Posts tagged ‘Asparagus’

Pasta d’Hiver


I was craving some pasta primavera this week, just as the temperatures dropped and I finally had to break out my early-winter coat. Knowing that I couldn’t head to the farmer’s market for fresh spring vegetables, I did the next best thing and went to my freezer for peas, asparagus spears and broccoli to toss with pasta and some fine cheeses. If you didn’t manage to put up freezer vegetables for winter, don’t worry. Some commercial frozen vegetables are really high quality these days (I’m especially partial to the Europe’s Best and Trader Joe’s brands), and frozen vegetables are just as good for you as the fresh versions available in the spring. Frozen vegetables from local sources are also a great alternative to the fresh produce that is being flown in from farther and farther away at this time of year.

Rather than making a traditional cream sauce, I tossed the pasta here with cheese, butter and vegetables. It’s (slightly) lower in fat and I enjoy the texture and sharper taste.

Pasta d’Hiver
Serves 4 – 6

8 oz. whole wheat spaghetti
1½ cups frozen broccoli
1 cup frozen asparagus
1 cup frozen peas
3 Tbsp. butter
¾ cup Feta cheese
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
½ tsp. freshly ground pepper
½ tsp. dried basil
¼ tsp. dried dill
¼ tsp. lemon zest (optional)

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the pasta, cooking until al dente, about 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, snap the frozen asparagus into 1 inch pieces.
  3. When the pasta is just about done, add the vegetables and cook until thawed and heated through, about 2 minutes.
  4. Drain the pasta and vegetables and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Toss with butter, cheeses and spices, adjusting as necessary.

November 27, 2008 at 5:26 pm Leave a comment

Asparagus, Sundried Tomato and Chickpea Soup

This is the last of the asparagus recipes for the year. It’s a hearty asparagus soup that’s almost a stew, especially if you eat it the next day.

While I was cooking this, I couldn’t help singing the song “Meeskite” from the musical Cabaret; a song about two ugly people who produce a beautiful child together. (Mieskeyt is the Yiddish word for “ugliness”). This soup is a bit of a “Meeskite” but it is delicious, so garnish it with something that hides it a bit and enjoy!

Asparagus, Sundried Tomato and Chickpea Soup
Makes 4 – 6 Servings

3 cups vegetable broth
1 lb. asparagus, chopped
1½ cups potato, finely chopped (about one large potato)
¼ cup oil-packed sundried tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups chickpeas
¼ tsp. pepper
salt to taste

  1. In a large pot, bring the vegetable broth to a boil.
  2. Add the asparagus, potatoes, garlic and sundried tomatoes. Cook until the asparagus and potatoes are tender. (Make sure you chop the potato into very small pieces, so that it will cook through before the asparagus is overcooked).
  3. Add the salt, pepper and chickpeas.
  4. Using a blender, food processor or hand blender, blend about ½ of the soup. Return the blended soup to the pot (if you took it out) and heat through. Enjoy!

July 13, 2008 at 11:44 am Leave a comment

Egg and Asparagus Pizza

Eggs on pizza?! Seriously. I discovered this phenomenon in Italy when Sean and I were there last November. It’s really good and provides a nice creamy texture to the pizza toppings. I like to use pitas for pizza crusts because it’s easy and reminds me of the English muffin pizzas of my childhood, but slightly better. This idea was also taken from the latest Joy of Cooking.

Egg and Asparagus Pizza
Makes 2 Pizzas

2 – 10″ whole wheat pitas
6 Tbsp. prepared marinara sauce
1 cup asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 egg, hard boiled
¼ cup Parmesan cheese

  1. Hard boil your egg. You can steam it if you have an awesome steamer like I do, or you can place it in a pot of boiling water for about 15 minutes. Either way, dunk it in cold water to cool it down after cooking. Set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the asparagus. Again, you can either steam it for 20 minutes, or you can boil it for about 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
  4. Place pitas on a cookie sheet and top with 3 Tbsp. marinara sauce each.
  5. Shell and finely chop the egg, and sprinkle half on each pita.
  6. Place half of the asparagus on each pizza. Sprinkle half of the Parmesan on each.
  7. Bake 5 – 10 minutes, until cheese is melted and pitas are a bit crisp. Serve! Enjoy!

July 12, 2008 at 3:00 pm Leave a comment

Mustard Miso Asparagus

Welcome to your last week of asparagus recipes this year. Let’s start with a yummy side dish.

Mmm! Mustard! Miso! Asparagus! This recipe was great on its own as a side dish, but also would have been nice over rice or noodles for a more complete meal. It was also really good on toast with melted cheese the next day.

This recipe is modified from the 75th Anniversary Joy of Cooking, which actually has a great section on vegetarian cooking, not to mention fantastic basics and tips about making everything from sauces to soufflés to cupcakes.

Mustard Miso Asparagus
Makes 4 – 6 Servings

1 lb. asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 tsp. dry mustard
1 tsp. water
1 Tbsp. miso
1 Tbsp. lemon juice
1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
1 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. maple syrup
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

  1. Steam the asparagus until tender and bright (about 20 minutes). If you don’t have a steamer, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Put the asparagus in the water and boil until bright green (about 5 minutes). Dunk in cold water and drain.
  2. Meanwhile, mix up the sauce in a small bowl. Pour it over the asparagus and serve.

