlic

2 tablespoons soy sauce

1/3 cup peanut butter

2/3 cup chicken broth or pareve vegetable stock

1 1/2 tablespoons lime juice

1/2 teaspoon red-pepper flakes

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 pound linguine

1/2 pound snow peas, cut diagonally into thin slices

1 1/2 cups mung bean sprouts (about 1/4 pound)

2 scallions including green tops, chopped

1 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced thin

onion sprouts

1/2 cup chopped peanuts
In a blender or food processor, combine the garlic, soy sauce, peanut butter, chicken broth, lime juice, red-pepper flakes, and 1/2 teaspoon of the salt. Puree until smooth and set aside.

 

In a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook the linguine until almost done, about 9 minutes. Stir in the snow peas and bean sprouts and cook until the vegetables and pasta are just done, about 3 minutes more. Drain the noodles and pea post and place the noodles in a large serving bowl. Add the peanut sauce, the remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, the scallions, cucumber, mung bean sprouts and 1/3 cup of the peanuts. Toss to combine. Serve with the remaining peanuts and onion sprouts sprinkled over the top.

 

NOTE: The seeds from a mature cucumber can be somewhat bitter and watery. Scoop them out of the halved cucumber with a spoon or melon baller and discard them. Better yet, buy the English (hothouse) cucumber. They are almost completely seedless. Serves 4

All In for Asparagus At Any Price/Some Recipes Not Kosher

So I walk into the produce section of my favorite green grocer and what do I spy? Why asparagus at .99 a pound. Are they kidding me? .99 a pound? Sign me up and shut the door, I’m all in for this special. As if in a daze my cart magically makes its way over to the stand and I find myself loading bundle after bundle of that sweet stalk of green goodness into my cart.

By the time I get out of my chlorophyll induced stupor I’m in my kitchen, the proud owner of 10 pounds of the stuff and no real plan on how to use it up before it starts to wilt. My plan, take a deep breath, do a little recipe research and cook up a storm.

Asparagus is one of Mother Nature’s finest gifts and is a sure sign that spring has sprung. It’s a part of the lily family and is sort of a first cousin to onions, leeks and garlic. Loaded with vitamins A, B and C it’s also a great source for folic acid,  It’s at its best from May through June so now is the best time to stock up and chow down. It is a very versatile vegetable that can be prepared by steaming, roasting, grilling or even stir frying it. The spears should be firm and green with tightly closed firm tips. Choose thin or thick stalks is just a matter of personal preference, I don’t really taste a difference between the two. Pass up asparagus with thick woody looking stalks.  I don’t peel the stalks but I do cut off about 1/2 inch of the ends before cooking.

If you’d like a little variety in your life look for white or purple asparagus. They’re the same as the green variety they’ve just been grown differently; the white is grown like some mushrooms, without light so it doesn’t produce chlorophyll. You will find that the white asparagus is a tad bit sweeter but so is the price point. The purple is pretty but it does loose most of its purple color when cooked.

I’ve started cooking and don’t plan on stopping until the last stalk is devoured and invite you to do the same with these terrific recipes

GRILLED ASPARAGUS CRAB TART

 

1lb. asparagus, cut into 1/3’s and grilled slightly

1/4 cup butter or margarine

4 to 5 portabella mushrooms chopped

1 tablespoon minced garlic

1/2 cup bread crumbs

3 tablespoon parmesan cheese, divided

1/2 teaspoon pepper

2 cups shredded Munster or pepper jack cheese

1/2 lb crabmeat shredded or chopped

8 ounces vegetable cream cheese

4 eggs

1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped or 2 teaspoons dried

 

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 13×9-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a skillet melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring frequently for about 6 or 7 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and garlic from the heat and add the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and pepper.  Mix to combine and then press mushroom mixture evenly in bottom and up side of greased pan. Sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mushroom crust. Place the asparagus and crabmeat on top of the cheese. In a bowl of an electric mixer combine the cream cheese, eggs and 1 tablespoon of the parsley. Beat to combine and so that there are no lumps. Pour the egg mixture over the asparagus and crabmeat. Sprinkle the top with the 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes then serve. Serves 8.

 

PUFFED ASPARAGUS AND BACON BITES

 

1 lb fresh asparagus ends cut off, steamed till just crisp tender

1 package puff pastry dough (2 sheets), defrosted

1 cup shredded pepper jack or Swiss cheese

1/4 cup bacon, cooked and crumbled

1/4 cup green onion, finely chopped

2 tablespoons melted butter

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

 

Preheat oven to 400. Place a piece of parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Open puff pastry dough and cut each sheet into 1/3’s. Then cut each strip into 1/3’s. Roll each section out slightly so they form rectangles. On each section, lengthwise, place a few stalks of cooked asparagus on one edge, sprinkle some cheese, bacon and green onions on top of the asparagus and then roll them up. Place the rolls, seam side down on the cookie sheet. Brush the top of each roll with the melted butter and sprinkle the top with a few sesame seeds. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until roll ups are golden browned. Remove from the oven and let cool for 2 to 3 minutes. Cut each roll in half and serve. Serves 6 to 8.

