Friday, May 13, 2011

Spring Green, Roads, Cooking.

It appears Blogger has been down so I couldn’t post a blog at all. Sorry about that.

When we were out and about the other day, I tried to take a picture of the Spring Green Treesgorgeous spring green colour of the trees. Not much success, couldn’t get the right angles to get the right colours. So I searched on the web and found one picture, and one picture only, which actually showed the type of colours I am talking about. Even then its not quite right. I guess it must be difficult to capture the right shades if no-one seems to have done so. We are very lucky in our neighbourhood, we have lots and lots of trees, not just in the park, in fact most of the streets round here would classify as avenues because of the amount of trees. There are two particular roads we drive going to the store which show all the colours of the seasons and are so attractive.

OK I know I have been rabbiting on about spring but this year it seems to have been roadsso long in arriving. Not only that, it usually doesn’t last 5 minutes and before you know it, we have summer. Mind you, in Ontario we say we have 7 months winter and 5 months road works and boy is that ever true. Of course the roads get so badly damaged during the snow season that lots of repairs have to be effected when the good weather arrives. This picture is pretty drastic, but not entirely unknown after a bad winter.

On a complete tangent, every time I make a white sauce, I pat myself on the back for my ability to make a proper one. So many people these days take a short cut with cornstarch or corn flour depending where you come from. It just doesn’t taste the same as making a roux (pronounced roo by the way) from butter and plain flour and allowing the flour to burst its flavour into the butter before taking the pan from the heat and gradually adding the milk, in tiny amounts at the beginning, to make sure the two blend together seamlessly, without lumps. It is painstaking and can be a bind, but the result of a beautifully smooth sauce is very rewarding. From there you can go so many ways, the simplest being to add grated cheese. This painstaking blending is the secret to making smooth gravies too. I am French Omelettealso proud of my omelettes which are nothing like the ones you get in restaurants round here, but delicate confections of eggs, seasoning and a little water folded together (NOT whipped) and sautéed in melted butter. If fillings are desired these should be added just before service and the omelette should not be over cooked, it should still be slightly runny in the middle, it will finish cooking on the plate. One of our favourite omelettes is, what I used to call, a Spanish Omelette but in fact I don’t think the Spaniards make anything like it – not traditionally anyway. I sauté onions, garlic, tomatoes and partly cooked potato in a pan – usually in olive oil – and then season and add to the omelette, again, just before service. The Spanish do make Omelettes Patatas, i.e. with potatoes and these are delicious.

I am not sure about the directions in this recipe, if you cooked asparagus and pasto together, the asparagus would be way overcooked before the pasta was ready. I think it would be better to cook them separately or to cook together but add the asparagus at the last minute. The asparagus I buy doesn’t take more than about 4-5 minutes at the outside.

Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Asparagus
3 cups (1-inch) diagonally cut asparagus
212B1 (9-ounce) package fresh fettuccine
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
1/2 cup chopped prosciutto (about 2 ounces)
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 cup (1 ounce) pre-shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

Cook asparagus and pasta in boiling water 3 minutes or until the pasta is done. Drain asparagus and pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/2 cup cooking liquid.
Wipe pan dry with a paper towel. Heat oil in pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add prosciutto; cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in asparagus and pasta,
reserved cooking liquid, vinegar, salt, red pepper, and black pepper; toss well. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Makes 4 servings.

Have a great day.



  1. When I need a white sauce it always comes from a packet.

  2. And you living in the home of haute cuisine, I'm ashamed of you Marilyn.