Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Salad Report, Weather, Cell Phone, Kew on a Plate.

I said I was going to try the Asparagus Salad which I posted yesterday. Well I made it for supper on Tuesday night. I had bought a Rotisserie Chicken off which we ate the most part of the breast (the rest will be going into the "Leftover Chicken Casserole") and ate the salad with it. I made a few changes according to what I had on hand. I only keep white wine vinegar and I added a half spoon of sugar to the dressing and used less oil. The oil in the recipe would be a lot of calories per person. I bought the Hearts of Palm when we shopped. We both enjoyed it and I can highly recommend it.

The weather here has been very odd. Not as bad as some places in the States of course. However, starting Monday, Matt was asking what the noise was, bit like a plane sound or something, soon after a large black cloud crossed over us and dumped some very heavy cloudburst type rain. In a few minutes it was all over and the sun was shining. This kind of thing has been happening all day today as well. Weird.

Got me a knew cell phone today. Still a flip top but it will take pictures. Had trouble with the SIM card so eventually had to go shooting down to the store. First time I have been there for a very long time, once upon a time they rented DVDs, now there is not a DVD to be seen. Do people still rent DVD's? I really don't know.  It's a long time since I rented one.

There is a programme on TV Ontario at the moment called Kew on a Plate. Kew is a large botanical
garden in London, England. Although I lived a short distance away for 4 years, I never made a visit. Wish I had done so now of course. Kew Gardens have allowed the TV crew and a chef to plant a large kitchen garden and they are following the plants throughout the seasons of  the year. Missed 2 episodes unfortunately. However, on Monday night we saw episode 3 which was fascinating and I have found the web site to obtain the recipes I saw being prepared by the chef Raymond Blanc who is one of the most enthusiastic chefs I have ever seen. The programme is divided into seasons so when I realised that, I naturally looked for an Asparagus recipe. Here it is. The picture came from another source as there wasn't one on the website.

Grilled Asparagus with Vegetable Crumble

Asparagus served in the classic way is delicious, but I wanted to mix the flavours of the spring with the warmer flavours and textures of the summer. I’ve spiced things up a little with the slight smokiness that comes from griddling or barbecuing asparagus, a large sprinkling of smoked paprika
and a hint of chilli.

For the paprika dressing
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp lemon juice
For the hard-boiled eggs and grilled asparagus
2 free-range eggs
20 green asparagus spears, woody ends removed
3-4 fl oz refined olive oil
For the vegetable crumble
3 Tbs olive oil
3 oz baby courgettes (about 2 ½), pulsed in a food processor for 30 seconds
3 oz cauliflower, pulsed in a food processor for 30 seconds
1 oz banana shallot, finely chopped
½ red chilli, finely chopped
3 large pinches of smoked paprika
1 pinch of salt
2 Tbs lemon juice
10 g fresh parsley, chopped
5 g fresh chives, chopped

1. For the paprika dressing, mix all the ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

2. For the hard-boiled eggs and grilled asparagus, using a spoon, slide the eggs gently into a small pan of water. Bring to a simmer for 13 minutes, then remove the eggs and immediately run them under cold water. While still warm, peel the eggs then transfer to the fridge. Once cold, separate the whites from the yolks and coarsely grate each part (keep them separated), then set aside.

3. Lay five asparagus spears side by side and secure them together using two metal skewers (thread a skewer through each end of the asparagus, avoiding the tips, so that the spears are kept straight). Repeat with the remaining asparagus. Blanch in a large saucepan of boiling water for 3 minutes, then immediately plunge them into cold water to stop the cooking and dry well (leave them on the skewers).

4. To cook the asparagus, heat a griddle pan over a high heat. Brush the skewered spears lightly with olive oil. When the pan is hot, lay the asparagus in it, flat, and leave for 3 minutes to gain deep griddle marks. Turn over using tongs and griddle for another 3 minutes. (If necessary do the griddling in batches; simply keep the asparagus warm in an oven preheated to 80C/60C Fan/Gas ¼ while you grill the remaining asparagus.)

5. For the vegetable crumble, in a large frying pan or sauté pan over a high heat, add the olive oil and fry the courgettes, cauliflower, shallot, chilli, paprika and a pinch of salt for 30 seconds. Add 80ml/3fl oz water, the lemon juice, parsley, chives and grated egg white. Boil for 5 seconds then remove from the heat. Stir in the egg yolk and check the seasoning.

