Tag Archives: asparagus

Lookie here!

23 Mar

I stumbled across a few really interesting links today and figured I’d share.

Cooking light posted a great article about common cooking mistakes (and how to remedy them). I first glanced at it expecting rookie mistakes, but it covers a good range of foibles and fixes for all skill levels. For instance, I already knew that my oven has a mind of it’s own (roughly the same as a sadistic toddler), but I hadn’t thought of doing the bread test (pictured above). I don’t have any white bread in the house, but I’ll pick up a cheap loaf at the store this weekend to see where my oven’s hotspots are. Maybe this way I won’t have to break every recipe into 7 minute increments punctuated by rotations, switches, and general dancing of hot pans. Check out the article  here !

Recently I was a bit restless after a bartending shift, so I figured I’d swing by my old favorite dumpster to see what it had in store. I hadn’t been dumpstering in years, so I’m not really sure what provoked me to give it a go that particular night, but I’m glad I did. After 3 minutes I was loading my car with fresh roses, tulips, and daisies and an entire crate of olive oil. The oil was shipped fresh from Italy that day, it was printed on the box, so it wasn’t expired. I’m assuming that since the box had a lot of oil on the outside it was tossed on the presumption that the bottles inside were damaged. Well, aside for a few dents on some of their lids, they were all fine, and now I’m swimming in olive oil. I gave a few bottles away, but even though I use it regularly I thought it might be fun to make a few infused oils to have around for salads or cooking with meats. Here’s a link to some ideas on infusing oils (I’ll be trying it out next weekend, after I’ve finished the food review I’m putting off at this very moment). Apparently though, garlic infused oils have killed approximately 3,000 baby koala bears and blinded just as many kittens, so avoid that, lest the botulism snag you too.

Also, here’s a video of the best kind of sandwich joint I can imagine. If and when I ever get the chance to go to New York, I want to seek out all the little places like this. Here’s the quick little video that is guaranteed to make you want corned beef in and around your mouth (followed by a milkshake, omg).

And lastly, since today was such a lovely spring day (bike ride in a tee shirt!? Granted, I had goosebumps the whole time, but it still felt great), I’m thinking a little about spring produce. Asparagus season is upon us, when I can happily bury my face in a pile of roasted asparagus with nothing but some oil, salt, and pepper. But I did learn something today that surprised me… kitchn.com debunked the “thin asparagus is better than thick” debate! Who knew?

One Pot Wonder

22 May

Well folks, since I haven’t seen one saved soul floating up towards the sky today, it looks like the rapture is off. Oh, well. I celebrated the possible Last Day yesterday with plenty of sunshine, a sunburn, a Bike to Work Day pancake feed, live bands, copious bike riding, and a one pot dish that fed my faith in humanity (or food, whatever).

I had met with my buddy Dave (hi, Dave!) and over a drink at the Beaver we discussed what I might make for dinner.. and he was all OH MAN I’VE CREATED THE BEST ONE-POT DISH EVERRRR. So I wrote down what he said, substituted a few things (went for mussels instead of scallops, lobster ravioli instead of spinach, etc) and added a dash of this and that, and suddenly I was poised with my fork halfway to my mouth to watch C’s reaction to my dinner. Watching people eat what I make is perhaps even better than tasting it myself. I improvised a recipe as I went along, so here it is!

Dave’s One Pot Wonder (as interpreted by my mussel loving self)

1 lb live mussels
1 package (two servings) lobster ravioli
1/3 lb prawns
3/4 of a naval orange
2 Tb finely chopped shallots
3 cloves diced garlic
1/3 C heavy cream
1/2 lb asparagus
4 Tb shredded mozzerella
3 Tb shaved parmesan
dash of cinnamon
dash of red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

First, rinse the mussels, remove the beards, and set aside. Rinse the shrimp too, since that water that accumulates in the seafood department bags is foul. Prepare the asparagus by bending each stock gently with two hands until it snaps in two. Get rid of the lower, woody ends of the asparagus and chop the asparagus on a bias, in 1/2 inch pieces. Save the tips of the asparagus separately, since those get cooked last to avoid any mushiness.

In the pan, over medium high heat, saute the asparagus in some butter. After it has gotten slightly tender, turn the heat down to medium, add the garlic and shallots and squeeze the juice out of the orange into the pan. If you need to, add a touch of water to allow a bit of extra liquid for softening.

Once the asparagus is al dente, add the cream, the cheeses, the cinnamon, red pepper, and s&p. Simmer for a bit to help encapsulate the flavors and soften the asparagus a bit more (about 5 minutes).

Next, add the asparagus tips and the ravioli. This ravioli wasn’t pre-cooked, but since all it needed was a bit of liquid and some steam, I just covered the pan for a little while. Once the ravioli starts to puff up you can add the mussels and shrimp. Cover again (you can add the rest of the orange’s juice if you like) until the mussels have opened up and the shrimp is a soft pink color. Garnish with the cilantro, and VOILA!

Actually, I had asked C to chop some parsley for me, but instead he accidentally chopped cilantro. It turns out that the cilantro worked really well with the subtle heat of the red pepper and the spicy mulled flavor of the cinnamon, which lent the whole dish a very beachy Moroccan (or maybe Caribbean?) flavor. It sounds like a weird flavor profile, but I promise (and so does C) that it was really killer and totally Impress-Your-Date worthy.

Between that meal and our outdoor, sun-infused pancakes of the morning, I was feeling like if all HAD ended today, I might have been pretty satisfied.

Then again, I’m 1000% unprepared for the apocolypse since I don’t own a first aid kit or even a flashlight (let alone a flame thrower, any heavy artillery, or a stockpile of beans or dog food or whatever it is you nut jobs plan of eating for the rest of the End of Days). Looks like I have some work to do.

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