Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Diamond, Asparagus Salad,

Monday: Just walked by the TV on which Matt is watching GMA. Story about a woman who bought a ring in the flea market for $13 and wore it quite happily for 20 years. It now turns out to be a 26 carat diamond worth $455,000 (US I assume). Not quite the same, but many years ago my mother saw a friend wearing a ring she really liked. The friend sold it to my mother for a bottle of gin. (We actually suspected the ring had fallen of the back of a truck). My mother wore it all the time and used to take the stone out of the claws to clean it. Needless to say one of the claws broke and she asked a jeweller friend if he could fix it. He came back to her later and asked if she realised it was an aquamarine set in gold. Of course she didn't. It is a large stone. Guess who has it today?

So as I said I would, I used the Shaved Raw Asparagus recipe for my lunchtime asparagus. Few
comments first, it was a bit of a pain to shave the asparagus, I then realised that it was probably invented by someone who had to throw away the woody ends so they didn't have edible pieces left over. Unable to shave them, I got out the Mandolin and sliced them really fine. I was only making it for me of course so I just put a teaspoon of Parmesan in a bowl, added a little lemon juice, a little hot water, seasoning and mixed it with some olive oil. I tasted it and it was a bit tart to my taste so I added a very little sugar. I tossed the asparagus and then ate it and was delighted with the result. Very tasty. Highly recommended. I will be making it again although at first I found the shaving part to be too difficult.

Here is another recipe I haven't tried. I really must do so.

Asparagus Shandong-Style (Liang Ban Lu-Sun)

1 ½ lbs asparagus, trimmed and cut crosswise on the diagonal into 2" pieces
1 Tbs Japanese reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp Asian sesame oil
2 drops red chile oil
½ tsp toasted sesame seeds

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add asparagus to pot and cook until tender-crisp and bright green, 1½–2 minutes. Do not overcook. Drain, then immediately plunge into a large bowl of ice water; set aside to cool, 2–3 minutes. Drain again, then transfer to paper towels, pat dry, and set aside.

2. Whisk together soy sauce, sesame oil, and chile oil in a medium bowl. Add asparagus and toss. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with sesame seeds.

Servings: 2

Source: Saveur

Author Notes
A specialty of Shandong province, this dish is traditionally reserved for banquets because asparagus is so expensive in China. But in the United States, when the price comes down in summer, take advantage of this flavorful dish.

Have a great day
 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Steam Cleaner, Victoria Day, Queen Elizabeth II,

Some of you remember that about a year ago I bought an electronic steamer especially for the bed bugs but they didn't seem to appreciate it. Therefore it has sat in a cupboard until I finally got round to trying the window cleaning attachment yesterday. Woo, it works really well. I am ashamed at the dirt which poured off them. We have enormous windows in our dining/living area and they are a *itch to clean. Not any more. Matt had to do the very top I couldn't quite reach and he threatened me if I stood on anything. Silly, I have excellent balance thanks to both T'ai Chi and exercise classes. Haven't done them all but it won't take long now. Now I have to investigate some of the other attachments.

Today is a holiday in Canada, Victoria Day which is usually known as May 24th weekend. In fact
someone the other day, a born and bred Canadian, didn't even know it was Victoria Day. I heard a snippet on the radio as to why we celebrate Queen Victoria's birthday. Apparently she was very much involved in the development of Canada and was one of the main proponents of Confederation. So whilst she was alive they celebrated her birthday and once she died, a particular date - May 24th - was designated as a remembrance of her life in perpetuity. I chose a picture of young Victoria rather than the rather horrid pictures of her as a miserable old woman which are the ones usually shown. Mind you I notice that quite a few shots of Queen Elizabeth show her as looking grumpy although I understand she isn't. Maybe it's just as old women they had/have lots of aches and pains - something I know about. As I sit typing this I am listening to fireworks which are being let off in honour of the day. Tomorrow, Monday night, will probably be much louder.

Talking of Queens, I watched The Queen at 90 last night which had been recommended to me. Enjoyed it but I could hardly understand Prince William a lot of the time, his diction is terrible for a future king. Harry has a pretty bad speaking voice too. I know the royals are trying to be more like commoners, but that is going too far. The other couple talking about the Queen were Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex, the Queen's youngest son, and his wife the Countess of Wessex. There were lots of shots of the Queen laughing in that programme. I like this one of the Queen and the Duke.

I haven't actually tried this recipe, not sure why, I have had it for a while and with the fresh asparagus I get, it should be really good. I think I am going to make it for lunch today.

Shaved Raw Asparagus with Parmesan Dressing

2 lbs large asparagus
1 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (3 ounces)
3 Tbs fresh lemon juice
2 Tbs warm water
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long, thin strips and transfer to a large bowl.

2. In a small bowl, mix the Parmigiano-Reggiano with the lemon juice, water and olive oil. Add to the asparagus and toss to coat. Season the salad with salt and pepper and serve at once.

