Tag Archive: Asparagus

  1. Spring on a Plate

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    It’s 3pm and raining now. I feel like Hayden’s here in the room. It’s been long time. Maybe it hasn’t. Maybe I just haven’t been present to it. If I’m honest, staying present has been difficult lately. The season has turned over so fast, it’s like I woke up this morning and the trees are just now suddenly green, tulips are blistering at their ends, and the garden has creeped back to life. Before you left, you pointed out the one tree in the back alley that is holding out. It’s naked and just barely budding while her sisters are already flanked and beaming. In my mind, I’ll pretend it has been waiting for me to stop spinning, settle my mind, and catch up to the miracle that is this season. I hate when you’re gone but I loved how quiet things were today. I’ve needed it, desperately.

    When I am silent, I have thunder hidden inside. – Rumi

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    Spring On a Plate

    This recipe is for my mom whose beauty is matched only by her grace, passion, and strength. I am nothing without your love. Happy Mother’s Day. You are my sun and moon and all of my stars.

    • ½  lb fresh green garbanzo beans
    • ½ lb green asparagus
    • 3 stalks rhubarb
    • 2 yellow potatoes
    • ¼ lb ramps (baby leeks)
    • Handful watercress
    • (optional) heel of stale bread, ¼ cup breadcrumbs
    • ¼ cup olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 16 oz unsweetened greek yogurt
    • ½ cup dill, minced
    • ½ cup mint, minced
    • 1/2 cup parsley, minced
    • 3 lemons, juiced
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • (optional) 7-minute egg

     

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    Preparation:

    Bring a small pot of water to boil. Shell the garbanzo beans and blanche in the boiling water for 2 minutes. Remove from heat and rinse with cold water. Set aside. Preheat oven for 350.’ Cut potato into small wedges and place on a baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and send them to a hot oven to roast for 20 minutes. Remove tough ends of asparagus, thoroughly yet delicately clean and remove roots from ramps, and cut stalks of rhubarb in half and then slice length wise into 3 smaller strips. Place in the basin of stone or glass baking dish and drizzle with olive oil and a dash of salt/pepper. Place on the available rack in the oven and bake for the remaining time on the potatoes (+/- 10 minutes).

    In a medium bowl, combine yogurt, and lemon with the minced fresh herbs. Pour herb-y yogurt onto a large serving platter. Spread with a spatula to create a yogurt bed. Arrange vegetables on top of the yogurt to your liking. Garnish with watercress, blanched garbanzo beans, a sprinkle of bread crumbs, and a halved medium-boil egg.

    Enjoy immediately with warm flatbread or alongside a nice lentil salad.

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  2. A Parable + Breakfast for Spring

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    “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

    “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

    “It’s the same thing,” he said.

    Broiled Asparagus, a Poached Egg, and Charred Spring Onion and Garlic over Grits

    • 1 cup coarse grits (polenta)
    • 1 bundle (about a pound) asparagus
    • 3 spring onions
    • 2 stalks spring garlic
    • Lemon juice, lemon zest
    • 2 eggs
    • olive oil / butter
    • salt

    Combine 1 cup grits with 5 cups cold water in a heavy, deep pot. Bring to a boil, toss in a bit of salt and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring very frequently and adding water and oil/butter to your liking. Meanwhile, prep asparagus on baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and zest of 1 lemon. Broil on the top rack for no more than 5 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Slice the white and light green portion of both garlic and onions and toss in leftover olive oil from the asparagus on the baking sheet. Squeeze the juice of the fully zested lemon over the garlic and onions. Add a bit more oil if you feel necessary. Return to the broiler, and check every 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Pull them out when they have a nice brown char on the edges. Set aside.

    Prepare the water for poaching the eggs in a deep pan. Once things come to a boil, it’s time to start prepping the serving bowls with the warm grits and asparagus. 1-ish cup of the grits, followed by half of the asparagus… bring bowls/plates over to the stove for easy transfer of the eggs.

    I have recently adopted this bangin’ poaching technique, thanks to Bon Appetit: when the water has just come to a boil, create a vortex in the center by whisking a fork in a counter-clockwise direction. Once you’ve gotten up enough speed, set down the fork and quickly crack the egg into the middle of the whirlpool you’ve created. Now just watch. Seriously. Magic is happening. Cook for 4 minutes.

    Place finished egg on top of the asparagus, and pile on a generous handful of charred onions/garlic.

  3. Spring Panzanella

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    Life has a funny way of bringing things into our lives that tote a particular message just when we need it most. Last week I was sitting in a waiting room after a particularly tumultuous morning and picked up an old issue of O Magazine and opened it at a random page where “The Journey,” a poem by Mary Oliver was highlighted:

    One day you finally knew / what you had to do, and began, / though the voices around you / kept shouting their bad advice / though the whole house / began to tremble / and you felt the old tug / at your ankles. / “Mend my life!” / each voice cried. / But you didn’t stop. / You knew what you had to do, / though the wind pried / with its stiff fingers / at the very foundations, / though their melancholy was terrible.

    It was already late enough,  / and a wild night, / and the road full of fallen branches and stones. / But little by little, / as you left their voices behind, / the stars began to burn / through the sheets of clouds, / and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, / that kept you company / as you strode deeper and deeper / into the world, / determined to do the only thing you could do / determined to save the only life you could save.

    I could have melted right out of my seat. Mary’s wise words snuck into my day and gave me the boost of energy and confidence I desperately needed to stay the course.

    The gift was unexpected, as they often are. Rarely do signs appear with big flashing lights to guide or comfort us in difficult times. Inspiration surrounds us at every moment, gently whispering and nudging us in the right direction – half the time, we’re just too busy or distracted to even notice. Direction and guidance lie tucked in the innuendo; the passing smile of a stranger, old songs on the radio… little reminders that we are not alone and that it’s all okay.

    It is our work to practice mindfulness and give ourselves permission to spend time just noticing. When we stop to simply notice, our busy and anxious minds are forced to the sideline and our intuitions get a chance to shine. The little signs around us end up only pointing to what we already instinctively knew.

    Spring is the perfect season to practice the art of noticing all the beauty and wisdom the world has to offer us. The winds are shifting, the flowers are blooming, and the markets are bursting with fresh and invigorating vegetables that help keep a lightness about our days. The delicate bounties in our CSA box inspired a spring Panzanella based on Erin’s at Fresh365, but with produce this good my version ended up more like a big salad with extra croutons. The ingredient list may feel long, but hang with me.

    Spring Panzanella

    • ½ loaf of bread, cut into 1” cubes
    • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 leeks, sliced thin
    • 1 small bunch of asparagus, cut to 1” pieces
    • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
    • 2 small fennel bulbs, cut thin with a mandoline
    • 1 cup onion sprouts
    • 1 carton cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cup spring peas, halved
    • 2-3 cups rocket, or arugula
    • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
    • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and tossed with lemon
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
    • juice of ½ lemon

    Toss bread cubes in olive oil and generous amounts of salt, and pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet and toss in the oven at 400’ for 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and toast on one side for 2 minutes. Shake the pan to turn the cubes and broil until golden brown and crispy. Set to the side.

    In a small pan, bring 3-4 cups of water to boil and cook asparagus for no longer than 2 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and immerse in cold water to stop cooking. In a large bowl, combine the leeks, red onion, mint, basil, fennel, tomatoes, sprouts, and spring peas, toss with a splash of oil and vinegar, then add the rocket/arugula and cooled asparagus. Toss with the additional dressing, garbanzo beans, and bread cubes. Season with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

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I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.