Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Cooking Day, More Asparagus

I got both my pesto and my tomato soup made. As I just replied to someone in comments for yesterday, the recipe didn't make a lot of pesto, so I may make some more when the basil plants have recovered from yesterday's depredations. I took two cups of leaves off for the pesto, plus another dozen or so for the tomato soup, so they are somewhat denuded at the moment. I also made a shrimp gumbo for supper and have some gumbo sauce in the freezer too. Can't add the shrimp until we are ready to eat it otherwise it will become quite nasty and rubbery. I really needed to use the okra we bought as I had forgotten to put it in a Green Bag and it was beginning to look a little tired. Except for gumbo we don't eat okra very much although a friend in the States cooked us some once and it was delicious. The starch can make it quite slimy if you don't cook it properly. The first time I ever ate it was in the Mediterranean, South of France I think, we enjoyed it in a sort of tomato stew and I remember my mother cooked some shortly after. You can also use filé to thicken gumbo which is powdered sassafras leaves. I only ever tried it once and it didn't seem very successful. I peel the shrimp as Matt is allergic to shrimp if he gets "stuck" by a leg or a feeler or something, very convenient, he is not allergic to eating them mind you.

These days for soups, I tend to use Campbell's chicken stocks. At one time I always used to make my own, boiling up chickens and then defatting the stock in the fridge and using the chicken meat for curries or something, but now Campbell's have come out with their packets of stock, I don't bother as they are, let's face it, very convenient. In the States I used to have two fridges which made it much easier to put things like a huge pot stock in one whilst it chilled and still have room for all one's usual fridge items in the other. These packets can be stored in a corner of any old cupboard until you are ready to use them. They contain 2 cups of stock - unless you buy the smaller size which I think is probably 1 cup - and I usually keep a couple in the kitchen.

We also had strawberries and cream for supper last night; after the gumbo, which is served over rice, made us feel very full. Delicious though. Not doing my dieting much good so I should knock it off. Well the cream anyway.

Anyway, time we had another asparagus recipe from the Ontario Asparagus Grower's Marketing Board. Only a few more days and the season will be over for another year. This one is done in a parcel, if you have never tried cooking this way, it is very good and keeps the oven nice and clean as well as all the juices in the parcel. The picture is not of the recipe but shows a piece of salmon cooked in a parcel.

Asparagus Dinner Parcels

1 lb and a bit white fish fillets(sole, orange roughy, haddock)
4 tsp lemon juice
16 medium Ontario asparagus spears, trimmed to 6 inches
1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped
2 green onions sliced
2 tbsp chopped fresh dill, cilantro or tarragon (or 2 tsp. dried dill weed or tarragon)

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400ºF (200ºC). Cut four 12 x 13-inch rectangles of parchment paper (foil may be substituted if cooking in a conventional oven). Fold in half lengthwise and crease. Open each one. Arrange fish fillets on one side of each rectangle. Drizzle evenly with lemon juice. Place four asparagus spears on top of each fillet. Sprinkle tomato, onion and herbs evenly over asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Fold other half of paper over. Seal completely by making a double 1/2 inch fold on all cut edges. Place parcels on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until fish flakes and asparagus is tender-crisp. (If using parchment paper you can microwave on full power 9 to 10 minutes. Allow to stand 5 minutes). Serve on individual plates.

Yield: Serves 4

NOTE: Recipe Courtesy of Foodland Ontario

Have a great day.


  1. For this recipe I had to get my translation aid out (wikipedia, heh); so I discovered that cilantro is coriander leaves, and green onions are probably what we would call 'spring onions'. See jo, yours is an educational blog. :)

    We've enjoyed whitefish on previous visits to Michigan, so I know what it is - though there was some confusion on the first occasion because I thought people simply meant it was a fish with white flesh, so I kept asking 'yes, but what is the fish called?'.

    When we converted this house some years back, we ended up with two kitchens and two fridge-freezers. We use mine for back-up supplies, batches and big containers, which is really useful.

  2. Yes green onions are definitely spring onions. One tends to forget. We had the same trouble with whitefish when we first emigrated, we tended to confuse it with whitebait which we used to love in England. Probably not readily available any more. Lucky you having two kitchens and two fridge freezers. Mind you, in NC we had two fridge freezers and a freezer. Wish we did now. Our fridge is, by North American standards, quite small.

    Glad you're getting edificated!!!