ASPARAGUS POPOVERS

 

1 lb asparagus

2 tablespoons butter

1/2 cup milk

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1/2 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 pinch sugar

3 ounces gruyere cheese, shredded

 

Preheat oven to 425. In a medium saucepan, add 2 inched of salted water; bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Drain and rinse with cold water, then pat dry with paper towels. Cut the spears crosswise into thirds. In a medium cast-iron skillet, add the butter. Place the skillet in the oven to melt the butter. In a medium bowl, microwave the milk on high for 30 seconds. Whisk in the eggs, then the flour, salt, pepper, and sugar. Add the asparagus pieces to the hot cast-iron skillet and pour the batter on top. Sprinkle with half of the cheese and bake until puffed and golden-brown, 18 to 20 minutes. Top with the remaining cheese. Recipe makes 24 pieces

 

From the May 2008 issue of Everyday with Rachael Ray

ASPARAGUS TID BITS

 

1 lb asparagus cut into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon olive oil

1/2 lb smoked white fish, broken into bite size pieces

12 oz gruyere cheese, sliced

1 loaf French bread, sliced in to 1/2-inch slices

1/3 to 1/2 cup olive oil

kosher salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

 

Preheat oven to 350. Saute the asparagus in the olive oil until it’s just soft and set it aside. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. With a pastry brush, lightly brush the top of the slices of French bread with olive oil. Place the oiled pieces, oil side up on the parchment paper, season with salt and pepper. Bake for about 5 to 7 minutes until golden. Place a small piece of white fish on top of the toasted French bread, then put two to three pieces of asparagus, and top with one small slice of gruyere, Grind a little pepper on top, return to the oven for 2 minutes or just until the cheese melts. Serve immediately. Makes 12 to 14 pieces.

 

ASPARAGUS STRATA

You can vary the amount of cheese according to your taste

 

1 to 1 1/2 lbs. fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

2 carrots shredded

1 to 2 tablespoon olive oil

Salt and pepper

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup flour

3 cups milk or 1/2 and 1/2

1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese (for sauce)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Salt and pepper

6 large par boiled lasagna noodles

1 to 1 1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

3/4 to 1 cup grated Romano cheese

1/3 to 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 

Preheat oven to 425. Place the asparagus and shredded carrots on a cookie sheet with sides and toss them with the olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until they just begin to soften. Cool slightly and set them aside. In a large saucepan melt the butter and add the flour and whisk briskly and constantly until it’s combined. Cook for about 2 minutes whisking constantly. Add the milk and continue whisking and cooking until the sauce is thickened. Reduce the heat and add the nutmeg, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese and garlic. Stir until cheese is melted. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove sauce from the heat. In a 9 X 13 pan, spread a few tablespoons of the sauce on the bottom. Top with 3 noodles then top with 1/3 of the roasted asparagus and carrot mixture. Sprinkle a little parmesan Romano and mozzarella cheese over the top of the asparagus. Spoon 1/3 of the sauce over the cheese. Top with a layer of 3 lasagna noodles. Repeat the layers asparagus, cheese, sauce. Top the sauce on the top of the strata with the remaining cheeses. Bake for about 30 to 40 minutes or until the top is golden and the sides are bubbly. Let the cool for about 15 to 20 minutes before serving. Serves 8.

 

Submitted by Corrine Rasterty, Finley NJ

 

ASPARAGUS AND ONIONS HOT POT

 

1 lb of fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1 large onion, chopped into bite size pieces

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 tablespoons of butter, divided

2 tablespoons of flour

1 cup of milk

1/2 cup cream cheese

1/2 teaspoon chili powder

1 teaspoon of salt

pepper to taste

1/2 cup shredded pepper jack cheese, shredded.

1 cup of panko bread crumbs

 

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 2 quart baking dish. In a skillet melt 1 tablespoon of butter and saute the asparagus, garlic and onion until just slightly wilted. Put the mixture into the greased pan. In a saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of butter, add the flour and stir until smooth. Add the milk and cook, stirring constantly until the mixture is thickened and smooth. Add the cream cheese, chili powder, salt and pepper to taste. Pour the sauce over the asparagus and onion mixture. Mix to combine. Sprinkle the top with the cheese and breadcrumbs. Bake uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is melted. Serves 6 to 8 as a side dish.

