HELPING FAMILY FARMS FLOURISH. HELPING FEED THE HUNGRY.
Showing posts with label Asparagus. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Asparagus. Show all posts

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Double Cut Pork Chops with Roasted Garlic Butter and a side of Stir Fried Asparagus and Mushrooms

        

Pork is the world’s most widely eaten meat.  It accounts for 38 percent of meat production worldwide.  You’ll have trouble finding it in the Middle East and most of the Muslim world because both Jewish kosher and Islamic halal diets ban it outright.  But almost everywhere else on earth including Asia, Europe, and the Americas, pork is in recipes and on menus everywhere.  Nowhere comes close to China which, at any given moment, has 1 billion pigs on its farms. 

In the mid 80s, in the US, the National Pork Board called pork “the other white meat”, advertising so successful I wish I’d written it myself:  87 percent of consumers identified pork with the slogan.  And still do, despite the fact that it hasn’t been used since 2011.  It might come as a bit of a surprise to know first, that the USDA considers pork a red meat and second, that the only real reason the Pork Board jumped on the white meat bandwagon was the public’s perception that chicken and turkey were healthier than red meat.  It is true that Pork, with its fat trimmed, is leaner than most meats but certainly not chicken or turkey.  And even the ‘new’ leaner pork is still high in cholesterol and saturated fat. And as any good cook will tell you, fat is a flavor carrier that’s hard to replace.  But chefs have found a way to amp up pork’s flavor.  They brine their pork.  But I had never tried it until recently.  And I am here to say, I am a convert.  I recently brined what we jokingly referred to as ‘a side of pork’, chops so enormous they must have been almost three inches thick. And the results were spectacular.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Mario Batali's Chicken Saltimbocca with Asparagus


Mario Batali 
         A few months ago, I went to my friend Monique’s for lunch.  She served a phenomenal dish that Chef Mario Batali had offered up in Food and Wine Magazine.  Ever since I went to school in Rome, I’ve loved Saltimbocca alla Romana, the Roman version of a dish popular from southern Switzerland to all the way down to the capital city.  Saltimbocca translates to ‘jump in the mouth’ which is about as high praise as any dish can get.  The original dish uses Veal topped with prosciutto and sage.  In Rome, chefs add another dimension by rolling up the veal, prosciutto
Expensive but worth every penny.
and sage and cooking the rolls in dry white wine.  Sweet Marsala wine is an option but most Roman chefs think this overpowers the delicate flavor of the Veal.  Mario Batali has substituted chicken cutlets and he makes his sauce using Vin Santo, literally Holy Wine, a sweet dessert wine from Tuscany.  And there lies the reason why I had waited all these months to make the dish.  It was well worth the wait.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ginger Chicken Stir-Fry with Asparagus, Peas and Cremini Mushrooms


         Spring has been notable here for tempting us to believe it’s actually arrived. This is followed by plummeting temperatures the next day convincing us all it has not.  In New York City, you can count on the oddest collection of outfits this time of year.   The winter weary—mainly males—can be counted on to don their shorts and tee shirts the minute it gets close to 60 degrees.  They are accompanied by vast numbers of people who resist any wardrobe change until it’s at least 75.  At least that’s the impression I get standing on line in Trader Joes’ between a guy who looks ready for a run in the park and a woman who is wearing a wool hat, coat, scarf and gloves.  Ah well. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Asparagus with Lardons, a Fried Egg and Zen-sational Seasoning


         A few weeks ago, I told you about Pollen Ranch Spices (http://www.pollenranch.com), a remarkable company in the picturesquely named town of Lemon Cove, California.   My initial introduction to the company was their Fennel Pollen, a key ingredient in a recipe for Porchetta that I posted on Chewing the Fat.  Here’s the link: http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2010/07/porchetta-slow-roasted-pork-shoulder.html.  Along with the hand collected organic fennel pollen, came a second tin of something called “Zen-sational”.  Pollen Ranch calls it ‘your secret ingredient'.  It’s a secret I’d latch on to if I were you.  It gave this simple Asparagus dish a great new taste. And exactly what is “Zen-sational”? 

