Tag Archives: asparagus

Orzo Asparagus Salad

Orzo Asparagus Salad

It’s not too often that when I walk through the produce section of my favorite food co-op and then all of a sudden stop dead in my tracks…  What caught my eye were these gorgeous stems of locally grown organic purple asparagus.  I’ve never seen or even heard of purple asparagus before.  I’ve prepared green and white asparagus dozens of times but never the purple variety.  What a treat!  I snagged a big huge handful and put them it in my basket.

I gotta tell you that purple asparagus is not completely purple…  When you slice it, it has a light greenish white center and the outside of the stems turn purple to greenish purple as you cook them.  Purple asparagus is as tender and tastes the same as green asparagus.  With my new found prize, I decided to make an Orzo Asparagus Salad as a side dish with our grilled salmon for dinner this evening.  If I happened to have any leftovers, I will pack it in my lunch tomorrow.

After preparing my Orzo Asparagus Salad and as I was waiting for Bruce to come home from work, I thought I’d head outdoors with my camera to capture a few shots of late spring flowers and plants…

A variety of “double” columbine.  Notice the two layers of petals?

A “single” petaled columbine.  It’s just simply beautiful!  It’s one of my favorite perennial flowers.

Now back to what’s going on in my kitchen… My Orzo Asparagus Salad is a brightly colored spring dish that is easy to make and tastes wonderful.  It’s made with orzo pasta, locally grown purple asparagus, chopped red onion, crisp red bell pepper, Roma tomato, hand picked herbs from my garden such as oregano, basil and parsley, kalamata olives, white balsamic vinegar, olive oil and then topped with crumbled feta cheese.  Makes about 4 – 6 servings.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup orzo pasta (cook to manufacturer’s direction)
  • 1 1/2 cup chopped asparagus (I used purple but, you can use what you like)
  • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped and seeded Roma tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup chopped kalamata olives
  • 1/4 cup chopped red onion
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped basil
  • 2 Tbs fresh chopped parsley
  • 1 Tbs fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 Tbs white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese

Begin by cooking the orzo pasta according to manufacturer’s direction (or 7 minutes in salted boiling water).  Drain, rinse with cold water, drain well and set aside.  Meanwhile, bring another salted pot of water to a boil.  Add asparagus and cook for about two to three minutes.  Drain and set aside.  In a medium sized mixing bowl add cooked orzo, cooked asparagus, bell pepper, tomato, kalamata olives, onion, basil, parsley and oregano.  Lightly toss.  In a small bowl whisk together the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper.  Add to salad and toss to coat.  Refrigerate until well chilled. Put in a serving dish and top with feta cheese.

Asparagus Leek Quiche

 

Asparagus Leek Quiche

My son came home to visit for the weekend and before he went back up to school late this afternoon we hosted a Sunday morning brunch at our home.  I baked some quiches, made my “famous” biscuits and gravy, served eggs cooked to order, set out a big bowl of fresh picked strawberries and a dished up a variety of fresh salads.  We even had fresh squeezed orange juice and mimosas.  Delish!

Quiches are one of my favorite dishes to make.  First of all, they are very versatile because you can put so some many different types of ingredients in them.  Second, they are super easy to make.  And three, you can get away with serving quiche for any meal of the day.

I work full time during the week and have been known to make quiche on the weekend just to have slices available for my breakfast or lunch while I am at the office.  I simply warm it up in the microwave in the break room for a few seconds, grab a fork and my meal is done.  Simple, no muss, no fuss.  And, I am back to work at my desk in no time at all.

My Asparagus Leek Quiche is baked with local free range organic eggs, fresh picked asparagus, organic leeks, and shredded creamy Havarti cheese in a flaky golden pie crust.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 1 – 9″ refrigerated pie crust (unfold and roll to fit pie or tart pan)
  • 1 cup leeks (washed and thinly sliced)
  • 2 cups asparagus (chopped)
  • 1 tsp canola oil
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 4 ounces Havarti cheese (shredded)
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp fresh grated nutmeg

Preheat your oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit.  Begin by rolling out the pie crust and placing it in a 9″ pie pan or 10″ tart pan.  I used a tart pan.  Heat a saute pan on the stove, add the canola oil, asparagus, leeks and salt.  Saute for a few minutes until asparagus are tender.  Don’t over cook.  Remove from heat and let cool.  Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, half and half, white pepper, salt and nutmeg.  Add asparagus, leeks and Havarti cheese.  Mix well and pour into pie crust.  Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes.  Turn down heat and bake at 325 degrees for 35 minutes or until crust is golden.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Slice into wedges.  Makes 1 quiche.

Asparagus and Champagne Mango Salad

Asparagus and Champagne Mango Salad

If you have not noticed already, I really like asparagus.  Asparagus is one of my favorite vegetables and when it is fresh and in season I can’t seem to get enough of it.  Early this morning before anyone in my family decided to crawl out of their beds, I was already out of the house driving my little car along the back roads of Southern Oregon looking for wild asparagus.  Asparagus can be found in mid spring along roadsides and in orchards under the blooming pear trees.  I was hoping to find some this morning but, it appears to be a bit early in the season.  Maybe I’ll find some next week….

