Tag Archives: Asparagus

Asparagus, Goat Cheese, and Rhubarb Salad #SundaySupper

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Rhubarb Salad

Welcome to Sunday Supper, where our theme is Welcome Spring!! This weekend is the first real, authentic, pleasant spring weather I’ve personally had, so I’ve spent most of my time outside by the Hoboken waterfront instead of writing up this post. Oops. I regret nothing.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Rhubarb Salad

If we’re talking spring in the culinary realm, which of course we are, nothing says spring more to me than two produce items: rhubarb, and asparagus. So combining them both in a light salad simply could not be more perfect for today’s theme. This salad is light yet filling, and incredibly delicious. The flavors marry perfectly, the texture is ideally contrasted to come together in one amazing bite – though you’ll take many more bites than one, trust me on that.

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Rhubarb Salad

In short, I loved this. And now I’m going back outside before we get days upon days of April rains again. Enjoy! And be sure you check out the Spring recipes from my Sunday Supper crew!

Asparagus, Goat Cheese and Rhubarb Salad

Source: Girl in the Kitchen by Stephanie Izard

Ingredients:
1 cup white balsamic vinegar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 lb. rhubarb, sliced
¼ cup olive oil plus 2 tbs
2 lbs. fresh asparagus
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 cups baby arugula
2 oz. crumbled goat cheese
¾ cup slivered almonds, toasted

Directions:
Combine the vinegar and sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is dissolved. Pour the hot liquid over the rhubarb in a medium bowl and let sit until the liquid has cooled and the rhubarb is slightly tender.
Strain the liquid from the rhubarb, reserving both. Make a vinaigrette by whisking 2 tbs of the rhubarb liquid with ¼ cup olive oil in a small bowl. Discard the remaining liquid or keep in the refrigerator for another use.
Preheat your grill or indoor grill pan to medium-high. Trim the asparagus spears and toss with the remaining 2 tbs olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Grill the asparagus until tender, 5 to 7 minutes, turning once or twice. Let the asparagus cool slightly, then chop into 2-inch pieces.
In a large salad bowl, combine the asparagus pieces with the arugula, goat cheese, almonds and reserved rhubarb. Drizzle in the vinaigrette, toss to coat, and serve immediately.

Breakfast:

Appetizers:

Beverages:

Main Dish:

Side Dish:

Dessert:

Plus Spring Vegetable Minestrone and more Spring Recipes from Sunday Supper Movement

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Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

Around six or so years ago, Matt and I decided to embrace seasonal eating. We were convinced of all the compelling yet, well, preachy arguments in favor of it, like reducing carbon footprints and all that, but I think my favorite part about it is admittedly quite self-serving: in-season produce just plain tastes better and is more pleasurable to eat.

Like asparagus. Years ago, I mistakenly thought asparagus could and should be eaten year-round, so I did just that – solely for the health benefits – and for years I found it to be mostly bitter and soggy. Let’s just say that asparagus and I turned our relationship right around when I discovered that duh, if you only eat it in the spring when it’s locally grown and in-season, it tastes kind of amazing! What a concept, right?

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

Since we now eschew it at least eight months out of the year, when it is in its tasty prime I go a little nuts with it, cooking and eating as much as I can before it goes back to its sad, flaccid, not-in-season-anymore state. And I must admit, I’m generally not terribly creative with it. I find that it serves as a perfect side dish for any number of proteins, and all it needs it a roast in the oven, or a trip to the grill or a hot sauté pan. Some salt and black pepper and a small pat of butter.

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

I wouldn’t blog such unoriginality though – I didn’t tell anyone anything they didn’t already know. Instead, I do make sure some of my asparagus cooking is less mundane, and this one I’m happy to share with you. I’ve always found salmon and asparagus to be a perfect pairing whenever possible, and apparently I’m not alone. Ottolenghi. The guy knows what he’s doing. This is beautiful. Enjoy!

