Category Archives: asparagus

Asparagus w/ Chorizo & Croutons

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I love asparagus for its mild, spring like flavor but in this dish, from the Smitten Kitchen, this wonderful vegetable takes on a whole new persona. The spices of Spanish chorizo sausage combines with crusty croutons, crunchy almonds and tender white beans and the asparagus in a surprisingly flavorful and definitely interesting dish. Trust me on this one, the combination of ingredients might seem a bit odd but the results are out of this world. Plus the dish is fast to make. So fast and easy that it just might be one of my favorite Fast Friday dishes yet. So try it for yourself before the asparagus is gone for the season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

ASPARAGUS w/ CHORIZO & CROUTONS

1 pound thick asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces Spanish chorizo cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups French bread croutons cut into 3/4 inch peices
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup cooked beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus stalk and cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, croutons, almonds and salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Cover and sauté over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes (thinner asparagus might be done sooner), tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks on all sides.
  • Add the beans and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Toss and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the beans are heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

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Green Vegetable Risotto

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Spring is in the air, well sort of. At least it is here in Belgium. And the calendar definitely says it is spring which means that the fresh baby vegetables are beginning to replace hearty root vegetables at the stands in the markets. So what better way to celebrate the new season than with this easy risotto that is filled with the best fresh vegetables that spring has to offer?

Marking risotto is more of a formula rather than an exact recipe. Rice is slowly cooked in a mixture of broth and white wine. When the rice is al dente, you stir in the add-ins of your choice which in this case is the freshest of the baby vegetables I found at the market. Feel free to substitute whatever vegetables you like or that look good. And the final touch is the creamy addition of both parmesan cheese and creme fraiche (you can substitute sour cream if you prefer) which adds a touch of tang while bringing the entire dish together.

Enjoy the risotto as a meal unto itself or alongside your favorite grilled meat. Just be sure to have the rest of your meal ready before you finish the risotto since it truly tastes best when eaten immediately.

GREEN VEGETABLE RISOTTO

3/4  c green beans, blanched and snapped into 1 inch pieces

3/4 c sugar snap peas

3/4 c asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 cup dry white wine

3 cups low sodium chicken broth

1 small shallot, minced

 

1 green onion – white part only- mince

1/4 cup creme fraiche

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

top with sliced green onion  (Green part)

 

  • Fill a medium sized pan with water and bring to a boil.
  • Add the green beans, snap peas and asparagus.
  • Cook for 30 seconds, drain in a colander and immediately rinse with cold water. Set aside.
  • Combine the broth and white wine in a large saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium-high heat.  Reduce the temperature but keep the broth mixture hot.
  • In a large saucepan melt the butter over medium heat.  Add the shallot and saute until it is soft and golden.
  • Add the rice and stir to combine making sure each grain of rice is coated with butter.
  • Gradually add the hot broth to the rice by the ladleful, stirring to combine after each addition.  Continue to stir the rice often to keep it from sticking.
  • Continue adding the broth being sure to add the next ladle before the rice has cooked itself dry.  Repeat this process until the rice is tender to the bite.  You may not need to use all of the broth.
  • Prior to adding the last ladle of broth, stir in the vegetables and the green onion to the rice and stir to combine.
  • Off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese and creme fraiche.
  • Top with sliced green onion.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Asparagus w/ Chorizo & Croutons

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion.  If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love asparagus for its mild, spring like flavor but in this dish, from the Smitten Kitchen, this wonderful vegetable takes on a whole new persona. The spices of Spanish chorizo sausage combines with crusty croutons, crunchy almonds and tender white beans and the asparagus in a surprisingly flavorful and definitely interesting dish. Trust me on this one, the combination of ingredients might seem a bit odd but the results are out of this world. Plus the dish is fast to make. So fast and easy that it just might be one of my favorite Fast Friday dishes yet. So try it for yourself before the asparagus is gone for the season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.

ASPARAGUS w/ CHORIZO & CROUTONS

1 pound thick asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces Spanish chorizo cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups French bread croutons cut into 3/4 inch peices
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup cooked beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus stalk and cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, croutons, almonds and salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Cover and sauté over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes (thinner asparagus might be done sooner), tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks on all sides.
  • Add the beans and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Toss and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the beans are heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

 

Lemon Roasted Asparagus

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Fresh local asparagus is everywhere this time of year and it seems like rarely does a meal go by where I don’t serve some version of this green vegetable. And as much as I love it as an addition to other dishes, sometimes the simplest form of the vegetable is the best. Hence this fast and easy lemon roasted version from Williams Sonoma. The asparagus roasts in a matter of minutes and is the perfect accompaniment to grilled meats and fish. Of course, I’ve also been known to eat a plate of it as a meal all by itself.

LEMON ROASTED ASPARAGUS

2  pounds asparagus, tough ends trimmed

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

Zest of 1 lemon

1 teaspoon salt

1teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 lemon, cut into slices and seeded

  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.
  • Arrange the asparagus on a large rimmed baking sheet.
  • In a small bowl whisk together the olive oil, garlic and lemon zest.
  • Brush the asparagus evenly with the oil, turning the spears to coat well, and season with the salt and pepper. Arrange the lemon slices around the asparagus.
  • Roast until the asparagus is tender and just turning golden, 6 to 8 minutes.
  • Transfer the asparagus to a warmed serving platter and drizzle with the pan juices.