 

MAPLE GLAZED ASPARAGUS

 

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

Paprika

2 tablespoons maple syrup

 

Preheat oven to 450. Line the cookie sheet with foil. Place the asparagus spears on a rimmed cookie sheet. Drizzle the olive oil and maple syrup over the top. Toss to make sure all the spears are coated. Lightly sprinkle the asparagus with the paprika, salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 8 to 10 minutes then turn it over and cook for another 2 minutes. Serve

ASPARAGUS   AND PASTA SALAD

 

6 to 8   slices Canadian bacon or hickory smoked  bacon, cut into bite size pieces   2 tablespoons olive oil   1  onion, finely chopped

1 red   pepper chopped

1/2 lb   mushrooms, sliced   1 1/2 pounds asparagus, trimmed and cut on a long diagonal into   1/2-inch-thick slices   1 lb. bow tie pasta, cooked according to the package directions, save 1 cup   of the water used in cooking   1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

Parmesan   for serving

 

Cook the   bacon in a fry pan until it’s crispy and brown. Drain on paper towels and   pour off half of the remaining fat. Saute the onion, mushrooms and red pepper   in the skillet for about 5 minutes. Add the asparagus and continue cooking   for 3 to 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Add the drained pasta and   1/2 cup of the water to the vegetable mixture. Mix to combine, scraping the   bottom to remove the cooked on bits of vegetable. Cook for 1 minute and add   the remaining water and 1/2 cup parmesan. Mix to combine and cook for an   additional 2 minutes. Place the pasta mixture in a serving bowl, add the   cooked bacon and toss to combine. Serve with additional parmesan. Serves 6 to   8

Modified from an old Gourmet Magazine recipe

Parsley, Always a Bridesmaid Ingredient/Passover and Easter Recipes

So everyone who’s ever purchased a bundle of parsley for say, a garnish or for oh, I don’t know, a garnish please raise your hand. Well hang on to your cooking hats because this column is devoted to that underappreciated leafy herb.

There are more than 30 varieties of parley and it’s related to celery (sort of like its skinnier first cousin). The most commonly used types of parsley are the curly leaf and flat-leaf parsley. An often asked parsley questions is what is the difference between flat leaf AKA Italian parsley and the curly kind? The answer to the question is simply the intensity of the flavor.  The flat leaf has a stronger more distinct flavor and is also more fragrant and less bitter than the curly variety. Whenever possible I recommend that everyone choose to use fresh parsley over the dried form. The dried, while convenient, isn’t nearly as flavorful as the fresh.

You should look for parsley that is deep green in color and looks fresh and has tight leaves. Forget any bunches that are wilted or have yellow leaves. You should always clean the parsley thoroughly before you use it. Clean the parsley like you clean spinach. Place it in a bowl of cool water and swish it around to get rid of the dirt. Note that parsley should be added at the end of the cooking process so that it retains its flavor and color. One great parsley trick is that if you’re making a lighter colored sauces just use the stems instead of the leaves as it will give you the flavor or parsley but not the green color.

Parsley is great but is rarely, if ever, considered a main ingredient. However, impress your friends and family with the following parsley recipes, they can hold its own in all kinds of herb recipes and let you be quasi eco food friendly by being able to say you’re keeping it “green”.

PARSLEY BAKED SALMON

3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup milk

1 cup sour cream
3 large eggs, beaten
2 cans red salmon, drained and flaked
2 cups bread crumbs or cracker crumbs or matza meal
2 tablespoons minced onion

2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 tablespoon minced parsley
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup parmesan cheese (optional)

Preheat oven to 375. Grease a 9X13 baking dish. In a bowl, combine the melted butter, milk, sour cream (parmesan cheese if using) and eggs, beat to combine. Add the salmon, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Mix to combine. Place the mixture into the prepared baking dish and cook, uncovered for 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool for 4 to 5 minutes before cutting and serving. Great with Parsley Cream Sauce (see below). Serves 8
PARSLEY CREAM SAUCE

Great with fish or over vegetables

4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour or potato starch
2 cups milk

1/4 cup mozzarella cheese

2 tablespoons parmesan cheese
pepper to taste
1/4 cup minced parsley

In a saucepan melt the butter and then quickly whisk in the flour. Cook this mixture for one minute, whisk constantly. At this point whisk in the milk, cheeses, pepper and parsley. Cook, whisking constantly until combine and the cheese is melted (1 to 2 minutes). Serve immediately. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

 

PARSLEY POTATO BISQUE

5 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 lb potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 leeks, sliced

1tablespoon minced garlic
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/3 cup white wine
1 teaspoon salt
1 to 2 teaspoons black pepper

In a stock pot heat the oil and then sauté the leeks and garlic for 2 minutes then add the wine. Cook for about 5 minutes and then add the potatoes and stock and bring the mixture to a simmer. Cover and boil until the potatoes are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let the soup cool for about 10 minutes and then place ¼ of the soup in a blender or processor and process till smooth. Add a little water or more stock if the mixture is too thick. Don’t over process you want some smaller pieces of potato.  Return the pureed soup back into the pan. When you’ve finished processing the soup add the parsley, salt, and pepper. Mix to combine. Bring the soup to a simmer and cook for about 3 or 4 minutes stirring constantly.