Roasted Salmon and Asparagus Bruschetta

I made this recipe twice, the first time with fat asparagus and the second time with the pencil-thin stalks. With the fat version, I used a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus stalks, then tossed them with a drizzle of olive oil, a dash of lemon juice, plus salt and pepper to taste. The thin asparagus version is written below, which is basically blanching the asparagus quickly in salted water, then tossing in a bowl with the same salt, pepper, drizzle of olive oil and splash of lemon juice.

{One Year Ago: Pork Neck Bone Stew; Nocello-Spiked Carrot Cupcakes; Vegan Carrot Soup; Carrot Pie; Whiskey Glazed Carrots; Carrot Cake Pancakes; Banana Chocolate Whoopie Pies; Crispy Cornmeal Waffles with Spinach Queso Sauce; Joanne Chang’s Perfect Waffles with a Lemony Twist; Fudge Chocolate Waffles; Chicken and Waffles for Two}
{Two Years Ago: Mexican “Hot” Chocolate Ice Cream; “Old Fashioned” Snickerdoodles; Greek Salad with Chickpeas; Meatless Muffulettas; Easy Adobo Chicken; Malted Waffles; Chicken Pot Pie}

Source: slightly adapted from Ottolenghi: The Cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi

Ingredients:
Olive oil
12 oz. slab of salmon fillet, skin on
4 bay leaves, preferably fresh
4 juniper berries
½ cup rose wine, or another light red wine of your choice
1 lemon, halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 loaf Italian bread, sliced thickly
1-2 cloves garlic, peeled but not smashed, cut in half lengthwise
5 oz. pencil-thin asparagus spears
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
Lemon wedges, or torn parsley, or torn chervil for garnish, if desired

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 400 F. Drizzle a small (8×8”) baking dish with olive oil. Place the salmon skin side down in the dish, then add the bay leaves and juniper berries. Pour the wine over the salmon, then squeeze half the lemon over the salmon as well. Sprinkle the flesh of the salmon with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake 15 to 20 minutes, until the salmon flakes with a fork but is still a little pink in the center. Remove the foil and let cool – not all the way to room temperature, but you definitely want it warm, not hot.
Meanwhile, lay the bread slices in a single layer on a baking sheet. Brush with olive oil if desired, then toast in the oven about 10 minutes. While they are still hot, rub the bread slices with the cut side of the garlic. Let the bread cool down a little bit too.
Trim off the woody ends of the asparagus, then cut into roughly 2-inch lengths. Drop those lengths into boiling salted water and blanch for about 1 minute. Drain in a colander and run them under cold water to stop the cooking. Transfer the asparagus pieces to a small bowl and hit them with a splash of lemon juice and a small drizzle of olive oil. Toss to combine.
When the salmon has cooled enough, flake it into nice chunks with your hands and spread it out on a plate.
Spread the toasts liberally with the cream cheese. Place some salmon chunks on top, then arrange a few asparagus pieces on top of the salmon. Finish with a grind of black pepper, and you can garnish with chopped herbs or serve with lemon wedges if you like.

Veal Oscar

Veal Oscar

Happy Friday! I’m wrapping up ASPARAGUS WEEK with a doozy of a good one, y’all. This dish is elegant, beautiful and delicious. A perfect option to have in your arsenal of tricks for when your boss is coming for dinner (does that still happen, ever?), or to make something special for your significant other, or to impress a hot date. Because this one is very impressive, y’all.

Veal Oscar

veal oscar

One recipe note: this does call for making béarnaise sauce. And béarnaise sauce can be tricky to make. I scrambled the egg yolks on the first go and had to start over. The other tricky part is that once you’ve made the sauce, you have to let it sit while you make the rest of the dish, and keeping béarnaise sauce at the perfect temperature so it doesn’t break on you can be a tightrope walk. So, if your sauce isn’t cooperating 100%, I say it’s perfectly fine to use a dollop of mayonnaise or a few drops of heavy cream to help it out. I mean, come on, you’re making this meal to impress your boss or to get laid, not to take a final exam at the French Culinary Institute. In this instance, a little cheating is perfectly okay and you should not feel bad at all.

Veal oscar

Okay, now for our recap of ASPARAGUS WEEK!

