Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Reprieve, Soups,

I went to Barrie's Asparagus Farm yesterday, I didn't have enough to make the Asparagus Vichysoisse, and discovered they no longer close around Father's Day but around Canada Day which is July 1. Hip hip hooray, another couple of weeks of one of my favourite foods. OK I know, some of you are probably bored with me raving about asparagus, but as Tim Barrie said, its only a few short weeks in a year. If you go on Tim's Blog, Canada's First Solar Farm linked on this page, Tim has posted his Mom's recipe for asparagus soup which looks pretty good too, I will have to give it a try.

I made the Asparagus Vichysoisse (June 4 blog) yesterday and it was very good although I think I might prefer it warm. I love the regular Vichysoisse which is leeks and potatoes and is perfect cold, but I think the Asparagus Vichysoisse might be more enjoyable heated. Makes lots - says enough for 8 but not the way we eat. I cheated, I used cream instead of skim milk as I happened to have some left from Saturday, but I think it would be just as good with the skim, besides being better for me. I need to make a batch of soup for freezing too, most asparagus soup recipes call for garnishing with the tips, but that doesn't work if you are going to freeze the end product. I also have to make some Basil Pesto and some Tomato Soup for the freezer. Our basil plants are too new for that yet, so I shall have to wait a while.

Tim's blog site also has a world oil usage counter, the figures are absolutely incredible, I know we use a lot of oil, but it doesn't really register unless you see that counter clocking up barrels like counting grains of salt.

I had an email this morning telling me that the next book in the dragon series about Temeraire by Naomi Novik was due out in the US in July. If you haven't read any of the Temeraire series and you like dragons, I can recommend them. It starts with the supposition that everyone had fighting dragons during the Napoleonic wars. One of the books is called His Majesty's Dragon and on the right there is a flight of His Majesty's dragons. On Naomi Novik's website there is an excerpt from the latest book. I will try and read that later in the day. She also lists her tour dates for the year. No mention of the Dragon Convention in Atlanta though.

A friend who reads this blog reminded me that I mentioned I was going for a CT Scan a couple of weeks ago. You will be glad to know the result was clear. My husband assures me that means I have no brain in there either.

I happened to mention one of my favourite dishes to someone the other day, so I thought I would post a recipe for it. It is a classic Italian dish and as it is cold, is wonderful for a summer meal. The first time I ever ate this dish it was prepared by a very good friend of ours at his restaurant on the occasion of the christening of his daughter, who is my Goddaughter. It may sound an odd combination, but I promise you it works.

Vitello Tonnato

By Kyle Phillips,

It takes a while to make but is well worth it. To serve 6-8 you will need:


  • 2 1/4 pounds(1 k) boned veal, cut from the rump.
  • 3/4 pound (320 g) tuna packed in oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 6 salted anchovies (the canned variety, sold by delicatessens)
  • A handful of pickled capers
  • 1/2 cup (approx.) olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • A bottle of dry white wine
  • The juice of a lemon
  • A rib of celery, thinly sliced crosswise
  • A few leaves of sage
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 3 cloves (some people omit these)
  • Salt
  • A few more perfect capers, some lemon slices, and sprigs of parsley for garnishing


Put the meat in a bowl with the bay leaves, cloves, sage and celery, and pour the wine over it. Cover and marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours, turning the meat occasionally. The next day place the meat in a Dutch oven. Strain the wine and add it to the meat, then add enough water to cover. Lightly salt the pot and simmer the meat for an hour. In the meantime, wash, scale and bone the anchovies. When the hour is up add them to the pot and continue boiling for another half hour; the liquid should be reduced by half.

Hard boil the eggs, run them under cold water, peel them, and extract the yolks (you can discard or fill the whites as you prefer). Rinse, squeeze dry, and mince the capers.

When the meat is fork-tender remove it from the pot and strain the broth into a bowl. Transfer the fish filets to a clean strainer and press them through it, together with the tuna and the yolks, into another bowl. Stir in the minced capers, the vinegar, the lemon juice and the olive oil, and then dilute the sauce to your taste with some of the reserved broth.

When the veal has cooled slice it finely and lay the slices out on one or more platters (you want just one layer). Spread the sauce over the meat, garnish the platters with the lemon slices, capers and parsley. Cover them with plastic wrap and chill them in the refrigerator before serving.

Have a great day.


  1. food, dragons, nice trip for me tonight, i feel like a little kid !

  2. Jo - I wonder what you and Barrie from the asparagus farm think of tinned asparagus.

  3. Dunno about Tim Barrie, but I think tinned/canned asparagus is pretty awful stuff. I have eaten it when I can't get any of the fresh stuff, but usually I can find fresh in the stores even if it has been imported from Mexico and has hard woody stems. and not a lot of flavour. I am not very keen on most tinned/canned products, to me they bear no relation to the fresh item. That said, I do like and use canned tomatoes, corn and hearts of palm - I don't know if you can buy fresh hearts of palm in this neck of the woods. If I want black beans or kidney beans I usually get those canned too, so I am not totally fanatic about it. Canned peas I think are disgusting.