Serves 8

Steak & Asparagus Stir Fry

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

Spring is upon us and chances are asparagus is popping up at your local farmer’s markets. Nothing says spring to me like those tender bright green spears. I love to eat it steamed with just a dash of salt and I have been known to eat the tenderest of spears raw. But if you are looking for a dish to add your asparagus to, try this super easy stir fry adapted from Cooking Light. It is fast and flavorful and sure to please. Serve it over brown rice and you will have a complete dinner on the table in no time.

STEAK & ASPARAGUS STIR FRY

1/4 cup unsalted chicken stock

1 1/2 tablespoons oyster sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

1 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger

1 tablespoon grated fresh garlic

1 teaspoon corn starch

5 teaspoons canola oil, divided

12 ounces boneless sirloin or other lean steak, cut into 1/4 inch strips

12 ounces fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces

1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

1 medium yellow bell pepper, seeded and cut into strips

1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper

3 green onions, chopped

  • Combine the first six ingredients in a small bowl, stirring well with a whisk.
  • Heat a large wok over high heat. Add 3 teaspoons of the oil to the wok and swirl to coat.
  • Add the beef and stir fry until browned by not cooked through, about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Place the beef on a platter and discard any liquid that remains in the wok.
  • Return the wok to high heat and add the remaining oil and swirl to coat.
  • Add the asparagus and bell pepper and stir fry for 2 minutes.
  • Add the crushed red pepper and green onions and stir fry for an additional 30 seconds.
  • Reduce the heat to medium-high. Add the stock mixture and cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce is slightly thickened.
  • Return the beef and any accumulated juices to the pan and cook for an additional 1 minute.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Ham, Cheese & Asparagus Filled Crepes

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It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love this dish. It can be the ultimate leftover meal–if as I do, you have pre-cooked ham and a stash of pre-made crepes sitting in your fridge or freezer–or you can make it completely from scratch. Made with leftovers it is the ideal “Fast Friday” dinner; not so much if you make all of the components from scratch at dinner time, but it is delicious just the same.

I love homemade crepes and when I make them, I usually make a double batch then stash the extra in the freezer for quick meals (like this one). If your crepes are frozen, simply let them defrost in the refrigerator during the day and then they will be ready for assembly once dinner time rolls around. And the ham? My family is a fan of spiral cut hams but even the smallest ones out there produce a lot of meat for a family of three. My solution is to enjoy a meal or two with the meat then cut it off the bone and freeze it for later use. Again, it is perfect for this meal.

To make this extra special, and decadent, top with a spoonful of hollandaise sauce. Now that is good.

HAM, CHEESE & ASPARAGUS STUFFED CREPES

1 bunch asparagus

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

8 crepes

16 slices pre-cooked ham

8 thin slices Gruyere cheese

  • Trim the asparagus and steam until just tender crisp. Drain and rinse under cold water. Set aside.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large non-stick skillet. Once the butter has melted, add the ham and saute until warmed through. Remove the ham from the skillet but do not clean it.

To assemble the crepes:

  • Lay one crepe on a flat surface and place a slice of cheese in its center.
  • Top with two slices of ham and then three or four spears of asparagus.
  • Fold the bottom quarter of the crepe up towards the center then fold the sides in. You want to form an envelope with its top kept open.
  • Move the filled crepe to a plate and place seam side down.
  • Repeat with the remaining crepes and filling.

To cook the crepes:

  • Melt the remaining butter in the skillet.
  • Working in two batches, place the crepes seam side down in the melted butter and saute for 3-4 minutes.
  • Carefully turn the crepes over and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes.

Serves 4

Lemony Pasta Primavera

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I love to eat pasta any time of the year but sometimes the summer weather calls for something on the lighter side. My answer is this lemon infused pasta Primavera. Filled with fresh vegetables, it is flavorful and creamy without being overwhelming. I love the colorful combination of peppers, carrots, snap peas and asparagus but feel free to use whatever combination of fresh vegetables you desire. Just be sure to cook them in batches so they don’t get over done. You want all of the vegetables to be al dente rather than mushy.

LEMONY PASTA PRIMAVERA

1 box farfalle or other small pasta, cooked according to the package instructions

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

1 small shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup thinly sliced carrots

1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup sugar snap peas

1 cup baby asparagus, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4 cup dry sherry

1 cup low sodium chicken broth

1 cup half & half

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons minced basil

1 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest

Salt & pepper to taste

  • Set a large stock pot filled with water over high heat. When the water boils cook the pasta according to manufacturer’s instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and garlic and stirring occasionally, saute until soft and lightly browned, 2-3 minutes. Remove from the pan and place on a large plate.
  • Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in the skillet. Add the carrots and cook for 1 minute. Add in the red and yellow peppers and saute for an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the skillet and add to the reserved shallots and garlic.
  • Add the remaining butter to the skillet. Add the sugar snap peas and asparagus and saute for 2 minutes. Remove from the pan and set aside with the other reserved vegetables.
  • Increase the heat to high and add the sherry, scraping the bottom of the pan well to removed any stuck on pieces. Cook for several minutes until the mixture has reduced by half.
  • Add the chicken broth and cook for 5-6 minutes until the mixture is further reduced and slightly syrupy.
  • Reduce the heat to medium low and stir in the half and half and the cheese. Stir well and cook just until the cheese has melted and the sauce is warm.
  • Add the basil and lemon zest to the sauce and season with salt and pepper.
  • Return the vegetables to the skillet and toss well to coat.
  • Add the cooked pasta to the vegetables and cream and heat for 1 minute, stirring well to combine.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 6

 

 

 

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