Servings: 6

Author: Mark Ladner
Source: Food and Wine

Author Notes
Asparagus often makes wine taste vegetal. To counter that, chef Mark Ladner of Manhattan's Del Posto mixes shaved spears with a supremely wine-friendly ingredient: Parmesan.


Have a great day

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Saturday Recipe

This is a recipe which Kevin Lynch of Closet Kitchen posted on Cheese Talk and which has, naturally, been included in my collection of asparagus recipes. I have posted a recipe for Asparagus Pesto before, not sure if this is exactly the same, but the principle is the same. I have never made a Grilled Cheese sandwich, this makes me think I will start.

Asparagus Pesto Grilled Cheese Sandwich

1 Tbs butter
2 slices whole grain bread, very lightly toasted
2 slices Wisconsin Gruyère
2 Tbs asparagus pesto (see below)

Asparagus Pesto

1 cup asparagus, blanched
1/2 cup baby spinach
1 clove garlic
2 Tbs pine nuts, toasted
4 Tbs Wisconsin Parmesan, grated
3 Tbs olive oil
1/2 lemon, zest and juice
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat a pan over a-little-below-medium heat. Butter one side of each piece of bread.

2. Place one slice, butter side down, in the pan, top with the cheese, pesto and the remaining slice of bread, butter side up. Grill until the cheese has melted and the bread is golden brown on both sides, about 2-4 minutes per side.

 Asparagus Pesto

. Place everything into a food processor and purée.


Author: Kevin of Closet Cooking

Have a great weekend
 

Friday, May 19, 2017

Coffee Theft, Bowling, Weather, Chris Hadfield,

Bowling was pretty bad again today. My legs still giving me trouble plus they were cramping all night. Poor me!!! Funny, there were a number of mentally handicapped bowlers on our floor today - they normally bowl downstairs because upstairs is full. I was just sitting there watching Matt bowl and an arm suddenly appears over my shoulder and grabs my coffee. At first I thought it was the alley owner, but it turned out to be one of the handicapped people. He just stole my coffee and took it away to drink it!! The "handlers" were really upset and apologised to me profusely. It was actually quite funny. I yelled at him that it was my coffee but he took no notice and I just watched him walk away with it. Not a problem, got a new mug etc. but it took me aback somewhat LOL.

Much to my surprise - our team is 1st in the summer league. Mind you we are tied with 4 or 5 other teams LOL. Oddly the max points you can get in any game is 7, every one of us (in the first position) got 5 and nobody got more. We are actually at the head of the list because we are team #1 anyway. Until things change.

The weather is pretty warm here now although this evening it is raining. Supposed to get a major storm, not sure if that will happen. It was blowing a gale earlier but the wind seems to have died down.

Did you hear about the King Willem-Alexander from Holland, who has been co-piloting commercial airliners for some 20 years? Nobody knew. I guess in fact somebody did, but what an amazing man. Just went on Facebook to comment to a Dutch friend and there is a picture from Barrie's Asparagus farm with their visitor today, Chris Hadfield, who commanded the International Space Station - wish I had been there. I would love to have met him, he made lots of videos whilst up there and played his guitar for us too.

This is a new dish to me, I like Pancetta but haven't had it for quite a long time, not sure why. Of course, being me, I would probably use extra asparagus.

Creamy Asparagus and Pancetta Penne

This vibrantly colorful dish is chock full of amazing veggies. In taking advantage of produce that is
in season, this pasta dish truly shines.

2 Tbs all-purpose flour
2 Tbs butter, softened
1 tsp olive oil
2 oz chopped pancetta
1 (8-ounce) package sliced cremini mushrooms
1/4 cup white wine or 2 tablespoons each lemon juice and water
1 tsp salt, divided
4 cups unsalted chicken stock
3 cups 1% low-fat milk, divided
12 oz uncooked whole-wheat penne (such as Barilla)
1 bay leaf
1 cup frozen green peas
12 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 Tbs chopped fresh thyme
3 Tbs chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp grated lemon rind
3/4 tsp black pepper

1. Combine flour and butter in a bowl until a paste forms.

2. Place a large high-sided sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add pancetta; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add mushrooms; sauté 5 minutes or until browned and liquid evaporates. Add wine; cook 2 minutes or until liquid is absorbed, stirring to loosen browned bits. Stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt. Transfer mixture to a plate.

3. Add stock, 2 cups milk, penne, and bay leaf to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in peas, asparagus, and 1/2 teaspoon salt; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1 cup milk, and thyme; cook 2 minutes. Add butter-flour paste, in pieces, stirring constantly to combine and thicken. Remove from heat; stir in mushroom mixture, parsley, rind, and black pepper.