Thursday, June 27, 2013

A melange of Asparagus and any Green Spring Vegetable you'd like


        
Asparagus season is here and we can’t get enough of the stuff. I’ve already served it in last year’s spicy stir-fry with chiles. http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/spicy-pork-with-asparagus-and-chile.htmld. And then as a dinner salad that makes a meatless meal  http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/05/spicy-pork-with-asparagus-and-chile.html and then of course, there’s roasted asparagus which can be served as a side dish,an appetizer or, adding an egg, a light supper: 
http://www.chewingthefat.us.com/2011/06/roasted-asparagus-with-lardons-and.html.  Now to add to our collection of asparagus recipes, comes this symphony of green.  It combines not only tender asparagus spears but Spring’s green beans or haricots verts, Fava beans or Edaname, baby peas—even lettuce if you’d like.  It started off as a recipe in La Cucina Italiana magazine entitled “Primizie verdi con scamorza e olio picante” or Green Spring Salad with Scamorza and Spicy Olive Oil.  You’ll notice there’s not one word about Asparagus in the name of the recipe.  But on closer inspection,
Asparagus was a key ingredient among several others. At a recent dinner party we gave, instead of offering up steamed, boiled or roasted asparagus exactly like everyone’s been eating it since asparagus season began, this gave us the chance to introduce it with several other Spring vegetables. The result is a side dish that looks like you went to an inordinate amount of trouble to make.  In fact, it’s amazingly easy.  And what I also discovered was this is an incredibly adaptable recipe and that you can use virtually any green vegetable you’d like.

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Stir-Fry of Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas and Pork Tenderloin


  
Sugar Snaps have joined the Asparagus
at The Farmer's Market 
         You may wonder how much more asparagus I can possibly eat this asparagus season.  The answer is I’ll eat as much as I can.  I love the fresh flavor and texture that asparagus brings to the dinner plate. And the season is all too short for asparagus fans like me.  Now another Spring favorite has arrived.  Sugar Snap Peas are in! This Asian inspired dish uses them both in a crunchy dish that cooks in all of 15 minutes.  You could make this dish with boneless breasts of chicken or, for a meatless meal, use tofu.  I chose pork tenderloin for a weeknight dinner recently.  Because this recipe is for 4, we ended up with enough for Andrew to enjoy a second helping a couple of nights later.  One note: While there are red pepper flakes in the recipe, when Andrew re-heated the dish, he gave it a shot of Sriracha Chile Sauce and loved the spicy result.  If you’ve got children, proceed with caution if you decide you want more heat.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Darina Allen's Pork Chops with Sage, Ina Garten's Roasted Asparagus with Parmesan and my own Smashed Potatoes


          I am amazed at how many people ask me for menus with a maximum of five ingredients.  I do understand:  You look at a long recipe and think that’s too much work, or I’m missing one of the spices or who has time for this?  So I was amazed when I put together an entire entrée course with just six ingredients!  The center of the plate pork chop requires olive oil and fresh sage.  The Roasted Asparagus requires a bit more olive oil and some freshly grated Parmesan cheese bringing us up to four ingredients. Finally, I served these with smashed potatoes topped with a little unsalted butter.  That’s numbers five and six.  Well, I did use a little salt and pepper but wow!  And the dinner was delicious.  The pork was juicy and tender. The asparagus flavor is transformed when they’re roasted and enhanced with the cheese.  And the buttery smashed potatoes are the perfect complement to everything on the plate.   And the whole thing is on the table in no time.  With so little labor involved, you almost feel like you’ve cheated.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Fresh Asparagus Salad with Buratta, Pancetta, Pine Nuts, Raisins and Bread Crumbs and Tiny Tomatoes


The Creamy Burrata is completely hidden under the Asparagus

  
The Bounty of the Comfort Family Farm on
Lumber Lane in Bridgehampton starts
with their first Asparagus crop of the season.
         The first Asparagus of the season arrived last weekend out in Bridgehampton. I was driving along past one of the farm stands we go to all summer, when I saw the first spears standing totally alone on what is usually a cart laden with produce. As you can see in this Fall picture, the Comfort Family’s farm grows all kinds of good things. But there are few things in life I look forward to more than the arrival of those first tender shoots of asparagus.  The delicious flavor of the vegetable is matched by the glorious green color it takes on when cooked.  We’ll have plenty of it for the next month. And then it will disappear until next Spring.  I’ll buy it in the off-season but those spears will pale when compared to the delicious fresh flavor of the local stuff.  Now, how to make it a whole meal?  A complete dinner for two?  It was actually very easy.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Herb Roasted Lamb Chops with Aparagus And a Baked Potato