First up, I began the week with an insanely delicious Shaved Asparagus Pizza. There are no words…

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

 

 

 

 

 

Then, I took a little detour from Asparagus Week by participating in the fantastic Secret Recipe Club and showed y’all a Homemade Pizza Sauce, which will forever replace the canned stuff for me.

Homemade Pizza Sauce

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday we got back to asparagus with a Grilled Asparagus Panzanella, which I shared over at my friend Tara’s blog, Noshing with the Nolands. It was awesome, and a perfect way to usher in some warmer weather.

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

 

 

 

 

 

And yesterday, I became a member of the Department of Redundancy Department by sharing Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad, which was beyond amazing so I stand by it.

Shaved asparagus and spinach salad

 

 

 

 

 

And here’s an asparagus recipe round-up from the blogosphere! Enjoy!

Asparagus and Cheese Tart from What Megan’s Making
Asparagus, Artichoke and Shiitake Risotto from Smitten Kitchen
Baked Parmesan Asparagus “Fries” with Lemon Garlic Aioli from Simply Scratch
Caramelized Leek and Asparagus Salad from Cupcakes and Kale Chips
Egg, Country Ham, Asparagus and Leek Pizza from Farm Fresh Feasts
Pesto Tortellini Salad with Asparagus from The Kitchen is my Playground
Prosciutto Wrapped Asparagus from Cooking on the Front Burner
Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette from The Texan New Yorker

Veal Oscar

{One year ago: Slow Cooker Refried Beans}

Source: adapted from Tyler Florence Family Meal by Tyler Florence

Ingredients:
BEARNAISE SAUCE:
¼ cup chopped fresh tarragon leaves
1 large shallot, minced
¼ cup champagne vinegar
¼ cup dry white wine
3 large egg yolks
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and black pepper

VEAL:
8 very thick asparagus spears, bottom 2 inches removed
4 veal cutlets, about 3 oz. each
About 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tbs unsalted butter
1 shallot, peeled and sliced into thin rings
Canola oil
Fresh tarragon leaves, for garnish

Directions:
First, make the BEARNAISE SAUCE. In a small saucepan, combine the tarragon, shallot, vinegar, and wine. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until reduced by half, 5 to 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside.
Fill a medium saucepan with water and set it over medium to medium-low heat. Bring to a simmer.
Place the egg yolks into a stainless steel mixing bowl and whisk vigorously for a few seconds, until pale yellow and fluffy. Place the bowl over the pot of simmering water, making sure the water is not touching the bottom of the bowl. While whisking continually, SLOWLY pour the melted butter into the egg yolks. Continue whisking vigorously until the sauce is smooth and emulsified, about 10 minutes. Turn the heat down on the water if necessary. Stir in the shallot mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Keep warm (turn the heat on the saucepan to low) until ready to serve. While you’re working on the veal, stir the sauce occasionally to see how it’s doing. If it’s too thick, use a little heavy cream; if it’s breaking on you, use a dollop of mayonnaise.
Now make the veal. Fill a high-sided large skillet with a few inches of water. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Drop the asparagus into the boiling water and cook for 2 minutes. Drain the asparagus and either plunge them into a bowl of ice water, then remove once they’ve cooled, or drain them into a colander and run them under very cold water until they have cooled. Set aside.
Place each veal cutlet between 2 sheets of parchment paper (or 1 large sheet folded in half). Using the smooth side of a meat mallet to pound each cutlet to an even ¼-inch thickness. Cut each in half cross wise. Place 1 asparagus spear on each cutlet half and roll into a cigar.
Place about 1 cup flour in a shallow dish or plate and season with salt and pepper. Dredge the veal rolls in the flour by rolling them across the plate. Tap off the excess. Repeat with each asparagus spear and set them all on a plate.
Place the remaining flour in a small bowl and season with salt and pepper. Separate the shallot slices into rings, discarding the smallest ones. Add to the bowl of flour and toss until coated. Set aside.
Wipe out the skillet you used to blanch the asparagus, and melt the butter in it over medium-high heat. Add the veal rolls, making sure not to crowd them, and cook, turning at least once, for about 8 minutes total. Remove to a plate and set aside.
To the drippings in the skillet, add enough canola oil to make a nice film across the entire bottom of the skillet. Add the shallot rings and fry for just a couple of minutes, tossing a few times, until browned and crisp. Remove with a spider or slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate.
Now you are ready to assemble this bad boy. Line up the veal rolls on a platter and generously spoon béarnaise sauce over them. Sprinkle some crispy shallots on top, then garnish with some torn tarragon leaves. Serve immediately, two veal rolls per person.

Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad

Shaved Asparagus and Spinach Salad

Welcome to another day in the week of ASPARAGUS!! So, I know that this post may sound a little redundant within my Asparagus Week. I mean, I’ve already posted a recipe featuring shaved asparagus, and then yesterday I posted an asparagus salad. Surely I could have found something different to do with asparagus than putting shaved asparagus in a salad? Yes, I could have, but what can I say? The heart wants what it wants, and when my heart ran across this recipe, it started to pitter-patter quite loudly and eagerly, and I felt involuntarily compelled to follow its lead.

asparagus close-up

asparagus bundle

Fortunately, my heart did not lead me astray at all – this salad is fantastic! It’s so clean and bright and healthy; and I think I could eat this once a week all year, if only supermarket asparagus tasted good all year long. As we all well know, it does not. But this salad should definitely become one of your staples during asparagus season. It’s just so perfect! Easy to throw together, too. Enjoy this one, guys!

shaved asparagus and spinach salad

Shaved asparagus and spinach salad

{One year ago: Cajun Crab Cakes with Jalapeno Tartar Sauce}

Source: lightly adapted from Fine Cooking Magazine, April/May 2011

Ingredients:
3 tbs white wine vinegar
2 tbs fresh lemon juice
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs honey
1 tbs finely minced shallot
Kosher salt and black pepper
¾ lb. thick asparagus
3-4 handfuls baby spinach
½ cup toasted, peeled and chopped hazelnuts
2 ½ oz. shaved Pecorino Romano cheese (use your vegetable peeler)

Directions:
First make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, honey, shallot, salt and pepper. Set aside.
Do not snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Place one stalk on a cutting board, and hold it by the tough end. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus in one long motion. Repeat until you can’t shave any more of the green off; at this point, just snap the tender part from the tough end and discard the tough end. Repeat with the remaining stalks.
Toss the shaved asparagus with 1/3 cup of the vinaigrette and let sit for 10 minutes. You can let it sit longer, but just know that the longer it sits, the more it softens and the harder it is to toss with the rest of the salad ingredients.
Add the spinach and hazelnuts to a large salad bowl, then add the asparagus shavings along with the remaining dressing. Toss to combine, then shave the cheese over top. Serve immediately.

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

Hey guys! I am continuing my week of ASPARAGUS recipes by guest posting over at the fabulous food blog Noshing with the Nolands! My friend Tara is on vacation and I am so honored to be taking over her blog for the day.

Tara asked me to make something for Spring, and this fits in with my asparagus week so perfectly; so I made this wonderful panzanella with grilled asparagus. (Click HERE for the recipe!)

grilled asparagus panzanella

It was beyond delicious, y’all. Asparagus is in season and so gorgeous right now, and a lighter salad is so perfect if you’re one of the lucky few ushering in warmer weather. I’m not one of those people. Today’s high is 30 degrees Fahrenheit. I’m not bitter.

Anywho, be sure you click on over to Tara’s blog for this fabulous salad recipe! And be sure to check out the rest of Tara’s wonderful blog while you’re at it.

Grilled Asparagus Panzanella

{One year ago: Pickled Jalapenos}

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Shaved asparagus pizza

Happy Sunday evening! I’m so excited because I am finally returning to my themed weeks!! I’ve missed blogging this way. So this week’s theme is….. drum roll please…… ASPARAGUS!! Asparagus and I have become great friends over the past several years (of course I hated it growing up), and to me it’s the perfect vegetable to usher in the spring season.

asparagus shavings (for pizza)

We’re starting the week with a delicious and beautiful pizza, which I couldn’t get enough of; Matt felt the same, and I’m sure we both deserve a medal for allowing the other their fair share of leftovers. I know either of us could have easily hoarded them all for ourselves.

shaved asparagus pizza

Shaved asparagus pizza

This pizza will go down as one of my favorites, one I will probably make every spring at least once. You should too. Enjoy!