6. To serve, put a spoonful of the vegetable crumble in the centre of each plate and arrange a stack of the grilled asparagus on top. Finish with a drizzle of the paprika dressing.

Servings: 4

Author: Raymond Blanc
Source: Kew on a Plate

Have a great day

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Einstein the Parrot, Steaks, Bowling, Road Works,

Sorry no blog yesterday, life caught up with me.

One of the bowling alley owners breeds birds and he recommended this to me. I hope you enjoy it too.

We had our expensive steaks for dinner on Saturday. I didn't do anything special to them and I got no complaints about the meat being tough so I guess if we want a good fillet, I will have to go to the Victoria St. Market. Actually, it wasn't a whole heap more expensive I decided.

About the only thing good you could say about my bowling on Monday was that I broke 100 on every game and gradually went up each time but never got a very high score. I don't think I have ever bowled so many gutter balls. Matt had a really good game at the end. Last time we will be able to bowl on a Monday until September. From now on it is Wednesday and Thursday. Even thought the league finishes in August, Matt and I will still bowl on a Wednesday and Thursday until the Winter league begins again.

After bowling on Monday we went to the asparagus farm. Had to try yet another route. Our original route, they have a bridge up for 2 years, now the new route we tried for a couple of weeks or so they have closed part of to put in a roundabout. They have gone nuts about roundabouts in this area lately. Used not to be any when we first came here, now they seem to be all over the place.  Persuaded a bowling friend to try farm fresh asparagus so got some for her. She won't get it til Thursday but it will still be better than the stuff from the store.

I know I am fanatical about asparagus, but I am almost as fanatical about Hearts of Palm. I love them although they are not cheap to buy. This is a delicious salad and having recalled it I think I will get some Hearts of Palm when shopping today and make it for supper tonight. I am also getting a rotisserie chicken to have tonight and then to turn the rest into Leftover Chicken Pie filling.

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!

Note: 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

Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day to all my American friends.

Have a great day

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Recipe

I have no idea what Freekeh is - Googled it, appears to be wheat. Farro I have used but from what I read Freekeh is the new superfood.

Roasted Asparagus and Scallion Salad

In this hearty, many-textured salad, soft, roasted asparagus is tossed with chewy whole grains and crisp, sweet caramelized scallions. You can use freekeh or farro here for the grains. Both are whole-wheat kernels, but the freekeh has a slightly smoky note from being toasted, while the farro is nuttier-tasting. You can prepare the freekeh or farro ahead and let it marinate in the dressing for up to six hours, but it’s best to roast the asparagus and scallions within an hour of serving. Don’t use pecorino
Romano here, it’s too sharp. If you can’t find a young pecorino, use a young manchego or even a nice Cheddar, and serve this as a light main course or a salad course to a more substantial meal.

Kosher salt, as needed
¼ cup freekeh or farro
2 ½ tsp soy sauce
2 tsp lime juice
1 small garlic clove, grated on a Microplane or minced
Fine sea salt and black pepper, to taste
3 Tbs extra-virgin olive oil, more as needed
1 bunch asparagus (1 pound), woody ends trimmed
1 bunch scallions (about 5 ounces), halved lengthwise and crosswise to form 2-inch-long ribbons
3 oz (3 cups) salad greens, such as baby arugula
Pecorino Rossellino or other young sheep’s milk cheese, as needed (optional

1. Bring a small pot of heavily salted water to a boil, stir in freekeh or farro, cover, and simmer until al dente, 20 to 30 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk together 2 teaspoons soy sauce, lime juice, garlic, and pinch salt and pepper. Drizzle in 3 tablespoons oil, whisking constantly.

3. Drain freekeh and stir immediately into dressing while still warm.

4. Heat oven to 425°F. Spread asparagus and scallions over a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle liberally with oil, 1/2 teaspoon soy sauce and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine, then arrange in a single layer. Roast until they start to char in spots, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly: The asparagus are best while still a little warm but not hot enough to wilt the greens.

5. Toss salad greens in the bowl with freekeh and dressing until leaves are coated, and transfer to serving platter. Top with roasted asparagus and scallions, shave cheese over salad if you like, and serve.

