Tag Archives: asparagus

Book Club: Dill & Egg Potato Salad and Spring Vegetable Potato Salad

I hosted my Book Club at our house a couple of weeks ago, there were 8 of us here to talk about The Corrections, and catch up on what’s going on in our lives.  Check out what else was on the Book Club menu!

I almost forgot to post the potato salad recipes from when I hosted Book Club.  Since summer is here, these are the perfect dishes to bring over to a friends BBQ, or for a picnic.  I wasn’t sure what kind of potato salad everyone liked, so I decided to make 2 different ones, hopefully satisfying everyone’s taste buds.

I ended up cooking all of the potatoes together to save time, and just divided them amongst the two salads.  Both can be made the day before, just don’t add the vinaigrette until the last minute, or else the salad will get soggy!

Dill & Egg Potato Salad
Adapted from: So Good and Tasty

6-8 baby red potatoes, washed
1/4 cup chives, minced
1/4 cup dill, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp whole grain mustard
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/4 red pepper flakes (optional)
2 hard boiled eggs, chopped

Add potatoes to a large pot, pour water over them.  Turn on the heat and bring water to a boil, cook the potatoes until they are soft in the middle so a knife can easily pierce through (the time will depend on the size of the potatoes).  When the potatoes are done, rinse them under cold water.  Then chop them into quarters or smaller pieces.

To make the dressing add all of these ingredients into a small bowl, then whisk them together: chives, dill, garlic, vinegar, olive oil, Dijon mustard, whole grain mustard, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes.

Toss the potatoes, eggs and dressing together- then serve.

Spring Vegetable Potato Salad
Adapted from: Smitten Kitchen

8-10 fingerling potatoes
1 lb asparagus, chopped into 1 inch pieces
2 cups sugar snap peas, cut into halves
4 radishes, thinly sliced
4 spring onions, chopped (or green onions)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tbsp whole grain mustard
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Add potatoes to a large pot, pour water over them.  Turn on the heat and bring water to a boil, cook the potatoes until they are soft in the middle so a knife can easily pierce through (the time will depend on the size of the potatoes).  When the potatoes are done, rinse them under cold water.  Then chop them into quarters or smaller pieces, add them to a large bowl.

Bring water to a boil in a small pot.  Add in the asparagus and cook it for 2-3 minutes.  Drain it and place it in a bowl of ice cold water for 3 minutes.  Drain it again, and add it into the bowl filled with potatoes.

To the potatoes and asparagus, add the: sugar snap peas, radishes, spring onions and garlic.

In a small bowl whisk together the ingredients for the dressing: olive oil, whole grain mustard, Dijon mustard, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper.

Finally, toss the dressing with the vegetables and serve.

Food Matters Project #15: Bruschetta

With summer just around the corner, I try to find recipes which are easy to make and can be enjoyed outside with friends.  Our condo porch is rather small, but we do like to have friends over on the roof of our building.  It’s nice to enjoy many evenings with a bottle of wine, some finger foods and great conversations.

This weeks Food Matters Project definitely gave me some more ideas!  Laura, from Chef Laura at Home chose this weeks recipe from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  She chose Bruschetta, Rethought- Mark Bittman provided some new ideas for bruschetta.  This definitely allows us to be a little creative!  Laura made a Simple Bruschetta, if you’d like to check out other ideas look at the comments here.

Many of us imagine a tomato salad on a piece of bread when we think of bruschetta (which is on the menu of every Italian restaurant in the US).  Although that is one form of bruschetta, there is more to it than tomatoes.  It is an Italian antipasto with a variety of toppings, such as: red pepper, tomato, vegetables, beans, cheese, cured meats or tomatoes.  One of these tops a piece of bread which was rubbed with garlic and olive oil.

On Saturday, Sam and I played tennis in the early afternoon and sat on our roof snacking and enjoying Pimm’s.  It was a wonderful afternoon- so relaxing!  We did not grill our bread since it was fresh out of the oven (recipe will follow later this week!).  This is a great meal to improvise to what you have on hand, or what you’re in the mood to make.

Green Bruschetta
Inspired from: The Food Matters Cookbook (pg 175)

I could not find fava beans in the grocery story, but had some lima beans in our freezer.  Edamame or peas would also work.

