Archive for the ‘asparagus’ Category

Saturday, May 19th, 2012

Top Ten Vegetables for Grilling

Yes, I know, things have been a little quiet around here. I hope to get back to it soon. In the mean time, check out the guest blog I wrote for Full Circle Farm: Top Ten Vegetables for Grilling



Friday, June 12th, 2009

Asian-Grilled Chicken with Stir-Fried Vegetables

It has been a very busy week for me and I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit of a lazy chef this week. Today was my at-home paperwork day (and triathlon training rest day) so I had more energy for cooking tonight.

After a quick perusal of the crisper drawer I was rewarded with shitake mushrooms, a whole bunch of green veggies (including a zucchini that had seen better days that went in the bin rather then the meal) and in the meat drawer some chicken. I decided to put a quick marinade on the chicken and stir-fry some veggies.

Here’s the ingredients for the chicken:

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
1/4 oyster sauce
1 Tablespoon honey
a healthy squeeze of sriracha
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 chicken breasts

I combined all the marinade ingredients in a ziploc bag. Then I trimmed my chicken and cut each breast in half horizontally so that they were thinner and would cook faster. I set this aside which I worked on the veggies.

After about 15 minutes I removed the chicken from the marinade (reserving it for later), dried them well with paper towels then tossed them on my hot grill. When it was done I set it aside to rest covered with foil while I cooked the veggies.

Here’s the ingredients for the veggies:

On the left are the veggies to top the chicken on the right are the veggies for under the chicken (that will make more sense later).

8 or so shitake mushrooms, stemmed and sliced
4 green onion, chopped
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/4 cup dry sherry

1 shallot, sliced
1 green bell pepper, sliced
12 sprigs asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 bunch spinach

In a small saucepan I warmed the sesame oil and then added the mushrooms and green onions to saute.

When they were just about cooked through I added the sherry and then put it back on the heat and let it cook until the pan was almost dry.

While this was cooking I added just a little more sesame oil to a large saute pan then tossed in the shallots, green onions and asparagus. When the veggies were cooked almost through I added the reserved marinade (making sure that it boiled for at least a minute since it had raw chicken in it) and then the spinach.

Now I was ready to plate. I made a little bed of rice, then topped that with the stir-fried asparagus combo, then topped that with grilled chicken, then topped that with the shitake mushrooms.

How was it? Well I think I would give this dish a solid “B”. It could have used more garlic, especially in the mushrooms, a little soy sauce wouldn’t have hurt anything (but their was none in the pantry) and I could have been a little more heavy handed with the sriracha. For the most part the husband enjoyed it too, but I did get a “was there spinach in this” when we were done. I can’t get anything past him.

Saturday, June 6th, 2009

Asparagus and Green Garlic Soup

Last night I had my first Triathlon training session in the pool. I knew that I was going to need to eat before I swam, but I wanted something light and quick to make. Soup and salad fit the bill perfectly.

Earlier in the day I had been doing a bit of research about the green garlic in my box (because I had never used it before and I wasn’t sure what to expect). Most resources said you could use it just as you would use garlic, but to expect a milder flavor. I wanted to really highlight the flavor of the green garlic so I kept my soup very simple, just five ingredients (I’m not counting olive oil and salt and pepper).

Here they are:

2 shallots (mince about a tablespoon for the salad, chop the rest)
3 bulbs green garlic, divided
a large bunch asparagus, stems trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
about 2 cups chicken broth
a couple tablespoons of cream

I minced a half bulb of green garlic (about 2 teaspoons) then set it aside. Then I chopped the remaining green garlic (bulbs and the light green part of the stems) along with the shallots (you don’t have to take a lot of time chopping this nice because it’s all going to get pureed at the end anyway). I sat a large saucepan over medium heat and heated up a little olive oil. When it was warm I added my chopped shallots, green garlic and a good pinch of kosher salt.

I let this sweat (saute without browning) for a while until the shallot was translucent. I added my asparagus and enough broth to just cover. Then I let this simmer for about 15 minutes.

While the soup was cooking I started on my salad. Here’s the ingredients:

1 Tablespoon minced shallot
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 Tablespoon olive oil
a big pinch of sugar
salt and fresh ground pepper
a handful of salad greens
a few radishes, sliced thin
a few carrots, sliced thin on the bias
a couple of sunchokes, peeled and sliced thin (these aren’t in the picture because they were a last minute crisper drawer find)

In a bowl I whisked together the shallot, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. While continuing to whisk, I drizzled in the olive oil to create an emulsion. At this point I tasted the dressing and decided to add the sugar. To the bowl I added my greens and sliced veggies and then tossed everything together.

At this point my soup had been simmering away and the asparagus was nice and tender. I added a splash of cream and then used my stick blender to puree the soup. A blender would have made this a much smoother puree, but I happen to like a little bit of texture in my blended soups, plus the stick blender is easier to use and clean.

I seasoned the soup with salt and pepper then topped the soup with a drizzle of olive oil and some of the minced fresh green garlic. I served the soup and salad with a piece of Parmesan-topped toast.

How was it? Well I am now a true believer in the power of green garlic. It is my mission to search this stuff out and use it every spring (the only time it is available). I make asparagus soup a lot (my clients love the stuff) and this just added a really nice flavor to the mix. The salad was also delightful (I’m really happy I found the sunchokes, they are so good in salad). The husband really liked everything too, which is a little surprising because he is not a fan of salads (unless they have lots of ranch dressing).

Dinner was so easy to make, we finished in plenty of time so that everything could settle before my swim (Mom always said to wait an hour after eating before getting in the water). So I guess I accomplished my mission of light and quick to make (with the nice addition of tastiness)

Saturday, April 4th, 2009

Grilled Acorn Squash and Orange and Grilled Aspargus Salad

I have two grills, one gas and one charcoal, and I tend to be a year-round griller. In the winter the gas grill gets the most action. It’s faster to light and heat so there is not as much time spent in the cold. Charcoal is reserved for summer when sitting outside for an hour while the coals get hot, makes sense (although I have been known to light the charcoal in the winter for a special occasion, say Christmas dinner)

Today in the Seattle area, we had our first day above 60 degrees in a long time (it was snowing three days ago so this is a welcome change) and I had the need to get outside.

We made a special trip to get propane for the gas grill, but as I was sitting outside, thinking about what to make, the charcoal grill started calling my name.

I started up the grill and made a two-level fire (hot on one side, medium on the other).

I bought a flat-iron steak and rubbed it with the Steak Seasoning mix from Costco (hey, there is nothing wrong with taking a little help now and then) and then turned my eye towards side dishes. I decided to make acorn squash and an asparagus and orange salad.

Here’s the ingredients for the Orange and Grilled Asparagus Salad

1 tablespoon homemade pear and honey infused vinegar (sherry vinegar would be a good substitute)
1 teaspoon, brown sugar
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 orange, peeled and segmented
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

In a bowl I whisked together the vinegar, brown sugar, shallot and oil. I cooked the asparagus on the hot side of the grill, tossing occasionally until it was cooked through.

I removed it from the grill cut it into smaller pieces and added it to the bowl. Once it cooled down, I added the orange segments and tarragon and tossed it to coat.

Here’s the ingredients for the Grilled Acorn Squash with Whiskey and Brown Sugar Glaze

1 acorn squash, cut into rings
3 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup whiskey
1/4 cup brown sugar
cayenne pepper to taste
salt and pepper

In a small saucepan I combined the butter, whiskey, brown sugar, cayenne and salt and pepper. I brought it to a boil, then let it simmer for a few minutes, until it was thickened a bit.

I rubbed the acorn squash rings with oil and then seasoned them with salt and pepper. I put them on the cooler side of the grill to cook for 15 minutes, turning them over once.