Shaved Asparagus Pizza

Shaved Asparagus pizza

{One year ago: Tomato Cornbread}

Source: adapted from The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook by Deb Perelman

Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh pizza dough
½ lb. thick asparagus
2 tsp olive oil
Kosher salt and black pepper
4 oz. goat cheese
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
5 oz. fresh mozzarella, thinly sliced
1 scallion, thinly sliced

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 425 F. Grease a round pizza pan and sprinkle with a touch of cornmeal if desired. Roll or stretch out your pizza to fit the pan. Par-bake it for 8 minutes. Remove from the oven, leaving the oven on.
Meanwhile, prep the asparagus. Do not snap the tough ends off the asparagus. Working with one spear at a time, hold it by its tough end and lay it flat on a cutting board. Use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into long strips. Keep going until you physically cannot make it work anymore, then snap off the tough end. Discard the tough ends and place the shavings in a bowl. Toss them with the olive oil, plus salt and pepper to taste.
Remove the par-baked pizza crust from the oven. Crumble the goat cheese and place the crumbles evenly over the dough. Sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the crust, followed by laying the mozzarella slices on top. Pile the asparagus on top.
Bake the pizza for 10-15 minutes, or until the edges of the crust are browned. The asparagus might be lightly charred. That’s a good thing.
Remove the pizza from the oven and sprinkle with the scallions. Let rest about 5 minutes, then slice and eat!

Orecchiette with Heirloom Fingerlings and Asparagus Pesto

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If there is ever a meal that will scream SPRING to you, this would have to be it. Beautiful spring produce, light and healthful, yet still filling and even felt right to eat it during a rainstorm. I did have to overcome one of my quirks to make this meal though.

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For whatever reason, and I really couldn’t give you anything specific, I have always been somewhat adamantly against what I call a “carb on carb” recipe. Mostly those involved potatoes meeting a bread, like potato tacos, or potato pizza, or potato pasta, but also included things like pasta on pizza, or lentils on pasta, etc. The whole thing just didn’t really make sense to me, and almost felt greedy, like you were hoarding the amount of carbs allotted to you by the universe and therefore depriving someone else.

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Don’t worry, I did have a practical objection in addition to my weird abstract protestation; I was also concerned that it just plain wouldn’t taste good. I figured it would be too heavy, or that the textures would be too similar. But I keep seeing such “carb on carb” recipes on the web, over and over and over, so I started to think that maybe there was something not so terrible about them.

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Well. I was wrong and the internet was right. Carb on carb is delicious! The textures did not clash at all, and the asparagus pesto salved any conscientious objections I may have had to eating all those carbs in a single sitting. I have a good hunch this won’t be my last carb on carb experience.

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By the way, the asparagus pesto was fantastic, I would highly recommend doubling that portion of the recipe and keeping it around. It would work so nicely on grilled chicken or pork tenderloin.

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A few recipe notes: after you have boiled your potatoes, make sure they are very dry, otherwise they will not brown in the sauté pan. Don’t ask me how I know this. And speaking of potatoes, this recipe calls for heirloom fingerling potatoes, which I would recommend trying to find as they are beautiful and delicious. But really any small potato will do. Same with the pasta shape – as long as you stick to something small, the recipe will work just fine. Orechiette is pretty widely available these days, but elbow macaroni, mini penne, or small shells would sub in nicely too.