Pear orchards and vineyards near my home

If you ever have the opportunity to hunt for wild asparagus, there are two very important rules to remember.  First of all, find a place where the asparagus is not sprayed with herbicides.  If you see asparagus poking through the ground and there are no weeds or grasses around it, don’t pick it.  Ever.  Don’t even think about it.  It’s not safe to eat.  Second, always ask the property owner before taking off into an orchard looking for asparagus.  You really don’t want to be dealing with the owner’s big mean watch dog or the owner himself.  It’s always best to ask first.

Before I go on about the Asparagus and Champagne Mango Salad, I want to thank Weng at ApronandSneakers.com for nominating me for the Liebster Blog Award.  If you get a chance, stop by her site and check out her work.  Weng’s photography is amazing and her recipes are outstanding.

The Liebster Blog Award is sort of a chain letter among bloggers meant to showcase exceptional up-and-coming bloggers with less than 200 followers.  It is a recognition that a fellow blogger has noticed and appreciated your work.  Liebster is German for dearest, favorite, or beloved.

Here are my five nominations for the Liebster Blog Award:

A Taste for Change

Beti at Beti Vanilla

Purabi at Cosmopolitan Currymania

Tia at IamSimplyTia

Tobias at TandTeacake

Rules for the Liebster Blog Award:

Thank the Liebster Blog Award Presenter on your blog
Link back to the blogger who nominated you
Copy and paste the award on your blog
Reveal 5 blogs of your choice
Let them know by leaving a comment on their blog

Now back to asparagus… My Asparagus and Champagne Mango Salad is made with fresh picked asparagus, sweet champagne mangoes, crunchy red peppers, purple onions and a wonderful maple red wine vinaigrette.  It’s easy to make and is perfect to serve on a warm spring day.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups asparagus
  • 1 cup red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 cup red onion diced
  • 2 champagne (yellow) mangoes peeled and diced
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup light olive oil
  • ¼ tsp black pepper or to taste
  • ¼ tsp salt or to taste

Fill a large saucepan with water and bring to a boil.  Add 1 tsp. salt to the water (salt helps keep the bright green color in the asparagus).  Wash, trim and cut the woody tips off the asparagus.  Toss the woody tips in your compost bin.  Cut your asparagus into 1″ pieces on the diagonal.  Put asparagus in boiling water.  Cook asparagus for about 3 minutes.  Quickly remove asparagus and immediately put into cold ice water.  Wait a few minutes until the asparagus has cooled and then drain.  Meanwhile, prepare your vegetables and mango and set aside.  Grab a large mixing bowl and whisk together the red wine vinegar, maple syrup, olive oil, black pepper and salt.  Add asparagus, mango, onion, red bell pepper and parsley.  Toss to coat.  Serve cold.  Makes about 4 servings.

Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque

Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque

For the past couple of days I have been desperately looking for signs of spring.  Even though our winter here in the Rogue Valley has been relatively mild, I am ready for change.  As I look around my yard, I see that the lilacs have started to form buds, the willow tree is starting to change from brown to a light shade of green and my little crocuses started to flower. My koi fish who lay dormant for months are starting to surface and are swimming to the sides of the pond.  Spring is near…

Crocus

Spring brings wonderful vegetables such as asparagus, colorful chard, bright green spinach and tender lettuce.  I especially love asparagus.  Unfortunately, my husband hates asparagus. The poor man, I sometimes think that he suffers needlessly.  When Bruce married me he neglected to read the fine print that said “Tessa really doesn’t care what Bruce thinks about asparagus, she is going to cook it anyway”.   Luckily for my son, I taught him at an early age to always read the fine print :).

Fresh Asparagus

When selecting asparagus, always look for firm tightly closed tips.  If it does not look or feel fresh, it’s not.  Don’t bother buying it.

My Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Bisque is one fabulous way to serve asparagus when it is fresh and in season.  I oven roast the asparagus and cippolini onions and then blend it in a light chicken stock with potato and tarragon.  Cippolini onions are a variety of Italian onions that I recently found at my local food co-op.  They are mild in flavor and good for roasting. If you can’t find cippolini onions, use half an onion.  My Roasted Asparagus and Cippolini Onion Soup is a delightful first course or an easy lunch served alongside your favorite sandwich or salad.  Enjoy!  Tessa

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound asparagus spears (washed and woody part of stem removed)
  • 2 cippolini onions (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • salt to taste
  • 1 quart chicken stock
  • 1 white potato (peeled and diced)
  • 1/4 tsp dried tarragon leaves
  • pinch of white pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt to taste

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  On a small baking sheet toss the asparagus and cippolini onion in the olive oil and salt.  Bake in the oven for about 35 minutes until tender.  Meanwhile in a medium sized sauce pan add your chicken stock, potato and spices.  Cook on medium heat until potato is tender.  Add your asparagus and cippolini onions to the pot.  Take a hand blender and blend until smooth.  Taste and correct your seasonings.  Dish up and serve.  Makes about 6 servings.