1 cup lima beans
3 tbsp pecorino cheese
1/2 cup lima bean cooking liquid
1 bunch of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

In a small saucepan, cook lima beans until they are well done.  Save some of the liquid while draining, and put them into a food processor.  Add the pecorino cheese and liquid, puree.

Bring a small pot of water to a boil, then add the asparagus.  Cook for about 2-3 minutes, then drain and cool with cold water.

Mix the pureed lima beans, asparagus and lemon juice.  Add salt and pepper, stir well to combine all of the ingredients together.  Serve with some bread or crackers.


Mushroomy Bruschetta
Inspired by: A Couple Cooks

There is nothing tastier in life than onions, mushrooms and butter.  This was delicious.  I think we’ll try to remake this as a pasta sauce! 

2 tbsp butter
1/4 large onion, chopped finely
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp thyme, finely chopped
1 tbsp oregano, finely chopped
4 oz herbed goat cheese (ex: Vermont Creamery Herb Chèvre)
1/8 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Allow 1 tbsp of butter to melt in a saucepan.  Then add the onions, allow them to cook until translucent and slightly creamy.  Then add the garlic, cook for about 3 minutes.  Then add the mushrooms, 1 tbsp of butter, oregano, thyme, salt and pepper.  Cook them until they are soft, about 5 minutes.  Then add in the goat cheese, stir until the cheese is part of the sauce.

Feel free to dip some bread into the sauce, and top your bread piece with the mushrooms.

Food Matters Project #13: Asparagus & White Bean Soup

Yes, it’s another Monday and a new Food Matter Project recipe!  Since we were visiting friends in Boston this weekend (check out our Sam Adams Brewery tour), we actually made this soup last week.  It was easy to make and very delicious!

This weeks recipe was chosen by Adrienne, of Adrienneats.  She chose the Roasted Asparagus and White Bean Soup with Parmesan from Mark Bittman’s The Food Matters Cookbook.  Check out what others did here, scroll down to the comments.

This was a great soup- the beans made it very filling and gave this soup lots of flavor.  Since I was trying to use up some other produce in our fridge, I added extra veggies- so definitely feel free to swap or add more.

I can’t seems to stop buying asparagus at our Penn Quarter Farmer’s Market- this last week I walked away with 3 bunches!  The farmer selling it was wondering what I was going to do with so much (but that’s for another post)!

Remember: when buying asparagus look for firm stalks with purple tinge tips.  The ends of the stems should be fresh and moist.  It should be used soon after buying, but if it needs to stay in the fridge for a couple of days then cut off about 1 inch from the base and set the asparagus bunch upright in a container filled with some water (up to 4 days).

Asparagus and White Bean Soup
Adapted from: The Food Matters Cookbook (page 110)

Mark Bittman suggests puréeing the soup, to make it smoother- if you prefer chunkier soups, feel free to omit this step.  I soaked and cooked dry beans, but canned beans will also work great.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 oz pancetta, chopped
3 carrots, peeled & chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp fresh thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine (recommend: Bogle Chardonnay)
2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled & chopped
6 cups chicken or veggie stock
2 cups of water
1 1/2 cups of cooked cannellini beans
1 1/2 cups of cooked navy beans
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 lb asparagus
2 oz Parmesan cheese, shredded

Heat up the olive oil in a large soup pot.  Once the olive oil is warm, add the onion.  Sauté for up to 5 minutes, when the onions become translucent.  Then add the pancetta, sauté until the meat starts to brown.  Add the carrot, garlic and thyme, allow to cook for another 2 minutes.  Then add the white wine, stir to loosen the vegetable and pancetta pieces.

While stirring add the potatoes, stock and water.  Bring the soup to a boil, then simmer for 20-30 minutes.  Stir infrequently until the potatoes have cooked (should be soft when you stick a fork into them).

Add in the beans, and cook for another 10-15 minutes.  Season the soup with 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Finally, puree about half of the soup in a food processor, mix both halves together.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.  Meanwhile, put the asparagus on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, 1/2 tsp of salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper.  Roast for about 15 minutes, or when the asparagus begins to brown.

Pour soup into a bowl, dress it with pieces of asparagus and a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese.

Summer: Asparagus, Tuna & Bean Salad

Summer is here, and so are all lighter meals, which is the reason for this salad.  That, and I had a huge craving for tuna!