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Source: slightly adapted from Webicurean

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus, tough ends snapped off
½ cup chopped basil, packed
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt & Pepper to taste
¾ lb heirloom fingerling potatoes, rinsed
2 tbsp olive oil
Salt & Pepper
1 lb orecchiette pasta
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese + some for garnish

Directions:
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt it generously. Meanwhile, prepare an ice bath by placing some ice cubes into a large bowl and filling with water. Salt it and mix the salt around with your fingers.
When the water is boiling, add the asparagus and blanch for about 1 minute. They should be bright green and still tender-crisp. Remove with a spider or other large slotted spoon and immediately plunge into the ice bath. This will stop the cooking and retain the lovely color. Leave the asparagus in there for a minute or two, then remove to a cutting board. Leave the water boiling, as you can use it for your potatoes and pasta!
Cut the asparagus into thirds, and add to a food processor bowl along with the basil, pine nuts, and garlic. Process until well chopped/blended, then drizzle in the olive oil while the food processor is still going.
Blend in the Parmesan using the pulse setting. Refrigerate until ready to use.
Resalt the boiling water. Halve the larger potatoes, and add to the boiling water. Cook for about 10 minutes or until tender. Remove with the spider to a bowl.
In a medium pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat, and add the potatoes, cooking until brown and crispy on all sides. Salt and pepper to taste.
Meanwhile, resalt the boiling water and add the pasta. Cook according to package directions. Reserve about ½ cup of the water before draining.
Add the drained pasta along with the crisped potatoes to a serving bowl and toss with about half the pesto and the remaining Parmesan cheese. Use the reserved pasta water to thin out the mixture if necessary. Add more pesto as desired (I used about three-quarters of it). Garnish with additional cheese and serve.

Roasted Asparagus with Bacon Vinaigrette

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Welcome to Part Seven of my Favorite Food Bloggers Series!

Shawnda and Jason are the couple behind the wonderful blog Confections of a Foodie Bride. Shawnda lives in Texas (so of COURSE I love her!) with her technically savvy husband Jason and their darling toddler. They manage the blog jointly, which I think is so cool! She does the cooking and photography and writing, while he works out the technical aspects and plays the role of official taste tester.

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Shawnda’s food is so unique and mouth-watering. She really goes after the big, bold flavors. And, she is a girl after my own heart in that she makes lots of scrumptious Tex-Mex, and that she is a self-confessed queso addict. Maybe we’ll meet at a Queso Addicts Anonymous meeting someday. I kid.

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She is also, like me, a margarita fiend. Her blog boasts a dizzying array of beautifully photographed, colorful margarita recipes, and I want to try them all. This section of her blog just speaks to me so much. Margaritas are probably my favorite type of cocktail, and tequila shots are most definitely my favorite kind of shot.

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I also just adore her burgers – she is so creative at coming up with inventive twists on the classic standby. I’ve spoken to her cooking and mixology abilities, but never fear, Shawnda also bakes quite a bit too. I’m definitely inspired to try her Shiner Bock hamburger buns. Not only is she immensely talented at all things cooking, baking, and drink-making, she is also an excellent photographer. And a generous one at that – check out her page for some tips and tricks to help your own picture taking mad skills.

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Initially, the plan was, without doubt, to make one of Shawnda’s margaritas for this feature. But, I was suffering a migraine while I was cooking up these recipes, and alcohol was not my friend, to say the least. So I chose a delicious side dish instead. This was so fantastic. Roasting the asparagus just gave it the best texture and an almost sweet flavor. And then you throw bacon on top and it’s almost too much. Matt and I eat a LOT of asparagus every spring, and this might be my favorite preparation thus far. Thank you for the fantastic recipe, and for your wonderful blog, Jason and Shawnda!

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Other drool-worthy recipes from Shawnda I considered making: Pineapple Margaritas; Homemade Moon Pies

Read the rest of this series!   Part One    Part Two    Part Three
Part Four    Part Five    Part Six    Part Eight    Part Nine    Part Ten

Source: Confections of a Foodie Bride

Ingredients:
1 large bundle of asparagus, woody ends snapped off
Olive oil
3 slices bacon, diced
3/4 cup chopped shallot (~1 1/2 medium shallots)
1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp Dijon mustard
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with foil.
Drizzle the asparagus with just a little olive oil – just enough to keep it from sticking to the foil – and bake on the lined baking sheet for ~15 minutes (thinner stalks a few minutes shorter, extra thick stalks longer).
Preheat a small skillet over medium-high heat, then fry the chopped bacon to a crisp in a medium pan.
Transfer bacon pieces with a slotted spoon to a paper towel-lined plate, leaving behind as much fat in the pan as possible.
Reduce heat to medium and saute the shallots until softened, 3-5 minutes.
Turn off the heat and add the white wine vinegar, stirring and scraping any browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Stir in the mustard and olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. If the dressing seems a little strong, add another teaspoon of olive oil.
Pour dressing and bacon over asparagus, lightly toss, and serve.

