Monday, August 4, 2014

Saturday Lunch Party.

Saturday we went to lunch with some friends. He is Romanian and they were both over there recently. His wife came back with some dishes from there and served them to us for lunch.
Eggpant salad
Tomatoes stuffed with egg plant salad

Pickle Tray
Varza a la cluje

We started with the eggplant salad some of which was in cherry tomatoes. This was served with the pickles. Then the main course was Varza a la Cluj which was a dish of ground beef, rice, cabbage and a sour cream sauce topping. Absolutely delicious, all of it. Our hosts then served brie and followed it up with a blueberry sponge cake. More food than I have eaten in a long time. It turned out to be delightful weather and they have a deck come pergola in the back yard with a table and chairs which is where we sat. Very pleasant and a extremely enjoyable day. I don’t have any recipes but am hoping to get them later.

What a pity the local asparagus season is over and that, to make this recipe, one would have to buy asparagus in the store.

Shrimp and Asparagus Skewers

Source: Zoomer Magazine, CARP

Makes 6 skewers, easily doubled

Note: Keep the shells on shrimp for the barbecue, as they protect the meat from overcooking too quickly, and also hold in all of the tasty juices. I like to serve these skewers with a mint aoli. With an easy hand blender method, it’s a cinch to ShrimpSkewers-make.


12 asparagus spears, the fatter the better
18 large uncooked shrimp, with the shells on
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 lemons
1 clove garlic
1 tsp Dijon mustard
scant 1 cup olive oil
1 small handful fresh mint
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

  1. Bring a pan of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut the bottom 2 inches (5 cm) from each asparagus spear, as the ends can often be a bit tough. Cut each spear into two finger-length pieces.
  2. Boil the spears for just 2 minutes, then drain. Plunge into cold water to stop the cooking, then drain again.*
  3. Thread 3 shrimp and 4 pieces of asparagus onto 6 metal skewers. Cover and chill in the fridge until needed.
  4. To make the aoli, separate the eggs (see page 61) and put the yolks into a tall pitcher. Squeeze 1 lemon and roughly chop the garlic. Add the garlic, mustard, 2 tablespoons lemon juice, and the oil to the yolks.* *
  5. Put an immersion blender to the very bottom of the pitcher, then start it running. Pull the blender very slowly from the bottom of the pitcher. As you bring the blender nearer the top of the pitcher, the mayonnaise will thicken dramatically and you will feel a suction puling under the blades. Add more lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste. If the mayonnaise is a bit thick but tastes lemony enough, add a splash of water and blend again. This can be made a few days in advance and kept well chilled, if you like.
  6. Before you begin cooking, check that your charcoal is glowing white hot, or your gas grill is preheated to 400ºF. Season the skewers with salt and pepper, then grill for 2-3 minutes on each side, or until the asparagus is slightly charred and the shrimp are pink all over. Quickly chop the mint and add to the mayonnaise. Cut the remaining lemon into wedges to garnish. Serve immediately with the mint aoli.
*Why pre-cook? Without a little pre-cooking, the asparagus would take far longer then the shrimp to cook on the grill. It also makes it easier to poke the skewers through the asparagus.
* * Gently crack the shell against the side of the bowl. Slowly pull the shell apart as cleanly as possible along the crack, tipping the yolk into one half of the shell. Let the white drain away into a bowl below. Drop the yolk into another small bowl.

Hope my Canadian friends are enjoying their Civic holiday. For the rest, have a great day.


  1. Hi Jo - the Romanian fare sounds lovely ... while the company and news of their travels must have been entertaining - what fun.

    Sad about the asparagus - but I do like things to have their seasons ... while the shrimp and asparagus skewers look very good ...

    Have a good week - but I see you've got a holiday today ... have fun whatever you're doing! Cheers Hilary

    1. Yup it was fun Hilary. Not doing much today.

  2. I don't believe I've ever eaten Romanian food. Ironically, one of the missions we support is in Romania and the pastor spoke at our church yesterday.

    1. I hadn't either. It was good. That was a coincidence wasn't it?

  3. You'll have to get those recipes. They look delicious.

    1. Got one for the Varza. They were delicious.

  4. I love shrimp and asparagus together. Looks great. Not a big fan of eggplant, though.
    As a Canadian enjoying the civic holiday, I consider a day off is a day to replenish our own energies.

    1. I am the same, I am not too keen on eggplant,, but I enjoyed this.

  5. I know I've never tried Romanian food....and never been an eggplant fan (other than eggplant parm) but those dishes sound great. What's the lasagna-looking one at the bottom?

    1. That's the Varza a la Cluj. No pasta. I am posting the recipe for it tomorrow.

  6. I've never tried or even heard of Romanian food, but as a big fan of eggplant, pickles, and beef/cabbage, I'd have to say that meal sounds pretty fantastic.

    1. It was, I can assure you. Actually there are similarities with Hungarian food too and they have their own version of goulash.

  7. Beautiful weather, great company and an abundance of scrumptious food. You really couldn't ask for anything better. Looks like an amazing feast!

  8. Those Romanian dishes look interesting. I hope you are able to get some of the recipes. Thanks for sharing the asparagus shrimp recipe. Looks good.

    1. Well you commented on the blog with one in. Thanks for all your comments Susanne.