Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Ice Cream and Asparagus

I had a delightful evening with my friends last night. We went to Howl at the Moon and all three of us ended up having Hunter’s Schnitzel which was a schnitzel with a mushroom sauce. We had chicken barley soup which came with the meal. All three of us ended up having a doggie bag. Having talked about it earlier, we then decided to go find The Marble Banana Split Slab Creamery which is a new (to me at least) ice cream place. One friend had been to the Creamery in her home town. Off we went to where I thought it was, we had to ask a couple of people where exactly it was, we were in the right area and eventually got there. There was a Starbucks almost next door so one of my friends went there whilst two of us picked out our ice creams. I am sure you will not be surprised to hear I had a chocolate ice cream with chocolate chips – it was supposed to have chocolate sprinkles but they didn’t have any so I had Smarties, not the best idea. My friend had a honey ice cream with graham crackers and I’m not sure what else. She had hers in a tub and I had a cone. Mistake, for me, we went outside and my ice cream was melting faster than I could eat it. In a tub that wouldn’t have mattered. I forgot to mention that they take the ice cream and spread it on a metal counter which is presumably refrigerated. Then the fold in your choice of additions a bit like folding dough although done with implements not hands. Quite interesting to watch. It was very enjoyable, but I found trying to eat quickly, the Smarties were a bit much. There was a case full of ice cream cakes there too. They looked delicious.

Earlier in the day, Matt and I had gone to Barrie Bros. Asparagus Farm in Cambridge so I could have my fix –Barrie Bros. Sign do you realise I haven’t eaten any asparagus since Sunday. I bought myself a small jar of pickled asparagus to try. Tim Barrie told me they recommended serving them chilled so into the fridge they went. I still haven’t eaten any asparagus but I will certainly have some today. This time I actually wandered around their store, they do have some fantastic products there and have recently added organic coffee beans. There are all kinds of soup bases besides the asparagus ones. They have organic tomatoes too. The store was very busy, I would like to have talked to Tim a bit more, but he was obviously unable to with so many people there. I am glad they are doing so well. The picture, which I borrowed from their Facebook page, shows their new sign at the entrance to the farm. Once you get near the store, they have another sign carved into a stone. I hadn’t realised they had been there since 1892. Didn’t realise Tim was that old *g*. I have now met two of his daughters by the way, lovely young ladies. Do visit their page on Facebook, Tim posts news there on a regular basis.

This afternoon we will be playing cards, cribbage. The friend with whom we have been playing cards for several months has now moved to another apartment block in town and doesn’t really like driving in the dark so we figure we will make it afternoons instead.

One of my favourites at this time of year is Asparagus Risotto. This recipe comes from and will see me slaving away in the kitchen any time soon.

Asparagus Risotto
Asparagus Recipes
2 lb of asparagus. Risotto w Asparagus 1 shallot, chopped finely. 3 ½ oz of vialone rice. 2 oz of butter. 1 cup of dry white wine. 4 tablespoons of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Salt and pepper.
Break the ends off the asparagus stalks and discard. Cut off the extreme tips and chop the rest of the stalks. Blanch the tips in boiling water. Remove the tips with a slotted spoon and set aside. Cook the stalks in the same water until they go soft. In a blender, puree the stalks with their cooking water to make a thick stock. Add dry white wine, and simmer over a low heat. In a pan, melt half of the butter and cook the shallot until it turns soft. Add the rice to the pan and let it begin to absorb the butter before adding a ladle of the asparagus stock. Keep stirring until it is absorbed. Stir in the tips and add another ladle of stock. Keep adding the stock, one ladle at a time, making certain not to drown the rice, until the rice is al dente (takes 15-20 mins). Serve as desired.

Have a great day.