Chicken Pot Pie

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My darling husband is a pretty adventurous eater. He’ll try anything once, and fortunately he enjoys most things he eats. He doesn’t blink twice when I make something odd or new to him. And he’s such a great restaurant companion, especially in a foreign country, because often he’ll purposely order the most daring thing on the menu. I love it, he’s so great to cook for – such a good sport!

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So you know where this is going, right? You’ve probably guessed by now that I’m about to launch into the one ingredient that he hates, with a passion, I might add: ENGLISH PEAS. He’s always hated them, and probably always will.

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I used to fight this, partly because I do like peas, partly on sheer principles, and partly because it was a fun challenge I gave myself. I usually would make pea pesto. I put it on bruschetta once and he immediately noticed it. Another time I put the pea pesto on pasta, and he said he liked it, until I informed him of the secret ingredient, then he claimed he could taste the peas. Hmm… I also made a pea puree once, which was eaten with salmon, and he left most of the puree on his plate.

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But my crowning glory has to be the time I put peas on a pepperoni pizza. Yep, I went there. It was a Ted Allen recipe, so simple to prepare. You simply drizzle olive oil and minced garlic on pizza dough, sprinkle the peas around, then top with cheese, then top the cheese with pepperoni, and bake off. You couldn’t even see the peas! He did eat a slice without complaining, but I noticed he left me all the leftovers, something he never does with pizza. He does enjoy telling people that story though, even if he didn’t enjoy the pizza.

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So this is why my chicken pot pie, while pretty traditional in every other way, has asparagus and not peas in it. I chopped the asparagus to sort of resemble the size of peas, and so it would cook quickly. I wanted to make it the pie in the usual way with peas, but I didn’t think I could eat all the leftovers myself; so to avoid that, I knew I couldn’t put peas in there.  It was still quite delicious, especially for Matt. The things we do for love, huh? Please enjoy this one, with or without the peas.

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Source: adapted from A Year of Pies by Ashley English

Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter
1 medium onion, diced
3 small to medium carrots, peeled and diced
1 ½ cups sliced Cremini mushrooms
1 stalk celery, trimmed and diced
1 bundle of asparagus, tough ends snapped off, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 cups chicken stock
½ cup dry white wine
½ cup half-and-half
1 tsp dried thyme
1 lb. meat from a rotisserie chicken, shredded into bite-size pieces
1 9-inch unbaked pie crust, homemade (I used a half recipe of this pie dough) or the rolled-up store-bought kind
1 large egg yolk
1 tbs cold water

Directions:
Grease a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate. Set aside.
Melt 2 tbs butter in a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, mushrooms, and celery; sauté until softened and lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Add the asparagus and cook another 5 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium sized bowl. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 375 F.
Melt the remaining 6 tbs butter in the same skillet, then add the flour. Whisk constantly for 2 minutes, until the mixture turns a sort of blond color. Gradually stir in the chicken stock, whisking constantly to create a creamy sauce. Now whisk in the wine, half-and-half, and thyme, then cook, stirring frequently, 10 minutes longer until thickened. Return the vegetable mixture to the skillet, along with the shredded chicken. Stir until everything is coated with the sauce.
Assemble the pie: pour the chicken and vegetable mixture into the greased pie plate. Cover evenly with the chilled crust. Fold the dough overhang over on the edges of the dish and crimp decoratively if desired. Work quickly though.
Whisk the egg yolk and water in a small bowl, then use a pastry brush to brush the egg wash over the crust. With a sharp paring knife, cut 4 to 6 2-inch slits in the center of the crust, to create steam vents. Again, work quickly – the heat from the chicken can melt the fat in the crust, which you don’t want.
Set the pie plate on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 30 to 35 minutes, until the crust is golden brown.
Cool for 20 minutes before serving. (Sorry.)