Servings: 6

Source: COOKING LIGHT

Have a great day

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Pea and Lovage Soup, Bowling, Chicken and Asparagus,

Wednesday morning we had to get up early so I made my Pea and lovage soup. Simple enough to do and absolutely delicious. You can serve it hot or cold so we had it for supper and I served it cold. I had to make a few alterations, I didn't have fresh peas for a start so I used frozen. I halved the recipe too. No crème fraîche either so I used a mixture of Philly cheese fresh cream. It worked very well and we both loved the soup. I shared the recipe with the dental Receptionist who gave me the lovage in the first place. Now I am wondering where I can obtain it other than from her. I didn't have peas to decorate with of course.

Pea and Lovage Soup

Lovage has a delicate celery-like flavour, but if you can't find it, substitute with mint. This soup is lovely either hot or chilled on a summer day

2 ½ kg fresh peas in their pods (or 900g/2lb podded or frozen), plus 8 whole pods to decorate
100 g unsalted butter
175 g spring onions
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 ½ liters vegetable stock
100 g crème fraîche
bunch lovage (about 10 sprigs), leaves picked (or use a small bunch mint )
olive bread, thickly sliced, to serve

1. Shell the peas, leaving 8 of the best-looking ones whole. Melt half the butter in a large pan, then gently cook the spring onions and garlic with the lid on for 5 mins, without colouring. Add the stock, bring to the boil, then add the peas and whole pods and simmer for 2-3 mins until tender.

2. Fish out the whole pods and refresh under cold water. Tip in the crème fraîche, then the lovage or mint, and blitz with a hand blender until smooth. Season to taste. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge if serving cold.

3. If you’re eating the soup hot, bring to a gentle simmer but don’t boil. To serve, ladle into bowls, decorate each with a whole, split pea pod and serve with a stack of toasted olive bread on the side (toast your bread on the barbecue).

Source: BBC Good Food

Having made this we had lunch - finally got some artichokes this week - then headed to the bowling alley for the first day of our summer league. Place was full. Owners must be quite chuffed to have 12 lanes full. They have another 12 lanes downstairs of course. I could not bowl worth a damn, told you. Matt had one excellent game. I actually only bowled two games as my legs were hurting really badly. My bowl ahead game was better than I had been bowling all day.

We then headed out to Barrie's Asparagus farm and found they now have lots of asparagus. It has really warmed up this week. So I got a big bunch for me and some small bags for other people. One bag I gave to the younger son at the bowling alley as he has the potential to become an asparagus afficianado like someone else I know!!!

Chicken and Asparagus with Melted Gruyère

8 oz asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 tsp plus 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, divided
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1-1 1/4 pounds), trimmed
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 Tbs canola oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1/2 cup white wine
1/3 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 Tbs chopped fresh tarragon or 1 teaspoon dried
2 tsp lemon juice
2/3 cup shredded Gruyère cheese

1. Place a steamer basket in a large saucepan, add 1 inch of water and bring to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and steam for 3 minutes. Uncover, remove from the heat and set aside.

2. Whisk broth and 2 teaspoons flour in a small bowl until smooth. Set aside.

3. Place the remaining 1/4 cup flour in a shallow dish. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper and dredge both sides in the flour, shaking off any excess.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes per side, adjusting heat as needed to prevent scorching. Transfer to a plate and cover to keep warm.

5. Add shallot, wine and the reserved broth mixture to the pan; cook over medium heat, stirring, until thickened, about 2 minutes. Reduce heat to medium-low; stir in sour cream, tarragon, lemon juice and the reserved asparagus until combined. Return the chicken to the pan and turn to coat with the sauce. Sprinkle cheese on top of each piece of chicken, cover and continue cooking until the cheese is melted, about 2 minutes.

Servings: 4

Source: Eating Well

Have a great day
 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Earring, Summer League, Driving Test, Soups,

Went to take off my earrings at bed time and found I had one missing. A small gold hoop, I was teed because I haven't had them that long. This morning Tuesday, I emailed the dentist and the bowling alley. The dentist responded that they thought they had it. When I went in there at lunchtime, they did have it. What is incredible, I went there at 9:30 a.m. and the earring was found on the pathway by their last client of the day! Talk about luck. These are very small earrings - one would sit on the end of your finger - incredible that someone saw it at all.

Today, being Wednesday, we start our Senior Summer League. Goes through to the beginning of August.  This basically means that if we want to bowl twice a week, we have to do so on Wednesday and Thursday as they only open on those two days in the summer. I believe they are open on the weekends but that would probably be too crowded.

To start the day, Matt has to go for his senior driving test. Will have to leave here at about 8:15 to be sure to be there for 9 a.m. Meanwhile I am going to use the lovage I got from the Receptionist at the dentists. I found a Pea Soup recipe which I like the look of. I am going to cut the quantities a bit as it calls for about 2 lbs of peas. I haven't made any asparagus soup yet this year, haven't really been able to get enough asparagus yet. Weather has been warmer and is supposed to warm up more this week so keeping my fingers crossed. This is the asparagus soup I got from Barrie's Asparagus Farm, it is the farmer's mom's recipe. I can't tell you how many years I have been making this. I store a lot of it in the freezer. I do have to use the blender with it when it unfreezes mind you.