Servings: 2 - 4

Source: The New York Times

Have a great weekend

Friday, May 26, 2017

Different Foods-Countries, Bowling, Steaks,

Talking about spinach salad yesterday it occurred to me that I had never had spinach in a salad before I emigrated to Canada. Only ever had it cooked. Then I thought of beet greens, didn't even know they were edible before I came here. I have recently found out that you can eat radish greens too, I tried a little and wasn't a convert much as I like radishes. Another thing I had never had was a sweet jellied salad with my main meal, aspic salads, yes, but not some of the things which were dished up to us when we first came to Canada. I have never enjoyed sweet jellied salads with savoury foods. I have never made anything in aspic myself but my mother, who was a brilliant cook, often used to make things in aspic which were delicious. We used to joke that my mother could cook anything but she couldn't pronounce the name of it. I wonder if some of these foods are eaten in the UK these days? Hilary, if you are reading this, that's a question for you to answer please, or anyone else from the UK. Another thing I had never eaten was squash, we have/had marrow in the UK which I have since discovered classifies as a squash but things like butternut squash and so on I had never heard of.

Bowling was absolutely dreadful Thursday. Matt had one good game, I didn't. Blaming my aching legs which really didn't have anything to do with it. Afterwards we went and bought some very expensive fillet steaks from the Victoria St. Market which I hope will be tender enough for Matt. I get so tired of serving him meat which he finds too tough. Hopefully these will be OK for him. Mind you, if they are, we probably can't afford them very often from there.They are wet aged so I will be interested to see what the result of that will be.

We finished the spinach salad on Thursday night but this time I added some avocado which made it even better.

This recipe was in Kevin Lynch's Closet Kitchen blog and, because of the asparagus, not to mention the spinach, I decided to use it today. One thing we do not have is a barbecue, the reason being because we live in an apartment building. Not sure if we could use our indoor outdoor grill.

Grilled Chicken and Asparagus Caprese Spinach Salad with Bacon and Avocado

A hearty summer grilled chicken and asparagus spinach 'caprese' salad with tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and a balsamic vinaigrette along with some bacon and avocado!

  • 1/2 pound boneless and skinless chicken breast
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 pound asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • 4 strips bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 6 cups baby spinach, washed
  • 8 ounces tomatoes, diced
  • 8 ounces mini bocconcini or mozzarella balls
  • 1 large avocado, diced
  • 1/4 balsamic vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup basil, sliced
  1. Season the chicken with salt and pepper and grill over medium-high heat until cooked, about 3-5 minutes per side before setting aside.
  2. Toss the asparagus spears in the oil, salt and pepper and grill over medium-high heat until crisp-tender and slightly charred before setting aside to cool and slicing into bite sized pieces.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the bacon until crispy and set aside on paper to els to drain.
  4. Mix all of the ingredients and enjoy!

OptionFor One-Pan: Make this a one-pan meal by cooking/pan-searing/pan-grilling the bacon in a pan, followed by the chicken, followed by the asparagus.
Option: Cook the bacon before hand to speed things up and to allow you to do all of the cooking at the grill.

Have a great day

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Farm Produce, Bowling,

Surprise, surprise, I had to go to the asparagus farm again on Wednesday.
Lots of extras for other people. On the counter they had bags of spinach which I couldn't resist so got one of those too plus a bunch of spring onions (green onions) as well as a load of asparagus of course, and 1 lb of rhubarb just for me. So, when I got home, I turned some of the spinach, green onions and asparagus (shaved) into a salad with a Parmesan dressing similar to the one posted with Shaved Raw Asparagus a few days ago, it was good. I have enough left to make it again today. I had some uncooked Korean Bulgogi Beef left and I cooked that and served it over Chinese Noodles. It was goooood.

Bowling wasn't great, the team we were paired with has some hot shot bowlers - we managed to take 2 of 7 points though. Better than nothing.

As you will have noticed, I had problems leaving replies yesterday. Hope it's a one off.

Fettuccine With Asparagus And Smoked Salmon

Fresh pasta, asparagus and smoked salmon are tossed with shallot cream sauce in this elegant weeknight dinner that can be prepared in well under an hour.

½ lb fresh asparagus, medium thickness
1 Tbs butter
½ Tbs minced shallots
1 cup heavy cream
4 oz smoked salmon sliced 1/4-inch thick
Freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
9 to 10 oz fresh green fettuccine noodles
2 Tbs minced fresh dill

1. Snap off the ends of the asparagus where they break naturally and peel the stalks. Cut the asparagus on a slant to pieces about an inch long.