Summer is one of those seasons that blows by us, it always seems far too brief.  I remind myself to enjoy it- the outdoors, the warm weather (or humidity), the hot sun, and the long days.  It’s that time of the year when we allow some of our obligations to slip away a little (or put off for another day or two).  Instead, we spend it with our friends and family, outdoors.  Sometimes it’s those BBQ’s on our porches, or happy hours outside on gorgeous Thursday afternoons; other times it’s reading by a tree, or enjoy the sand between our toes at the beach.  Yes, that’s what summer is all about.  So keep reminding yourself to sip some cocktails with your friends, linger over a couple more pages in that book, stargaze, daydream or enjoy a nap in the sun.

Summer also brings amazing vegetables (and fruits) that we definitely need to take advantage of- asparagus being one of them.  So go to your farmer’s market, grab a bunch of asparagus, and throw together this salad.  The tuna can be exchanged for chicken (or none of the above).  Cannellini beans can also be substituted for something else that works for you.  Then, take that salad outside with a glass of wine, relax, and enjoy!  Don’t let summer slip away!

Asparagus, Tuna & Bean Salad
Adapted from: Cooking Light (April 2011)

1 bunch of asparagus (about 30), washed & cut into thirds
3 tbsp capers
1/4 cup parsley, chopped
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
juice of 1 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter, melted
pinch of salt
pinch of pepper
2 tomatoes, diced
1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, rinsed & drained
1 head of bibb lettuce (feel free to use others)
1 (5 oz) can tuna, drained

Heat water in a small pot.  Once the water is boiling, steam the asparagus, covered, for about 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water, drain.

In a small bowl combine: capers, parsley, vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, butter, salt and pepper.  Stir well until all of the ingredients are combined.

In a large bowl combine the asparagus, tomatoes, white beans and the juice mixture.  Chop up the lettuce into smaller pieces.  Add the vegetable and juice mixture on top.  Lastly, add pieces of the tuna over the salad.

Asparagus & Broccoli Orzo Salad

Not having access to the Internet is a lot more difficult than I thought (well, at least when you’re not on vacation).  Last week was my first at my new job.  After rewriting my name, filling in all the special numbers, having my picture taken, and signing my name about 30 times- I am now allowed to have computer access!  Success!  I felt very out of touch with the world up until today.  Unless someone left a paper copy of an article, or was talking about a specific topic, I had no idea what was going on in the world (yes, that includes the Prince William-Kate wedding gossip).  So for all of those that have had busy days, this is a perfect salad- either to eat during your lunch hour, or enjoy when you get home and don’t have time to do much.

It’s asparagus season!  Last week I saw it for the first time at our Farmer’s Market, so it’s time to get cooking with it.  This is a great spring recipe- light, flavorful and fast.  Although I had made it for friends (when I made this dessert), we had plenty of leftovers for the two of us.  We don’t tend to buy alfalfa sprouts often, just because if you don’t use them fast enough they’ll get all soggy, but this was definitely a fantastic edition to this salad.

Asparagus & Broccoli Orzo Salad
Inspired from: 101 Cookbooks

1 cup orzo pasta, uncooked
1 lb asparagus; washed, trimmed, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 head of broccoli, cut into small florets
juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
3 tbsp salt
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups alfalfa sprouts
1 cucumber, quartered and cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup feta, crumbled

Bring a large pot to a boil, add 1 tbsp of salt.  Once the water is boiling, add the orzo and cook per package instructions.

This next step can be done in 2 ways:

1) About 30 seconds before the orzo is finished cooking, stir in the asparagus and broccoli.  Cook for 30 seconds, then drain and run cold water over the 3 ingredients.

OR

2) Once the orzo is cooked, drain it and run cold water of the pasta.  Then boil another pot of water, add the asparagus and broccoli for about 1/2-1 minute.  Then drain and run cold water over the vegetables.

In a small bowl whisk together the dressing: lemon juice, olive oil and 2 tbsp of salt.

Add the orzo, asparagus and broccoli to a large bowl.  Then toss those ingredients with the dressing.  Finally, add the alfalfa sprouts, cucumber, cherry tomatoes, and feta.  Toss once more for all of the ingredients to mix well.