Barrie's Asparagus Soup Recipe

My Mom's Famous!!!

1 lb asparagus chopped
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cups chicken broth
2 Tbs butter or margarine
2 Tbs flour
1/2 tsp salt
dash pepper
1 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream or yogurt
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
fresh chives for garnish

1. In a covered saucepan, boil the asparagus, onion and 1 cup of chicken broth. When the asparagus is tender and still bright green, blend to a purée (this purée can be frozen and used for future batches of soup.

2. In a large saucepan heat the butter and flour on medium to make a paste. Cook until golden. Stir occasionally as you add the 2nd cup chicken broth, making sure lumps don't form.

3. Stir in the salt, pepper, purée, milk. Bring to a boil.

4. Take soup off heat. Measure the yogurt or sour cream into a bowl and stir in spoonfuls of hot soup, little by little. Now, carefully stir this warmed yogurt or sour cream mixture back into the pan of soup.

5. Add a teaspoon of lemon juice, or to taste.

6. Serve in individual bowls, sprinkled with chopped chives. (makes 3 1/2 to 4 cups of soup)

Servings: 4

Author: Mrs. Barrie

Have a great day
 

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Dentist, Lovage, Bowling

I got my partial plate at 9:30 a.m. Monday morning. When the dentist first put them into my mouth,

they hurt like hell in one area only. She took them out and did a bit of grinding and put them in again, then out again. Turned out that my lower gum is still pretty sore from the extraction. I was unaware of it before this. In the end she got it so I could wear it. It doesn't feel too bad and it is no longer hurting, but eating with it is going to take a heck of a lot of getting used to. The blurb they gave me says to wash/rinse the plate after each meal. That is going to be a bit of a bother I think. However, I will try not to be like some people and will wear the partial all the time.

Whilst waiting to go into the surgery, I was talking to the Receptionist, Alex, (she is really more a one woman office staff) and she had a large bunch of lovage which she had brought in for someone. I am familiar with the plant although I have never seen or used it. I think it is an old English, or possibly European herb and not much used today. Maybe in the Mediterranean and points east. Anyway, we were given a bunch of it to try. Alex, said she uses it in soups including lamb or chicken. Never made soup with lamb so that's a new one on me. The leaves look like large parsley but have a different taste. I found a recipe which appealed to me made with new peas and lovage so I think I will be trying that.

I managed to eat a normal lunch but found the asparagus got caught in my teeth easily. Think I will have to cut them into pieces in future, until I am used to this anyway. For supper, I chickened out and we had home made carrot soup. We went bowling in the afternoon and my teeth were much admired LOL - my scores were much admired too. One game was fairly low, but the two others I got pretty good scores. I was chuffed. I just hope I can continue this trend into league play which starts on Wednesday. Bearing in mind we play twice a week and sometimes three times, you would think our bowling would improve. Doesn't seem to work that way though.

This is another of my particular favourites which I picked up some years ago and I keep some frozen on hand all the time. It always amuses me because all these recipes talk about trimming the asparagus or breaking off the ends, etc. etc. which, with farm fresh, I never have to do. By the way, the weather is starting to warm up this week so hopefully we will be able to get as much asparagus as we want.

Asparagus Pesto Toasts


1 lb trimmed green asparagus
1 cup toasted walnut halves (I used pecans)
4 cloves garlic, peeled
2 1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup olive oil
2/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Freshly ground pepper

1. Cook asparagus until just tender. Refresh in cold water, then drain and dry well. Place asparagus, walnuts, garlic and salt in food  processor. Process until blended.

2. With motor running, gradually add olive oil, then add cheese and pepper. Blend together and check seasoning. Place in covered bowl.

3. It shows the recipe served on crunchy toasted French or Italian bread with a curl or two of Parmesan on top and some asparagus at the side.

4. We freeze this in ice cube trays, then wrap the cubes in pairs (separated by Saran, and put in a bag in the freezer until we need them.

Source: Food & Drink from the LCBO

Have a great day
 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Teeth, Larding, Cloud Eggs, Grandma Dragon Day, Charles III

Hey, I get my new teeth today, hurrah. I will be going to the dentist at 9:30 and will be flashing my gnashers at everyone later on LOL. I have heard so many stories from people who's dentures or partials hurt so they don't wear them. I mentioned that to the receptionist when she phoned to remind me about my appointment, she told me not to listen to such stories - easier said than done. I firmly believe that waiting to allow one's gums to heal properly and the jaw to adjust before one gets the plate is a good thing. One doesn't look very pretty, but it's worth it I think.