 

Modified from May All Be Fed by John Robbins

PEPPER PARSLEY CELERY SOUP

 

2 tablespoons olive oil
8 stalks celery, chopped
1 red onion, chopped

1 parsnip, peeled and diced
1 red pepper; chopped
1 teaspoon mince garlic
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
1 large baked potato, mashed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Celery leaves to garnish

Chopped parsley for garnish

 

In a large stock pot heat the oil and saute the celery, parsnip, onion, red pepper and garlic for 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add the stock, mashed potato, salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the parsley about 5 minutes before the cooking is finished and mix to combine If you like a thicker soup serve it this way. For a smoother soup let it cool or about 20 minutes and then puree it or use an immersion blender. Garnish with celery leaves and chopped parsley

 

Submitted by Joslyn Kemintsky Chicago IL

 

HEARTS OF PALM AND PARSLEY CHOPPED SALAD

10 green onions, chopped
6 to 8 tomatoes, chopped
2 cans (14.5 oz.) hearts of palm, drained and sliced thin
3/4 cup chopped parsley

1 can black olives, chopped

2 cans sliced water chestnuts
1/4 cup fresh lime juice

4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 cups chopped romaine or red leaf lettuce

Put onions in a bowl of cold water and soak for 5 minutes. Drain. In large bowl combine the lime juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper and whisk to combine. Add the green onions, hearts of palm, olives, parsley, water chestnuts and lettuce, Toss to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serves 6 to 8

 

PARMESAN   CAULIFLOWER AND PARSLEY SALAD

 

For   salad   1 teaspoon grated lemon zest   2 tablespoons lemon juice   1/2 teaspoon salt   1/4 teaspoon black pepper   1/4 cup olive oil   6 oz white mushrooms, thinly sliced   5 cups loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped     For cauliflower   2 large eggs   1/4 teaspoon salt   1/8 teaspoon black pepper   2 (10-oz) packages frozen cauliflower florets, thawed and patted dry   2 cups parmesan cheese   1/3 cup olive oil

 

In   a large bowl combine the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Whisk in   the oil until combined, then stir in mushrooms and marinate while pan-frying   cauliflower.

Meanwhile, in a bowl lightly beat the eggs with the salt and pepper. Add the   cauliflower and toss until coated well. Put the parmesan cheese in a large   bowl. Lift cauliflower out of egg mixture with a slotted spoon and transfer   to cheese, tossing to coat. Heat the oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over   moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then panfry cauliflower in 3   batches, turning occasionally, until golden on all sides, about 3 minutes per   batch. Transfer with a slotted spoon to paper towels to drain and cool   slightly. Add the parsley and cauliflower to mushroom mixture, tossing to   combine and serve. Serves 8.

Modified   from Gourmet May 2006

ALMOND, PARSLEY AND PORTABELLA SALAD

 

6 to 8 portabella mushrooms cleaned and sliced thin

1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh is best)

4 to 6 chopped green onions

3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1/2 cup of your favorite Italian salad dressing

1 red pepper diced

4 stalks celery, diced

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

2 tablespoon brown sugar

1 tablespoon  vinegar

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

4 cups chopped romaine lettuce

1 cup toasted almonds

 

In a salad bowl combine the mushrooms, lemon juice, green onion, parsley, and tarragon. Mix to combine, cover and refrigerate. In another bowl, combine the Italian dressing, red pepper, salt, pepper, sugar, rice wine vinegar and mayonnaise. Whisk to combine and refrigerate for 1 hour. To serve combine the mushroom mixture with the lettuce. Toss to combine and then add the dressing and almonds to the lettuce mixture and toss to combine. Serves 8

 

LIME AND PARSLEY CHOPPED SALAD

 

1 head romaine or red leaf lettuce, chopped

1 English cucumber sliced

1 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1 red bell pepper, diced

2 avocados, diced

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

1 teaspoon lime zest

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Kosher salt and pepper, to taste

 

Put everything into a bowl and toss to combine. Serves 8

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