July 11, 2008 at 8:20 am Leave a comment

Asparagus Soup

Asparagus Soup

I failed in my goal to use 2 pounds of asparagus in a single week and after 9 days in my fridge, the asparagus was not at its prime. Luckily, I have a few tricks up my sleeve and know that asparagus soup is a stellar way to use asparagus that is no longer perfect but still edible. This is a classic cream of asparagus soup with a twist – I’ve forgone the traditional roux (butter and flour mixture) and used soymilk instead of cream in order to make this version vegan and gluten free. The soup is thickened by adding relatively little liquid, and allowing much of it to boil off, thereby concentrating the flavour and maintaining a traditional texture.

Asparagus Soup
Makes 2 large servings

1 lb. asparagus
1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup soymilk
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Trim the asparagus by snapping off the tough ends and discarding (you can skip this step if using fresh asparagus from a farmer’s market). Cut off the asparagus tips and chop the rest of the asparagus roughly.
  2. Heat butter or oil in a large pot over medium high heat. Add asparagus and cook until bright green, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce to a rolling simmer (still bubbling) and add the soymilk. Simmer for 20 minutes, or until only enough liquid remains to just cover the asparagus.
  4. Using a food processor or blender or hand blender, blend the soup to desired consistency. Add salt and pepper to taste and serve.

June 28, 2008 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Asparagus Crepes with Cucumber Salad

We’re still doing asparagus-themed anniversary dinners (anniversary-themed asparagus dinners?). This time I underestimated the effort that would be involved, but it was so, so worth it. The crepes were thick and tasty, the cheese was melty, the asparagus was crunchy and flavourful. Mmmm… Why weren’t there leftovers? You’ll see why.

Oh, and the cucumber salad was good, too. It was tangy and crunchy and the flavours mixed really well. It would make a good picnic salad, and it did a good job of balancing the richness of the crepes.

Asparagus Crepes
(serves 6)

3 eggs
1½ cups milk or soymilk
1 cup whole wheat flour
½ tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. oil

1 tsp. oil
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb. asparagus
1/4 cup water
1 tsp. lemon juice
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

2 cups grated Emmenthal or other Swiss cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

2 cup prepared marinara sauce

  1. To prepare crepe batter, whisk together eggs and milk. Add other ingredients and whisk thoroughly. Cover and chill batter in the fridge for 1½ hours.
  2. Meanwhile, grate cheeses and mix them together.
  3. Just before the batter is done chilling, saute garlic in oil until soft. Add asparagus and cook until bright green. Add water and cook until evaporated, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and toss with lemon juice and pepper.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the marinara sauce in a small saucepan.
  5. To make the crepes, heat a large pan over medium heat. Whisk the batter again until well mixed. Add approximately 1/3 cup of batter to the pan and spread it by tilting the pan until a thin layer of batter covers the whole pan. If the crepes are thin enough, they should be able to cook almost all the way through before you flip them. Wait for the batter to set, and then flip the crepe, using the spatula to loosen the edges first.
  6. While the second side is cooking, sprinkle a scant 1/2 cup of cheese on the crepe and continue cooking until the cheese is melted.
  7. Remove the crepe from the pan, and lay 1/12 of the asparagus in a line across the crepe. Roll the crepe up around the asparagus and set aside.
  8. Repeat steps 5 – 7 with the remaining 11 crepes.
  9. When all of the crepes have been cooked and rolled, top them with hot marinara sauce and the remaining cheese.

Cucumber Salad

Serves 6 as a small side

1 cucumber, sliced (about 4 cups)
¼ cup onion, finely chopped
2 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. dill
2 Tbsp. cider vinegar
¼ tsp. sugar
freshly ground black pepper, to taste

  1. Mix all ingredients together, making sure that the cucumbers are all coated in the spices.
  2. Chill for about 30 minutes before serving.

June 16, 2008 at 9:30 am Leave a comment

Saffron Asparagus Pasta

I have been informed by my asparagus buddies at the farmer’s market that there are only 2 weeks of asparagus left this year! I therefore decided to buy 2 pounds of asparagus this week and cook it all (a tall order for a two-person household when the stuff only lasts for a week or so). Yesterday was our anniversary, so I went all out and made something that looked hard and turned out to be easy and delicious. Since I only managed to put some of the needed ingredients on the grocery list, this recipe is heavily modified but originally came from The Vegetarian Kitchen, edited by Linda Fraser.

Saffron Asparagus Pasta

1/2 lb. asparagus
1/2 cup peas
2 Tbsp. butter or vegan margarine
2 Tbsp. onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
2 Tbsp. white wine
1 cup soymilk
pinch ground saffron (I used a 0.125g package)
2 Tbsp. flour
1/2 Tbsp. lemon zest (about half a lemon)
1/2 tsp. lemon juice
8 oz. buckwheat somen noodles or whole wheat spaghetti
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 Tbsp. parsley, chopped

1. Cut off the asparagus tips and then slice the stalks into 1/4″ rounds.
2. Steam the asparagus and peas together until lightly cooked, about 15 minutes.
3. Soak the saffron in 2 Tbsp. hot water for a few minutes.
4. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter or margarine. Add the butter or margarine and cook the onions and garlic until softened.
5. Add the white wine, soymilk, saffron infusion and flour. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for 5 minutes, whisking constantly, until the mixture has thickened.
6. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Adjust as needed.
7. Toss in the steamed vegetables and keep on low heat while you cook the noodles.
8. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Cook the noodles according to package directions, about 5 minutes. Drain.
9. Toss noodles with saffron sauce. Serve immediately and enjoy!

June 14, 2008 at 4:50 am Leave a comment

Older Posts



*All entries tagged "vegan" and "gluten free" meet those dietary requirements to the best of my knowledge as long as the vegan or gluten free instructions are followed (where applicable). It is always wise to double-check ingredients (especially when dealing with packaged foods) and to confirm ingredients and preparation methods at restaurants.