Reading Hilary Melton-Butcher's latest post - Answer to some queries re Aspects of British County
Rare Breeds I was thinking about her comment that people preferred their meat and therefore their animals to have less fat which made me realise that this is a lot to do with the lack of tenderness in meats today. Once upon a  time we could deal with
this by 'larding' but this is something very few people know anything about today. The following is a Google quote Larding is the cooking technique of inserting strips or pieces of fat into a piece of meat that doesn't have much fat of its own. Fat is important in cooking, as it melts and keeps the meat from drying out. It's a myth that braising or even boiling meat will keep meat moist which then made me think, maybe I should start larding meat for Matt who finds meats very tough these days. I then figured I would, of course, need a larding needle. No, I have never done this before, but it does seem to me that it is becoming more and more necessary. Especially when even fillet steak can seem tough. Admittedly I did see some well marbled steaks at the store the other day which is unusual these days. In case you are unfamiliar with the term, marbled meats have streaks of fat running through them which helps the meat to remain tender as well as moist. We have become so worried about overweight that we have been spoiling some of our foods - not only does fat improve the texture, it also improves the taste. It may also be that store bought meat is not as well hung as from a farm or a specialty store. I still haven't bought meat at the local specialty store who advertising dry aging for their meat (other than fillet which they wet age). No not sure what that is, but dry aging you lose too much meat for it to be a good system to use on a fillet. OK I just read up on it and have added a link.

Have you heard of Cloud Eggs. I hadn't and came across them the other day and thought great, easy, I will try it. Basically you whip up egg whites as if you were making meringue. No problem, then you add some salt and some Parmesan, my beautifully fluffy egg whites became flat egg whites - in the end they became scrambled eggs. I did what the recipes said so I don't know why they died on me. I will have to do some research - I was terribly disappointed especially as the recipe looks so easy.

I hope you all had a great Mother's Day, well particularly the mothers of course. I normally don't get anything because I am only a step mother, but I am also a Grandmother to Dragons and I was thrilled to receive the following along with a delightful message.


Did any of you see Charles III on PBS Masterpiece Theatre Sunday night? Pretty powerful stuff and very well done. I do hope the family isn't like that though. Shades of Shakespeare in the dialogue.


Asparagus Salad with Hearts of Palm and Cherry Tomatoes

1 bunch of asparagus, steamed
1 can of hearts of palm
1/2 pint of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
2 green onions, sliced
1 small shallot, diced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1.5 Tbs red wine vinegar
1.5 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 tsp gluten free Dijon mustard
6 Tbs olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook asparagus til al dente. Chill in ice bath or cold water. Chop into bite sized pieces cut diagonally. Place in large bowl. Cut each stalk of hearts of palm into 4 pieces and then each into 1 inch pieces at a diagonal.  Add to bowl.  Add your halved cherry tomatoes.  Add in sliced green onions.  Add in chopped shallots.

2. In a separate bowl, add in vinegars, mustard and a pinch of salt. Slowly pour in olive oil and whisk to emulsify.  Add in pepper and adjust ingredients to desired taste. Pour dressing over salad and mix.  Add lemon juice as desired.

3. Serve into bowls and enjoy!

4. This recipe would go great with some anchovies on top!  Also, if you can find jarred hearts of palm, please use those instead of canned!  Unless labeled, cans can be lined with BPA (toxic!!).  But some brands, like Native Forest, guarantee that their cans are BPA free so do some research before buying your canned foods.  Can also substitute hearts of palm with artichoke hearts!

Servings: 3

Source: Food for Rabbits



Have a great day
 

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Saturday Recipe

Rhubarb is also in season at the moment and, unlike asparagus, thrives in this chilly weather we have been having. The farm was limiting customers to $5 bags of asparagus, but I ended up buying 5 lbs of rhubarb with no problems. Only 1 lb of that was for me. I think pies will be made with the other 4 lbs. I, on the other hand will be just gently stewing mine with a little sweetener and a bit of grated ginger. However, when I saw this pie, I thought it looked very enticing. I have never been big on pastry, neither eating nor making it, but this one does look good.

Edna Lewis’s Rhubarb Pie

The chef and cookbook writer Edna Lewis believed that the key to spring cooking was a light hand, and here she goes easy on rhubarb, sweetening it just a little with sugar and nutmeg. This recipe, which was featured in The Times in 1991, tempers the rhubarb’s natural tartness a bit but still allows
it through, showcasing the fruit’s natural texture.

1 ½ cups, plus 2 teaspoons, sifted flour, plus additional flour for rolling the pastry
1 tsp salt
¼ cup chilled lard, cut into small chunks
¼ cup cold water

FOR THE FILLING
2/3 cup sugar
¼ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 tsp cornstarch
4 cups chopped fresh rhubarb

1. To make the crust, put 1 1/2 cups of the flour in a bowl with the salt and lard and combine quickly with fingertips. Add the water and stir to combine; the dough will be sticky. Add the remaining flour, form into a ball and put in refrigerator for 15 minutes.

2. Divide the dough in two. Lightly flour a board; roll half the dough to cover the bottom of a 9-inch pie pan and put it in the pan. Flour the board again, and roll out the remaining dough. Using a pastry wheel or a sharp knife, cut the dough into 3/4-inch strips and put on wax paper.

3. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. To make the filling, combine the sugar, nutmeg and cornstarch in a bowl. Sprinkle 3 tablespoons of this mixture on the pastry in the pie pan. Combine the remaining sugar mixture with the rhubarb and fill the pie. Moisten the rim of the pastry with water and make a latticework top over the pie with the dough strips. Crimp the edges well. Bake pie for 40 minutes .

Servings: 6

Source: The New York Times

Have a great weekend.
 

Friday, May 12, 2017

Dem Bells, Asparagus, BMW, Book,

Dem bells, dem bells, dem bloody bells. A friend who is also a member of our team, joined us for bowling on Thursday afternoon because she wanted to do a bowl ahead for next week. Turns out that in her apartment building they are also testing the fire alarms and in her case, it takes two days (much bigger building). Enough to drive one totally crazy I would think. I played pretty well again today, I would love to think I could do the same again on Wednesday, the start of our summer league. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Having talked about Phyllo handling yesterday, I am determined to have a go when I get some more asparagus, hopefully today. The weather has been nice, but not too warm but from the picture posted by the farmer yesterday, the asparagus have been growing after the frost the other night. This was a picture posted by the farmer, Tim Barrie, on Wednesday, you can see all the dead (white) asparagus  but also the shoots of the new stuff beginning to grow again. Weather does play such an important part. I remember a few years ago when it was warm enough but not enough rain.

This news about BMW cars bursting into flame is going to hurt the sales quite a bit. BMW seem to think there isn't a problem, but from all that is said on the news I would think it is a pretty serious problem. People have even had their houses burn down because the car was in the garage when it caught fire.

I have just finished the book The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins. I must admit, I was put off by the most unsympathetic protagonist and by what I had been told. However, someone else told me they had really enjoyed the book, so I persevered. I am so glad I did, I thought it was an excellent story. I would highly recommend it but I think one needs to read further than 50 pages to start appreciating what the story has to offer. I am now looking forward to her second novel, Into the Water.

I haven't tried this recipe yet, but really must do so, sounds good.

Asparagus Beef Rolls

8 asparagus spears
1 lb shabu-shabu style thinly sliced beef
4 Tbs regular soy sauce
1/2 cup sake
2 Tbs mirin
2 Tbs sugar
Water for blanching
2 Tbs canola oil
Japanese hot mustard (karashi), optional condiment

1. Combine marinade ingredients (soy sauce, sake, mirin, and sugar) in a medium bowl and stir until mixed. Add thinly sliced beef and marinate in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, trim bottom of asparagus, then slice asparagus spears vertically in half or quarters, depending on the thickness of the spear. Blanch asparagus in boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from pot and rinse with cold water. Set aside.

3. Take 2 to 3 pieces of beef and gently spread it out on a plate or cutting board. Lay 2 or 3 asparagus pieces across one edge of the sliced beef. Gently roll-up the asparagus in the beef, tucking the end under the bottom of the roll. Repeat until all the beef and asparagus have been used to make several rolls.

4. In a large pan, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add beef and asparagus rolls to the pan and sear the beef until all sides are lightly and evenly browned. Add any remaining marinade into the pan and simmer the beef and asparagus rolls together for 1 to 2 minutes.

5. Slice each beef and asparagus roll into thirds or fourths, plate, then serve with Japanese hot mustard (karashi). The rolls can also be served as is, without any hot mustard.

Servings: 4

Tips
For this recipe, either shaved beef, shabu-shabu or sukiyaki style beef may be used. It is easier to work with the sukiyaki style beef, as it does not tear as easily as the shabu-shabu style beef when wrapping the meat and vegetable rolls. I prefer the thinner shabu-shabu cut of beef for a thinner and more delicate roll, however, for a slightly heartier version I recommend using sukiyaki style beef.


Author: Judy Ung
Source: About Food

Have a great day

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Meter Case, Fire Alarm Testing, Bowling.

For those who expressed an interest, my new meter case is shown as follows:



It has a strap on the other side with a velcro fastening, I have't a clue what that is for. That little object at the top of the picture is the actual meter, quite small.

Wednesday morning they were testing the fire alarms, having been driven nuts every few minutes, I worked it out that there are 7 alarms on every floor and there are 9 floors. This does not include the basement and garage area. I have no idea what there is there. So, we decided to escape, guess where we went? Bowling of course. Didn't do a lot better there, some handicapped people making quite a lot of noise in one way or another!! My last game was great, I had 5 spares in a row. Made up for the first two games.

I phoned the asparagus farm on Wednesday morning and the farmer told me that they probably wouldn't have much until Friday. I have a few spears for my lunch today. Please no more frost.

This is another of my favourite asparagus recipes. Matt used to make them, but he doesn't cook these days and I am too scared of handling Phyllo pastry, which I have never done. Silly, if I make a mess of it, all I have to do is try again. OK, having written this, assuming I get asparagus on Friday, I am resolved to have a go.

