Peruvian White Asparagus
Shaved Californian Avocado
I was shopping at Whole Foods Market today for meat to make a very Autumn-Style dish for a big party this weekend: Stout Braised Short Ribs, a two-day process which we will be starting tomorrow morning.
Walking into the produce section, I noticed this big display of asparagus, the quintessential Spring vegetable, right? Turns out this asparagus was from Peru. Where Spring has sprung! In solidarity with my Southern Hemisphere Cooking Compadres, I picked up some asparagus to serve along side a Whole Foods pre-cooked smoked chicken tonight. Their smoked chicken is really good.
Trim off the end of the asparagus, then shave the entire stalk with a vegetable peeler.
Place shaved asparagus stalks in salted simmering water with a bay leaf. Cook until tender, taste for doneness. This was about 8 minutes. When tender, place asparagus in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then dry on paper towels.
Mix mayonnaise with finely chopped fresh tarragon, salt and pepper, and a splash of tarragon vinegar. Tonight’s dinner had to be effortless, considering the upcoming party and all the cooking involved. But…
Mayonnaise aficionados might appreciate an “almost effortless” homemade version, compliments of Julia Child, that I paired with fresh swordfish here.
“Mayonnaise is one of the finest and most important sauces in classic cuisine. The shame is that few of us ever taste the kind of fresh handmade mayonnaise that deserves such culinary status – and even dedicated home cooks don’t realize that making their own is a simple process that takes only minutes and, if you use a food processor, almost no effort at all.” Julia Child
Shave a slightly under-ripe avocado into strips with the vegetable peeler. Season asparagus with salt and pepper, ladle tarragon mayonnaise over the center, top with shaved avocado ribbons. Add a tarragon sprig for garnish. This side dish was really simple and quite lovely.
Happy Spring to My Blogger Friends in the Southern Hemisphere!
For more information on Peruvian White Asparagus, please visit Gourmet Trading Company here.
Steamed Baby Beets
Frisée and Garlicky Red Wine Vinaigrette
Serve with Crusty Baguette
This delightful salade composée has a wide variety and balance of colors, flavors, and textures. Yet it was very simple and fast to compose! The earthy baby beets and sweet crunchy walnuts were purchased ready to serve. The tangy vinaigrette is made in a jar with minced garlic and shallot, premium red wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper. Just shake well and pour the vinaigrette over the beets and frisée. Slice a piece of creamy, buttery St. Agur and serve with crusty French bread. Voilà!
Melissa’s brand peeled baby red beets are grown in France. They are trimmed, peeled, steamed and ready to serve from the vacuum sealed package. For full flavor I like them at room temperature.
St. Agur (pronounced Sant ah-GOOR) is made from pasteurized cow’s milk in the French village of Monts du Velay. It is very buttery, delicately sharp, and not too salty in comparison to other blues. Due to its creaminess, it seems to melt away in the mouth. A very well-balanced cheese, St. Agur is sowed with the penicillium roqueforti, and one, I think, even those who are not bigs fans of blue could enjoy. For more about St. Agur, please visit the Ile de France website here.
Cheese of the Month
“How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?”
“Comment voulez-vous gouverner un pays qui a deux cent quarante-six variétés de fromage?”
Charles de Gaulle
Do you have a favorite cheese?
toasted buttered baguette
la BOUTIQUE de la truffe
It would be dream-come-true to always have fresh truffles in my kitchen. Preserved truffles are the next best thing. Truffle Carpaccio is a preserved truffle product from Italy. It is made with summer truffles (tuber aestivum vitt), olive oil, and salt. It can be served on toast, tossed with olive oil and pasta, or for an intense flavor combination try a teaspoonful on top of a grilled rib-eye steak.
This makes a delightful first course: Slice heirloom tomatoes (blot excess moisture), place on a baking sheet, top with a little sea salt and grated Parmigiano-Reggiano. Place until the broiler until the cheese bubbles. Top each tomato with a teaspoon of truffle carpaccio. Serve with toasted buttered baguette, garnish with chives.
tomato & truffle carpaccio bruschetta
Toasted baguette rubbed with garlic, brushed with olive oil, sprinkled with Parmigiano-Reggiano, and topped with chopped heirloom tomatoes tossed with truffle carpaccio and a little salt.
The truffle aroma is heavenly.
in Manhattan is an importer of fresh truffles. They recently launched this line of truffle delicacies
called “la BO
UTIQUE de la truffe” which includes the Truffle Carpaccio, Truffle Honey, and White Truffle Cream. We paired the Truffle Honey with panko-crusted chicken breast and paired the White Truffle Cream with angel hair pasta. Truffle heaven!
Steamed Haricots Verts
Melting Goat Butter
Sea Salt and Fresh Ground Pepper
Toss and serve.
This ain’t your ordinary “green beans with butter.”
A couple years ago we had a magnificent dinner at Alinea,
the amazing cutting-edge restaurant of Chef Grant Achatz
in Chicago. In addition to all the mind-blowing courses, one small but totally memorable attention to detail stood out, the butter. Goat Butter. And I have been searching for it ever since. Pure white. Softer than cow’s butter at room temperature. Very subtle yet intriguing chèvre flavors. Recently I was ecstatic to find Cabrima Goat Butter at Whole Foods Market!
From the Netherlands,
Cabrima goat butter is made from fresh Dutch goat milk.
Produced by churning the fresh, pasteurized goat cream. The composition of goat butter has a lower melting point than regular butter, making it easy spreadable. Goat butter does not contain carotene, so the product possesses a clear, white color. (from Cabrima website here)