Once they were fairly tender, I started brushing them with the glaze, about 5 minutes more of cooking and three or four coats of glaze.

I sliced the steak and served everything family style, along with some grilled bread.

The asparagus was a little overcooked (burned) but the salad was really good, as my mother (who is visiting) said “it’s an unexpected combination of flavors”.

The squash was really good, sweet and spicy. I served the leftover extra glaze alongside the squash so that a bit more could be added if desired. We ended up adding this to the spice-rubbed steak and it made it extra delicious.

I liked it, the husband liked it, and the mother kept saying “just a little more” to everything I made. Looks like the first serious grilling of the season was a success!

Saturday, March 21st, 2009

Chicken and Garbanzos over Lemony Chard and Tomatoes

A lot of the time I walk into the kitchen with no idea what I plan to make for dinner. This was one of those time. I basically just started pulling things out of the fridge (looking especially for things that were about to go wrong) trying to find items that would go nicely together.

I settled on a dish that took advantage of the one chicken breast and the half can of garbanzo beans that I had left over from earlier in the week. I also got some chard in my CSA box this week that I was ready to use and I had some cherry tomatoes that were starting to get wrinkly. For good measure I also decided to add a few sprigs of asparagus.

For the Lemony Chard and Tomatoes

1 bunch rainbow chard, stems separated, leaves and stems chopped
8 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1/2 red onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lemon, juiced
1 tsp red pepper flakes

For the Chicken and Garbanzos

4 slice center-cut bacon, diced
2 small shallots, sliced
1 chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
8 or so marinated artichokes
1/2 can garbanzo beans
2 Tbls fresh parsley, minced

For the Sauteed Asparagus

12 sprigs Asparagus
olive oil
kosher salt and black pepper

Now, I wanted all of this to finish up cooking at the same time, so that meant a bunch of pans and a bit of attention to timing.

In the chicken pan I sauteed the diced bacon, then removed it from the pan. Next I added the chicken and shallots to the pan and started them cooking. Meanwhile in the chard pan, I heated some olive oil then added my chard stems, tomatoes and red onion. Then, I heated olive oil in a third pan and tossed in the asparagus which I seasoned with salt and pepper.

Just as the chicken was finish cooking through I added the garlic, then I turned the pan down and added the artichokes and garbanzo beans to heat through. In the chard pan, I added a clove a garlic and the red pepper flakes let that saute for a few seconds and then added my chard leaves and the lemon juice. I let this saute until the greens were cooked through. While doing all this, I was tossing my asparagus occasionally so that it cooked evenly.

I added the cooked bacon and parsley to the chicken then checked everything for seasoning and plated it up. I started with a bed of Lemony Chard and Tomatoes, topped this with the Chicken and Garbanzos, then finished up with a few sprigs of asparagus and a sprinkle of parsley. I also made a bit of toast (buttered and seasoned with sea salt and black pepper) to accompany the meal.

The meal took on a definite Mediterranean feel. While I love bacon, in this dish it kind of vanished among all the other flavors, so I probably would leave this out and save the calories next time.

I loved the flavors of this dish. The chard had a bit of warmth from the chile flakes and a great tang from the lemon which contrasted nicely with the creaminess or the garbanzo beans. The husband said it was really good, but that it would have been “better without the leafy green stuff”. Fair enough, but I like the leafy green stuff and it’s good for us, so that’s what he is going to get. It pays to be the chef.

About Me

I'm a personal chef living happily with her picky-eater (but willing to try anything) husband, neurotic black lab and a red heeler puppy.

I watch way too much TV and enjoy hip-hop more than any reasonable grown-up should.

I'm an avid swimmer and sometime triathlete (whenever I'm not nursing an injury).

Find out more about me here.

About This Blog

I started this blog at a time when my personal chef business was quite slow and I needed to keep my mind busy and my skills sharp. But now, business is booming so I've had to put the blog on the back burner. So, no new recipes for now, but please enjoy my archives.

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