Asparagus Phyllo Bundles

For one roll:
Phyllo - 1/2 sheet for 2 asparagus
2 stalks asparagus
Parmesan, grated

Brush phyllo with butter, sprinkle with Parmesan, place 2 asparagus in middle and roll. Place in baking dish, sprinkle more Parmesan and put in oven 375°F for 15 mins.

Yield: one roll:

Source: Paula Deen



Have a great day

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Philomena, Frost, Movie. Glucometer Case,

Not a lot on TV on Tuesday (for us anyway) once Jeopardy was over. There was a programme on PBS about the investigation into the Irish Roman Catholic convent who took in pregnant girls and then sold their kids away from them. Basically the story of the movie Philomena which starred Judy Dench. If you haven't seen the movie, it was very good and a true story. They treated the pregnant unmarried mothers like dirt, made them work like slaves during their pregnancies and just whipped the kids away from them without their consent. This was some 50 years ago. Terrible story. In the movie a reporter is investigating the story and helps Philomena hunt for her son. The movie was based on the book The Lost Child of Philomena Lee by Martin Sixsmith. I am only sorry the nuns, some of whom were still alive at the end of the story, didn't get their comeuppance but I guess that doesn't always happen in true life.

Major tragedy in my life, we had frost last night and are supposed to get some tonight. Asparagus does not like frost. It's spring for goodness sake. The farm says a couple of days before they are in full swing again. Might go there today to see if they have any at all. Want some rhubarb too. I just can't believe we are getting frost.

We watched The Princess Bride again tonight, love that movie and I knew if was one of the few Matt doesn't walk out of, not sure why. We have lots of movies I love but he doesn't - I keep asking him to choose one because I don't always know what he wants to watch. I am easy to please.

Foot nurse came again on Tuesday so now our piggies are all lovely again LOL. I also got a new case for my new glucometer. Very fancy and quite large. I don't have to take it around with me so I guess it doesn't matter. Looks a bit like this, it is certainly orange but half moon shaped. Maybe I should take a picture tomorrow. I haven't figure out where everything fits yet.

This looks a super recipe which I have just picked up from Food.com but I take issue with a couple of points. The tart is for 4 but they only use 2 eggs then show you someone diving into a piece with a whole egg on it, I would therefore use 4 eggs. They also say 3/4 lb of asparagus, how mingy. I would use at least 1 lb if not more.

Caesar Asparagus Tart

3 garlic cloves
2 Tbs Dijon mustard
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3/4 lb  asparagus
1 sheet puff pastry

To make tart filling
2 eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup Parmesan cheese
2 Tbs chopped chives
1 pinch black pepper
1 pinch salt

1. Blend garlic cloves, Dijon mustard, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce and gradually add oil while blending.

2. After it's well mixed, add Parmesan cheese and black pepper.

3. Blanch asparagus (boil for 1-2 minutes then place in an ice bath).

4. Spread out asparagus in a baking pan, top with the Caesar salad mixture.

5. Prepare the puff pastry dough, roll it out flat until you have a rectangle shape.

6. Create a border around the edges of the puff pastry, approximately 3/4" wide, using a small sharp knife.

7. Then create diagonal score marks around the edges of the puff pastry.

8. Poke holes throughout the pastry dough using a fork.

9. Brush the egg yolk + water wash around the crust (edges).

10. Bake the pastry at 400°F for 10 mins.

11. To make tart filling, combine egg, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, chives, black pepper--mix using a whisk.

12. Spread tart filling evenly on top of the pastry.

13. Spread the asparagus evenly on top of the filling.

14. Gently place 2 eggs (make sure not to break the yolk) on top of the asparagus.

15. Bake at 400°F for 25 mins.

Servings: 6

Source: Food.com


Have a great day

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Monday Morning, Books, Bowling, Cauliflower Rice,

I occasionally have a bad night and can't get to sleep. Sunday night I was still tossing and turning at 2:30 a.m. - finally got to sleep. At 7:30 am I was awoken by a friggin' lawnmower. 7:30 for goodness sake. This is a residential building with a lot of older folks living here, why do they have to come and wake us up that early. To say I was teed off was to put it mildly.

As most of you know, Matt watches Good Morning America. I sort of watch it peripherally whilst I am doing other things. This morning I heard a book promotion for Into the Water by Paula Hawkins and was so intrigued, immediately went to my library's web page to order it. Much to my surprise, there were already 103 people waiting for it. However, they do have 25 copies so it may not take too long, I hope. It looks as though she has already got a best seller, The Girl on the Train, maybe I should try that first whilst I am waiting. I have just finished reading Echoes in Death by J.D. Robb, the stories with Eve Dallas as the cop. I love this series of books. Having written this, I checked on the first Paula Hawkins novel and it is available so have ordered it. Made me start thinking - what exactly makes a best seller? I have friends who have written excellent books some of which have sold a bit and others have kind of stagnated. These authors put their heart and souls into these books and it is such a shame if they don't get read by many people. (Later) I now have The Girl on the Train to read.

Bowling was pretty awful Monday, I only got one strike all afternoon. Matt got two or three and managed to beat me at every game. Turns out our friends, whom we met originally on Thursday bowling, haven't had a strike in the last two weeks!!!

Monday evening I made the Cooking Light version of Kung Pao Chicken so I decided to try it with
Cauliflower Rice. I tried to grind up a whole cauliflower at once, I learned that didn't work, will not make that mistake again. Anyway, once you have the cauliflower you can cook it easily in the microwave. You put it in a microwave safe bowl, cover with plastic wrap, heat for 2 minutes, stir and heat another 2 minutes. It is 10 calories a cup as opposed to rice which is 108. It is not exactly the same as rice obviously, but not bad at all. We both enjoyed it although it really retains its heat. You have to be careful.

Now, this recipe is, without doubt, one of my very favourite asparagus recipes. Although I got this from Closet Cooking it seems there are many sources for this recipe. You can serve it as is or use dipping sauces with the crispy spears.

Crispy Baked Asparagus Fries

1 lb asparagus, trimmed
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup parmigiano reggiano (parmesan), grated
salt and pepper to taste
Alternatively used chopped almonds instead of parmesan

1. Dredge the asparagus in the flour, dip them in the egg and then into a mixture of the panko breadcrumbs, parmesan, salt and pepper.

2. Place the asparagus on a wire rack on a baking sheet and bake in a preheated 425F oven until golden brown, about 7-13 minutes.

Servings: 2

Source: Closet Cooking

Author Notes
Asparagus coated in panko bread crumbs and parmesan and baked until golden brown and crispy.


Have a great day
 

Monday, May 8, 2017

Honey, Temps, Bowling,

I like local honey - the stuff they sell you in the stores is a mix of honey from all over the place and not nearly as good either for you or to taste. Anyway I have a jar I have been using for a while and for some reason had never read what was written on it. I think these are incredible statistics. To make you 1 lb of  local honey, one hive of 80,000 bees flies a distance equal to twice around the world, visiting some 2 million flowers around Perth and Waterloo counties. A single bee will contribute about 1/10th of a teaspoon of honey over its lifespan of about 45 days. Amazing isn't it? And after all that hard work we pinch it. Of course whilst they are visiting those 80,000 flowers they are pollinating which is their major function as far as we are concerned. This is why the loss of bees is so worrying. A lot of people in this part of the world say 'bees' when they mean 'wasps' or 'yellow jackets'. This too is worrying that they don't know the difference. The asparagus farm now has their own hives. I have forgotten to ask about their progress. I bought some honey their the other day but not sure where it came from.

All week they were predicting snow for Sunday. Guess what, not a single flake. In fact it was a lovely day, not very warm, about 6°C and the forecast for the week puts our highs at about 14°C for the latter part of the week. Not very much yet. Come on spring - we need you.

Although the Winter League has finished, Matt and I are going to bowl today and Thursday this week. Next week the Summer League starts on Wednesday 17th so I expect we will bowl on Wednesday and Thursday. Later in the summer the alley doesn't open on Monday and Tuesday anyway.

Here's a good one from Bon Appétit. Wish I had enough lemon and orange for some zest. Of course, as usual, if you have farm fresh asparagus, you don't need to trim. You know, since I learned that, I have often wondered about the asparagus I grew in my back yard in the UK. I don't remember that I didn't trim it and I probably didn't need to.

Charred Asparagus with Citrus Bagna Cauda

The one-two punch of citrus zest and juice balances all that anchovy richness in our new favorite
dressing recipe for spring veg.

2 Tbs skin-on almonds
2 oil-packed anchovy fillets
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 sprig oregano
1 tsp finely grated lemon zest
1 tsp finely grated orange zest
2 Tbs unsalted butter
3 Tbs olive oil, divided
2 Tbs fresh orange juice
1 Tbs fresh lemon juice
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 ½ lbs asparagus, trimmed

1. Place a rack in upper third of oven and preheat to 350°. Scatter almonds across a rimmed baking sheet and toast, tossing once, until darkened a little and fragrant, 8–10 minutes. Let cool slightly, then coarsely chop.

2. Cook anchovies, garlic, oregano, lemon zest, orange zest, butter, and 2 Tbsp. oil in a small saucepan over low heat, swirling occasionally, until garlic is golden, 15–20 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in orange and lemon juices and season with salt and pepper. Let bagna cauda sit while you prepare the asparagus.

3. Heat broiler. Toss asparagus with remaining 1 Tbsp. oil on a rimmed baking sheet to coat; season with salt and pepper. Broil until deeply browned in spots and crisp-tender, 5–8 minutes.

4. Toss asparagus and bagna cauda together on a platter; top with almonds.

Servings: 4

Author: Alon Shaya
Source: Bon Appétit

Have a great day