23 April 2014

Breaded Asparagus Recipe

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Today's post is brought to you by: Inner beauty

This afternoon I flew out the door to get to work and join in my run club.  In the rush, I did not put on any makeup, or really think about what I was wearing.  As soon as I put my foot in the cage of my bike pedal, the reflector on my rear tire flew off.  I dashed over to pick it up and discard it before heading out.  

A half hour later after checking in a class and settling in the studio, I ran to the restroom where I discovered a disheveled mess.  My hair was wild from the bike helmet, I had sweat stains from exertion in the unexpected warm weather, and there was bike grease all over my face.  

I just had to smile.

Of the dozen ladies I checked into class, no one made a mention of my visage.  Instead they greeted me with smiles and salutations, commenting on the weather and inquiring if I had a good bike ride in.

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Appreciating the inner beauty -- of asparagus.

I am fairly certain if asparagus had the ability to communicate, our conversation would go something like;

"So, what's cookin' Amy?" said the asparagus

"You are asparagus!" my reply.

"Ha ha, very funny.  But seriously, you do like to cook me a lot."

"Sure do.  There are no less then six recipes on my blog dedicated to you."

Asparagus jumps back in shock, "Why, I think that makes me one of your favorite ingredients!"

"Ah yes, that woody texture and how bountiful you are in the spring makes me so happy."

"Gosh, I'm speechless.  My points d'amour (love tips) are blushing."

"Guess what."

"What."

"Let's go for recipe number seven!"

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Keeping asparagus fresh:

Asparagus is composed of 93% water.  Most grocery stores will have it displayed in a water bath, and I like to do the same if I do not plan to use it immediately when I get home.

Typically I fill up a container with water and allow the woody part of the asparagus to become submerged.  It can last in the refrigerator for about 5 to 7 days.  

Since it is most plentiful in the springtime, I will occasionally buy it at my local farmers market, heat it in boiling water, and then quickly put it into an ice bath so the veggie can blanch.  In a freezer tight container it can last about 6 to 8 months.

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Making bread crumbs:

The recipe calls for bread crumbs, and Panko bread crumbs would work perfectly fine.  But I like the challenge of doing things from scratch.  

The Shopping List:
  • 4 slices of bread
  • 3 tsp seasoning (I used parsley, basil and salt)
The Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Place the bread on a pan that is not greased.  Bake for 10-12 minutes.  Pull baked bread out and break into pieces and put in a food processor.  Add in spices, pulse until they are integrated. 

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Preparing the asparagus:

The Shopping List:
  • 1 bunch (approx. 20 stalks) asparagus
  • 2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • Egg whites from two eggs
The Method:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Mix the bread crumbs and grated Parmesan cheese together in a flat pan.  In a separate pan whisk the egg whites.  Wash and dry the asparagus.  Take the stalks and snap them so the woody part comes off.  Dip the asparagus in the egg wash and then into the bread crumb mixture.

Place a baking rack on top off of a flat sheet so the heat can circulate around the asparagus.  Place the coated asparagus on the rack.  Bake for 20 minutes until the bread crumbs take on a golden color. 

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17 April 2014

Strawberries and Whipped Cream Party Treats

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I still contend that some of the most delightful things in life are the most simple.  

A couple years back I wrote a recipe with only two ingredients that became one of my most popular -- Raspberries and Chocolate.

In that same vein I bring you -- strawberries and whipped cream.

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I was looking for a fun and easy treat that could be made up ahead of time and served when friends stop over.

The iconic strawberry mixed with whipped cream and served as a shortcake is so appealing, but not really a easy pop-in-mouth appetizer. 

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The trick is making a cut on the bottom so the strawberry can sit upright without tipping over.  I cored the inside to give the whip cream a place to be piped into and form a base.  

Fear not, all of the left over pieces were consumed.  No strawberry piece was left behind.

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The Shopping List:
  • 1 pint fresh Strawberries
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tsp Powdered Sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • a dash of cinnamon
The Method:

Cut the bottoms of the strawberries so they lay flat, cut the stem and pit them to create a bed for the whipped cream.

Place a metal or glass bowl in a freezer for about fifteen minutes.  This will help the cream froth easier.  In the bowl add the heavy whipping cream and beginning mixing to get air into it.  Add in the powdered sugar and vanilla and continue to whip until it forms peaks.  

Put the whipped cream into a pastry bag, or a plastic bag and cut the corner to form a tip.  Use the strawberry pit to form a base and add in a dollop.  Top with a sprinkling of cinnamon. 

Keep in the refrigerator covered until ready to serve.

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14 April 2014

Published in Saveurs Russia May-June Issue

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I cook because I love to create.  I also really love to eat.  I'm kind of a pro at it. 

The experimentation with flavors and the opportunity to create imagery to share with others makes the entire process mentally stimulating.  This blog was started as a way to categorize the most successful of those experiments, and maintain a personal cookbook of sorts. 

Folks might ask what I did to the recipes that failed.  Does not happen.  Nope, never burnt anything, overcooked a dish or forgot to add a key ingredient.  Never ever. *shakes head and tries to look innocent*

About a month back I was contacted by the editor-in-chief of Saveurs magazine's Russian edition about featuring my Baby Potatoes with Asparagus and Caper Dressing in their May-June publication in a section called A Votre Santé! where they invite healthy food bloggers to share recipes and stories.  The theme for this particular issue is spring vegetables, which for Russia is later then most of the United States.

Thankfully they sent me a PDF of the article.  Which is in Russian, so I had to have a little help with the translation.

The first draft I put together to send to them went something like:
Meet Amy of the blog, Beloved Green.  She is a cat lady who loves to crochet and needs at least two caffeinated drinks per day to survive.  In her free time she recites Starwars episodes IV, V, and VI by heart to folks she meets at the grocery store.  She loves her wine.
But then I remembered I tried to be a bit more respectable -- it is my first published recipe after all-- and with the help of Google translate it came back with a bit more finesse:
Amy lives in the Northwestern United States by the ocean where it is green (this explains her name, ha)  She is a long distance runner and practices yoga, so it is necessary for her to have a diet filled with nutrients and sustenance.  Amy dreams of having a small plot of land and growing the foods she cooks with.
A delightful nod to the other bloggers were also featured in this issue: