Friday, May 29, 2009

Inspired by Spring Produce, part 1

Working with seasonal foods I'm realizing I've really got to be on the ball as far as figuring out recipes and getting them up on the blog goes! I meant to post these sooner, really, so now you get four recipes all in one go. You can expect a lovage soup recipe real soon, as well as that PMS tutorial as promised, ladies.

Citrusy Roasted Asparagus


Love these! Just can't get enough asparagus this time of year, really!
Prep tips:
* Pencil-thin asparagus will just snap at the bottom, naturally breaking at the woodier part that you won't want to eat. With thicker shoots, cut off the bottom centimeter (or so), then peel off just the bottom inch of the remaining shoot.
* Be sure to zest your lemon before you cut it open and juice it! (You could also try this with lime or orange.)


1 lb asparagus, trimmed (see note above)
1 tsp + 2 tbsp olive oil (divided like that)
2 tbsp lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
1 tsp. lemon zest (organic preferred)
1/4 tsp sea salt
freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 425oF.
Place the asparagus in a roasting pan (one where they'll all find nicely in one layer). Add the tsp olive oil, toss and slide them in the oven and roast for 20-30 minutes (depending on their thickness), until the skin begins to blister and they are tender when pierced with a sharp knife.
While the roasting is happening, pour the lemon juice into the smallest of saucepans and warm over medium heat to reduce to half the amount (so you'd have a tbsp remaining). Remove from the heat and whisk in the remaining oil, zest and salt. Pour this over the roasted asparagus (once they've come out of the over) and pepper to taste. Serve hot.
Makes 3 servings.


Garlic Roasted Fiddleheads

If you haven't discovered fiddlehead ferns before, now's the time! They're a cute spring delicacy somewhat similar to asparagus (though not by looks!). And in this recipe these little suckers turn out a little like olives in their succulentness, but that may just be me.
Turns out you have GOT to wash and blanch/boil fiddleheads before eating them to release some natural toxin that is sometimes present. I'm glad Lisa, my cooking companion, warned me about this - turns out she hadn't done it when preparing some a few days earlier and got a pretty bad stomach ache!


3 cups fiddleheads, trimmed
3 new garlics, chopped or 12 medium cloves garlic, halved lengthwise
2 tbsp olive oil
3/4 tsp sea salt

Preheat the oven to 450oF.
Put a pot of water on to boil, and once boiling, toss in the fiddleheads and blanch them for 4 minutes. Drain, run under cold water, and transfer to a roasting pan (one where they'll all find nicely in one layer). Add the garlic, olive oil and salt and toss.
Slide them in the oven and roast for 10-15 minutes, until the fiddleheads begin to brown. Serve hot, topped with Creemy Ramp Dressing (below).
Makes 3 servings.


Creemy Ramp Dressing

I've really been enjoying this one! If it's too thick for your liking, feel free to water it down a tad.
1 cup olive oil
1/2 cup chopped wild leeks (bulbs and leaves)
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup light miso paste
1 tsp. prepared mustard

Place all ingredients in a blender or food processor (or handblender jar/cup) and blend till very smooth (about 1 minute). Serve over veggies, cooked grains or salad.
Makes 2 cups. Best used immediately, but will store in the fridge in an airtight jar for up to 5 days.


Wild Leeks with Wild Rice


Dominika felt there needed to be some carrot shavings in here, but I just couldn't wrap my head around it. Both she and Ryan weren't sure about the texture of the amaranth in there - I like it, but if you're apprehensive, go for the millet or additional brown rice.

1-2 tbsp olive oil
12 wild leeks (to make 1 cup sliced bulbs and 1 cup packed sliced leaves and stems)
1 new garlic (about 2 ft), chopped, or 4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp rosemary
2 tsp sage
2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 cup brown rice, rinsed
1/2 cup wild rice, rinsed
1/2 cup amaranth or millet (or additional brown rice)
3 1/2 cups hot vegetable stock or just-boiled water
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat the oil in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Toss in the wild leek bulbs (not the leaves yet!) and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes, reducing heat if needed to prevent browning. Mix in the herbs and salt, followed by the grains. Stir.

Pour in the hot veg stock or water, turn up the heat to bring it all to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook about 40 minutes, until the wild rice is al dente. Remove from the heat, stir in the chopped wild leek leaves and stems, and black pepper and serve hot, perhaps with something like marinaded and grilled tempeh, as we did.
Makes about 6 servings.

* * *
Lisa and I have another cookdate tonight, so don't forget to come back next week!

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