Monthly Archives: April 2015
As a kid we used to pick asparagus along the ditches near our home in early spring. Mother always boiled it…YUCK!
Both of us love asparagus and it is in season here right now. In the past I always have done it on the grill, with garlic and Parmesan cheese. Sometimes I make asparagus fries in the oven with panko, egg and Parmesan. Feeling lazy I looked for something simpler. It was a lot less time consuming.
Baked Lemon Asparagus (http://natashaskitchen.com)
• 2 bunches asparagus
• 1 lemon
• 4 Tbsp butter
• Olive oil
• Salt & Pepper
• ½ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1. Rinse 2 bunches of asparagus and break off the ends by holding the base end and snapping it wherever it snaps.
2. Place asparagus in a large baking dish, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Squeeze ½ of a lemon over the asparagus. Cover the top third of the asparagus with lemon slices from the other half of your lemon (optional).
4. Thinly slice 4 tbsp of butter and line the center of the asparagus with butter.
5. Bake at 400°F for 12 minutes or until asparagus is tender. Remove asparagus from the oven and set oven to Broil.
6. Sprinkle the center of the asparagus with Parmesan cheese and broil 2-3 minutes or until cheese is melted and golden.
Several years ago we were in Fiesole, just outside Florence when we stopped for lunch at a small restaurant – Perseus. The special of the day was Ribollita, traditionally made with day old bread, tomatoes and cannelloni beans. Alas, it was not very memorable as it was mostly bread.
I just came across this version which had less bread, no beans and lots of tomato-ey flavour! We thought it was awesome and certainly worth making again. Heres a view of Fiesole –
Tuscan Bread and Tomato Soup
Extra virgin olive oil, plus high quality finishing oil, for garnish
1 large red onion, diced
Pinch crushed red pepper flakes
3 garlic cloves, smashed and finely chopped
1 cup white wine
2 pounds ripe summer tomatoes, diced (Substitute two cans of chopped tomatoes)
10 basil leaves, half whole and half cut into chiffonade
2 cups tomato juice
2 cups day-old Italian bread, crusts removed and cubed
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
Coat a large wide pot with olive oil over medium heat and add the onions. Season with salt and crushed red pepper, to taste, and cook until the onions are soft and very aromatic, about 8 to 10 minutes. Toss in the garlic and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Add the wine and cook until it has reduced by half. Stir in the tomatoes, season with salt, to taste, and cook until the tomatoes are really soft and juicy, about 12 to 15 minutes. Toss in the whole basil leaves.
Working in batches, carefully puree the tomatoes in a blender*. Return the tomato puree to the pot and add the tomato juice and the bread. Cook the soup over medium heat for until the bread has completely lost its shape and the soup is really thick, about 20 minutes. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning, if needed. (I usually skip this process as I like my soups chunkier, which means I just dd the bread to the pot. You decide!)
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve garnished with grated cheese, basil chiffonade and a drizzle of big fat finishing oil.
*When blending hot liquids: Remove liquid from the heat and allow to cool for at least 5 minutes. Transfer liquid to a blender or food processor and fill it no more than halfway. If using a blender, release one corner of the lid. This prevents the vacuum effect that creates heat explosions. Place a towel over the top of the machine, pulse a few times then process on high speed until smooth.
Recipe courtesy Anne Burrell
Happy Easter to all! Hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Looking for a summery menu a week ago, I decided to make my favourite two salads, Amish Macaroni and June Vance’s Four Bean. I wasn’t in the mood for hamburgers and went searching for something a little different as a quick accompaniment. I found it in this sandwich which mimics one of my other favourite salads, Cabrese, with mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and fresh basil. Just before we sat down to eat I assembled the prepared ingredients and fired up our stove top grill…the result was awesome!
Grilled Margherita Sandwiches (Adapted from CookingClub.com)
Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: about 10 minutes Level: easy Makes: 4 sandwiches
• 8 (1/2-inch) slices crusty Italian bread
• 2 large garlic cloves, quartered
• 4 to 8 thin slices whole-milk mozzarella cheese (about 3 oz.) (I was tempted to use goat)
• 2 large plum tomatoes, thinly sliced
• 2 or 3 fresh basil leaves per sandwich
• 1/2 teaspoon garlic-pepper seasoning
• 1 -2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
• Roasted peppers (optional)
Rub both sides of each bread slice with garlic and a little extra virgin olive oil. Place 4 slices on work surface; top each with one-fourth of the cheese and half of the tomato, roasted peppers and basil. Sprinkle each with 1/8 teaspoon of the seasoning; top with remaining cheese and bread slices.
Brush tops of sandwiches with some of the oil; sprinkle with some of the seasoning. Heat 1 teaspoon of the oil in large skillet or on a stove-top grill over medium heat until hot.You could use a panini press I guess.
Place sandwiches, brushed-sides down, in skillet; cover and cook 4 to 5 minutes or until golden brown and cheese on bottom of sandwich begins to melt.
Reduce heat to medium-low. Brush tops of sandwiches with remaining oil; sprinkle with remaining seasoning. Turn; cover and cook 2 to 4 minutes or until golden brown and cheese is melted.
Apologies for interfering with your busy weekend, but I just wanted to share with you that sometime during the night this blog reached 10,000 views! I am overwhelmed at that so many people have taken the time to stop by…I intend to keep going and hope you will continue to check out this site and share it with your friends.