Travel Eats

Entries in asparagus (4)


Goodbye Dinner

Time for one last dinner en famile before Ian heads east...I didn't feel like grocery shopping after a long day packing and picking up my truck after the 90K service.  Luckily I had frozen two steel head filets and some leftover asparagus.  I wanted something fresh and green--mostly so I wouldn't feel too guilty eating apple pie for dessert.

The Thai basil and lemongrass pictured above came from my container garden.  I made a pesto and spread it over the filets.  I used my trusty ginger grater prior to adding it to the mortar...

If you are every lucky enough to get your hands on some fresh wasabi root you can use the same grater. 

Asian Pesto

1 cup Thai basil leaves

Juice of two key limes

2"piece ginger, grated


1 stalk lemon grass--tender white part only

olive or grapeseed oil

one large garlic clove

Mash all in mortar or food processor, adding enough oil to make a paste.

Spread over fish and cook in 400F oven for 15 minutes.

My second asparagus shaving experience was no better than my first, and I vowed to a get a super sharp peeler before I attempt this again....

Asian Style Shaved Asparagus

1/2 lb asparagus spears--shaved thinly

3 TBS soy sauce

3 TBS rice wine vinegar

1 TBS sesame oil


Sesame seeds

Kim---this is Korean toasted/salted seaweed, way tastier than Japanese nori, even if it expired a year ago...

Toss asparagus with all except the kim and sesame seeds....add them last so they will be nice and crunchy.

You can't leave Texas without one last margarita....


That's Not Velveeta

It's Spicy Sushi Mayo--you know the kind you get on top of your spicy tuna roll.  Maddy wanted to make some special hamburgers and we found the recipe for the mayo in a little Sriracha cookbook.  She quickly memorized the recipe since we didn't need a full complement of Sriracha recipes, and we left Urban Outfitters with noone the wiser.  Here it is:

1 part Sriracha sauce

2 part mayo

1 TBS lime juice per one cup of sauce

This was pretty spicy so adjust accordingly...conveniently we had a little mayo left in a squeeze bottle and just added the Sriracha and lime juice and shook it.  You can always buy one of those little ketchup/mustard bottles for the same purpose.  It's nice to be able to artistically apply your sauce. 

We did our food shopping in Costco for this dinner, and since I didn't need a metric ton of hamburger buns we bought sourdough bread which was delicious but combined with the thickness of the burger required us to unhinge our jaws much like a snake to take a bite. Maddy created the romaine lettuce bun for her burger. Luckily we already had a ripe avocado. I wish avocados were more like bananas and could ripen in the car on the way home.  Avocados in my house tend to be of two varieties--rock hard or covered in mold.  Costco also has some nice organic meats, and we bought ground beef and chicken breast there too. 

Not pictured are the commercial sweet potato fries, gasp!  Actually, Alexia makes some good potato products.  I want to try their sweet potato puffs--or sweet potatertots as we call them.  We also had some brown butter asparagus---did I post that recipe here already?

1 lb. asparagus-woody ends snapped off

4 TBS. unsalted butter

3 TBS. soy sauce

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place butter in a baking dish and melt in the oven until it is lightly browned.  Add asparagus and soy sauce, shake to coat.  Roast for 20-30 minutes, shaking once or twice. 

It was our last home cooked meal with Maddy, and now she knows how to properly grill a medium rare burger.  I was going to title this post "Sadness Burger" but Maddy didn't want the blog to go into a despair spiral.   Happy Cookie Boat!  There, now I feel better.


Shaved Asparagus Salad

Things I would rather shave than asparagus:

  • my legs
  • chocolate
  • parmesan
  • a sheep--technically shearing, but then I could have all that wool

I will take a tip from Maddy next time--don't snap the woody ends off, then you have something to hold on to while you shave.  Despite all the cursing, the end product was delightful.  I don't usually eat raw asparagus, but these tender young spring spears lend themselves nicely to this "simple" preparation. From Bon Appetit's May 2011 issue.

Shaved Asparagus with Parmesan Vinaigrette

~1 lb asparagus spears

1/4 cup finely grated parmesan

Juice of one lemon

1/4 extra virgin olive oil

salt and freshly ground pepper

Shave asparagus spears with vegetable peeler into long, thin shavings.  (I cut the tips off first) Combine cheese and lemon juice in a small bowl, then whisk in olive oil until well blended.  Season with salt and pepper.  Toss asparagus with dressing and sprinkle with additional cheese.  I added some halved tomatoes from my crop because I thought they looked pretty.



Tuesday Spring Risotto with Shrimp

After a super busy day in labor and delivery this dinner was better than valium for taking all my cares away.  Modified from the award winning risotto recipe on  Maddy had made this recipe previously and knew that the lack of Pernod and preserved lemon had no detrimental effect on the finished product. 

for the risotto:

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, chopped
  • 1 small fennel bulb, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • kosher salt to taste 
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine (subbed for Pernod) 
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice
  • 6-8 cups hot chicken stock
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup mascarpone
  • 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 2-inch lengths and blanched in salted, boiling water
  • freshly ground pepper

for the shrimp:

  • 24 to 32 large shrimp, shelled  
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • zest of half a large lemon
  • 2 teaspoons finely chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  1. In a shallow pan just large enough to hold the shrimp, mix the shrimp with the oil, garlic, zest, rosemary, salt and pepper. Let the shrimp marinate at room temperature while you make the risotto.
  2. Prepare all of your risotto ingredients: blanch the asparagus, heat the stock, chop and measure everything out, placing it all close to hand by the stove. Once you start stirring risotto, there’s no stopping.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the onion, fennel and garlic and sweat over low heat for about 10 minutes, or until soft and translucent. Season with salt about halfway through.
  4. Add the rice and raise the heat to medium high. Stir to coat and slightly toast the rice for about 3 minutes. You should hear a lively crackling in the pot. The rice will take on a shiny, translucent coat. 
  5. Add the white wine and lemon juice to the rice and continue stirring until the liquid is almost completely absorbed.
  6. Add a ladleful of hot stock to the rice and continue stirring. It’s important to regulate the heat at this point. The rice should neither boil vigorously nor cook too slowly. You’re looking for an even, medium heat that gives the rice a billowy loft and brings some bubbles to the surface.
  7. As the stock is absorbed, continue adding it by ladlefuls and stirring. If you watch carefully, you’ll see that toward the end the rice really gives itself over to the liquid, releasing its starch to make a kind of cream. Stop incorporating stock once the rice is creamy but still al dente, cooked but not too soft. This can take between 20 and 30 minutes, and between 6 and 8 cups of stock.
  8. Remove the risotto from the heat, and immediately fold in the butter, mascarpone, several grinds of white pepper and most of the mint (save some for garnish).  Stir slowly to blend, check a final time for seasoning, and carefully fold in the asparagus. Put a lid on the risotto and let it rest while you quickly grill the shrimp. 
  9. Grill or broil the shrimp for about 60 seconds on each side, or until the flesh is completely opaque.
  10. Top each serving of risotto with 4 shrimp, garnish with mint and a flourish of pepper, and serve.