         If Spring has a food, I can think of two things that fit the season perfectly. The first is lamb, so associated with Easter in both liturgy and on the Easter Table.  The second is Asparagus, which is never better than when it is local and abundant.  Putting the two together is a natural. Today’s post is not for a roast leg of lamb at all.  Rather these loin lamb chops start the cooking process on the stove and then finish in a hot oven.  They couldn’t be easier and they’re perfect for a weeknight dinner.  What’s surprising here is how much flavor the very simple and fast herb marinade gives you.  In thirty minutes to an hour, you’ll achieve a very tasty lamb chop. Alas, the Asparagus I used was not local – it will be June before it breaks ground on Long Island.  But the stuff in the stores was so tempting that I gladly brought it home.  And finally, I put a couple of Russet potatoes in the oven and baked them.  Andrew couldn’t remember the last time he’d had one but what had we been missing!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile


Farmers Market Asparagus
Spicy Pork with Asparagus and Chile

West 66th Street and Broadway

The Farmer's Market in Richard Tucker Square
        We live in a very urban setting in New York and it comes as somewhat a surprise to visitors that there’s a thriving Farmers Market in our midst three days a week.  It's just a couple of blocks down from us and right in front of Lincoln Center. Its presence really shouldn't be a surprise. New York has the largest and most diverse outdoor urban farmers market network in the country.  What began in 1976 with 12 farmers in a parking lot on 59th Street and 2nd Avenue in Manhattan has now grown to 54 markets with over 230 family farms and fishermen participating, and over 30,000 acres of farmland protected from development. 

Friday, May 21, 2010

Poached Lamb Steaks with Spring Vegetables





Last winter, when I was in my Food Writing Boot Camp, I bought any number of food magazines from all over the world.  From New Zealand came “Cuisine”, a very lavishly illustrated and beautiful publication that was published last September in Auckland.  Given its Southern Hemisphere location, it was completely counter-seasonal and featured recipes devoted to the coming of Spring.   So now that Spring is upon us here, I took it out and looked at it with fresh eyes.  In it, I found a recipe for Poached Lamb.  If there was anywhere on earth where they ought to know a thing or two about lamb, it is most certainly New Zealand.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Mario Batali’s Pasta Primavera


        The other day I told Andrew I wanted to cook “Pasta Primavera” for dinner.  He was a little leery and asked if the recipe didn’t call for heavy cream.  I had to admit that the original dish, when I first tasted it at the old Le Cirque, where it was invented in 1974, I seemed to recall swimming in cream sauce.  But right after he left for work, there was Mario Batali, who recently lost something like 20 lbs.,  preparing a Pasta Primavera with no cream whatsoever—just a reasonable amount of heart-healthy olive oil. It's from Mario's new and ninth cookbook "Molto Gusto:Easy Italian Cooking". And this recipe sure fits that bill.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Lamb and Tomato Curry and Indian Asparagus


Above: The ingredients of a great curry even look beautiful.   

 Indian curries are a favorite of mine.  While the Indians eat them to keep cool in their hot climate, I eat them to keep warm in ours—especially with this winter’s record-breaking low temperatures.  This particular curry was the brainchild of one of my favorite Indian cooks, Vij Vikram whose recipe for Short Ribs in Red wine and Cinnamon has already appeared here.  This time, Vij turns up the heat quite a bit but you can control it easily by reducing the cayenne pepper count if you must.  I find that Basmati rice goes a long way to putting out any fires. 
    I paired this with a recipe for Asparagus that was invented by an Indian vegetarian cook named Manjula Jain.  Manjula came to this country in the late 60s.  And like Vij, she has adapted a North American ingredient to an Indian palate.  Asparagus is not unknown in India but it is rare and usually confined to the south of India.  Manjula is from the north.  I admire both of these cooks so much for taking something locally grown and making it taste so exotic.  You can visit www.manjulaskitchen.com and see the extent of her vegetarian recipes.  I can’t vouch for them all, but the one for asparagus is a definite keeper.




Monday, January 18, 2010

On the menu today: Chili Rubbed Flank Steaks, Duck Fat Hash Browns and Austrian White Asparagus



Lately, we’ve been loving flank steak.  What’s not to love about the supremely beefy flavor of this chewy cut of meat—especially when it’s one of the great bargains at the meat counter?  It’s currently less than half the price of a New York strip—but hurry, because it’s been my experience that supply and demand take over (witness the price of Osso Buco (link), it will shoot up as more people discover its versatility and flavor.  And then there’s the speed at which you can get it on the table.  It’s a perfect cut of beef for a weeknight.