2. Steam the asparagus until they are just barely tender and still bright green, about three minutes. Rinse under cold water, drain well on paper towels and set aside.

3. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta.

4. While the water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a large heavy skillet. Add the shallots and saute until soft but not brown. Stir in the cream and simmer about five minutes, until the cream has thickened somewhat.

5. Cut the salmon into slivers, add it to the cream and remove the skillet from the heat. Season with pepper and lemon juice. Add the asparagus.

6. When the pot of water is boiling, add the fettuccine, stir it once or twice, then cook two to three minutes after the water has returned to a boil. Drain well.

7. Briefly reheat the sauce. Transfer the fettuccine to a warm serving bowl, pour the sauce over it and toss. Sprinkle with dill and serve.

Servings: 4

Author: Andrew Scrivani
Source: The New York Times

Have a great day

Wednesday, May 24, 2017


To those of you who have left comments on my blogs to which I have not replied, my apologies, at the moment, Google won't let me sign in. No idea why.

Have a great day

Manchester Bombing, Boring Day, Books

As soon as I  hit the living room Tuesday morning, Matt told me about the horrific bombing in Manchester. I was born nearby so have a soft spot for the area. Must admit I was having difficulty with the accents of the locals being interviewed. Later, seeing women crying desperately because they don't know if their children survived or not was really upsetting. How could anyone attack children? This evening there are still people unaccounted for. My heart goes out to the Mancunians involved.

For us it was a pretty ho hum day. We had bloodwork in the morning and shopping in the afternoon. So exciting. Hurrah, Wednesday we get to bowl. Found a new series of books I am enjoying, the Cassidy Jones series by Elise Stokes. I decided that I have dozens (at least) of books on my Kindle which I obtained for nothing, it is about time I started reading them. I have read 4 of them so far and enjoyed them all. Don't really know why I haven't read them before. I still get an email with free or cheap Kindle books regularly but stopped choosing books because I figured I would never read the books I already had. To end my day, I was microwaving leftovers for supper and dropped them on the floor. Still enough in the container for us, but lots of mess and left us with a somewhat skimpy plate each. Tomorrow is another day.

This is another recipe which I haven't tried, basically because lobster is too expensive. Maybe one day I will spring for some during asparagus season. One thing I think is wrong, it says to cook the asparagus for 10 minutes. I dread to think what it would be like by then. I boil my asparagus for 3 minutes. and they are perfect.

Asparagus and Lobster Crêpes with Fines Herbes Hollandaise Sauce

1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
Cooked meat of 1 large lobster, or 2 lobster tails (about 1 1/2 lbs loster before cooking)
sprinkling of salt plus 1/2 tsp.
Fines Herbes
2 Tbs white wine vinegar
1/4 cup water
3 large egg yolks
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened and cubed
2 Tbs lemon juice
white pepper to taste
1 Tbs fresh tarragon, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives, finely chopped
1 Tbs fresh chervil, finely chopped.

1. Preheat oven to 300°F.

2. In a large pot, steam or boil asparagus until just tender, about 10 mins, cool under cold water, drain and set aside.

3. Coarsely chop cooked lobster, set aside

4. Prepare crêpes.

5. Divide the asparagus into 8 separate bundles. Place a bundle in each of 8 crêpes, sprinkle with salt and roll to enclose. Place asparagus in a glass baking dish, top with lobster and cover with foil. Just before serving, and no sooner, place in heated oven for 15 mins to warm through.

6. In a small saucepan over medium high heat reduce (boil) vinegar, water and 1/2 tsp salt until approximately 3 tbs remains, remove from heat.

7. Lower heat to medium-low, add yolks to pan and return to heat, whisking constantly until foamy and lightly thickened. Make sure not to scramble eggs; if the eggs begin to cook too quickly pull off the heat and whisk vigorously to cool slightly before continuing.

8. Begin to whisk butter into pan 1 cube at a time. Once all the butter is incorporated, whisk in lemon juice, white pepper and fresh herbs. Use immediately.

9. Place two asparagus crêpes on each plate and top each with some of the warmed lobster. Spoon hollandaise overtop, serve immediately

Servings: 4

Source: Food and Drink Spring 2010

Author Notes
If preparing this for a dinner party, the asparagus, lobster, crêpes and vinegar reduction can all be prepared beforehand so that the only thing left to prepare is the hollandaise. Make sure to use a good quality butter so that the hollandaise has great flavour.

Have a great day

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


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