Asparagus & Avocado Salad with Almonds

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Happy Mother’s Day! What are you doing today to celebrate your mom or yourself? I’m lucky that my mom is here with us today! She lives across the country so it’s pretty special to celebrate Mother’s Day with her in person.

First on our agenda is heading off to the farmers market this morning to scoop up some fresh veggies and other delicious treats. I am so excited that our farmer’s market was rated one of the 10 best in the country, by country living magazine! I can attest to its awesomeness with a ton of great produce, local meats, dairy, and locally crafted food like pickles and coffee. Plus there’s a bunch of prepared food choices–nothing like have breakfast choices like pit beef, curry hand pies, or smoked mushroom pita wraps.

I know we’ll find asparagus and arugula, which I’ve absolutely been living on all spring long. Especially in this salad. The texture of whole grain mustard, the richness of really good olive oil, the grassiness of asparagus, the sweetness of roasted red pepper, and the peppery bite from baby arugula are already an amazing combination. Recently though I added crunch with toasted almonds and a buttery avocado and it took this salad over the top for me.

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This salad, combined with something simple from the grill, or paired with a quiche for Mother’s Day brunch, couldn’t be a more winning combination.

Asparagus & Avocado Salad with Almonds

Total Time: 5 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Asparagus & Avocado Salad with Almonds

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
  • 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 5-6 cups arugula
  • 1 roasted red pepper, cut into 2 inch by 1/2 inch strips
  • 1/2 pound roasted or grilled asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 avocado, sliced
  • 2 Tablespoons sliced almonds, toasted

Instructions

  1. Whisk together mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly whisk in olive oil, stirring briskly until emulsified.
  2. Toss dressing with arugula, and half of the red peppers, asparagus, and avocado.
  3. Transfer to serving platter, and remaining red pepper, asparagus, avocado and toasted pine nuts.
  4. Serve.
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Pantry Vegan 3-Bean Chili {thwarted plans}

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Sometimes, even the best laid plans get thwarted. There I was, after work, at a honey tasting from an amazing local company called Waxing Kara. Kara Brook has made some amazing products that are local to Maryland but she’s gotten some amazing national recognition. She’s even been featured by Martha Stewart! What an inspiration.

So anyway, I’m having fun tasting 6 types of honey (the Spring honey is my favorite), trying every possible beauty product you could imagine made from honey, picking out (spoiler alert mom) Mother’s Day gifts, and in no hurry because the hubs is getting the kids and we’re going out to dinner.

And I get the call. Plans have changed, can I pick up the kids? Dinner out tomorrow night instead.

How many times do weekday plans change? Or, even just a simple dinner changes on a dime? I can’t tell you how many times whatever I’ve planned for dinner is still frozen/ingredients have been eaten/no longer sounds good.

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Enter the quick pantry meal. 15 minutes, only ingredients from the pantry or freezer, but amazingly delicious and wholesome. That’s where this Vegan 3-Bean Chili came from. It really couldn’t be easier, you probably already have all of the ingredients in your house, and it’s awesomely delicious.

What’s your go-to pantry meal?

Pantry Vegan Chili

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 6 servings

Pantry Vegan Chili

Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 can black beans, drained and washed
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained and washed
  • 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and washed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 can chopped green chills
  • 1/2 of a beer (or 1 cup of water or veggie stock if you're going gluten free)
  • 1 14 ounce can tomato puree
  • 1 cup corn
  • cilantro, optional
  • avocado, optional
  • chopped jalapenos

Instructions

  1. Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent, stir in garlic cooking until fragrant.
  2. Add all remaining ingredients except cilantro and avocado. Cook over medium low heat just until heated through.
  3. If the chili is too thick, add a little water until you get your desired consistency.
  4. Serve topped with cilantro, diced avocado and jalapeños.
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Orange Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins {low sugar, 3 ww points}

0414 Orange Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins-1Every time the kids and I go to the grocery store, they beg about getting Cocoa Puffs (and beg, and beg, and beg). The answer is always no. Sorry, cereal has enough sugar as it is, no we are not getting chocolate cereal. Now go find something that has 5 grams or less of sugar (good luck, it’s not easy!).

But it’s gotten me thinking, is it the chocolate that’s bad, or all of the sugar we like to add to to the chocolate? I went with the latter, and came up with these decadent Orange Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins.

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How do they compare with Cocoa Puffs? Let’s look:

  Cocoa Puffs Orange Chocolate Muffins
Serving Size 3/4 cup 1 muffin
Calories 110 112
Carbs 23 23
Fat 1.5 1
Protein 1 5
Sodium 150 95
Sugar 12 9

So, for the same amount of fat, calories, and carbs, you’re getting 500% more protein thanks to the yogurt in the muffins, 33% less sodium, and 33% less sugar. They are full of whole grain, sweetened by an orange and a little honey, with no added fat or refined sugar. And, best of all for mom and dad, they are only 3 weight watchers points.

What’s my takeaway from this little experiment? Sure, you can have chocolate for breakfast every now and again (as long as it’s good for you!)!

Orange Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 12 muffins

Orange Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup steel cut oats
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup greek yogurt
  • 2 oranges
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
  • 3/4 cup white flour
  • 1 Tablespoon wheat germ
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

Instructions

  1. Pour the boiling water over the oats and let sit until oats have softened, approximately 20 minutes. Drain any excess water that remains.
  2. Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  3. Zest both oranges. Juice the oranges, making sure to get most of the flesh from the orange as well. You should have a cup of juice with mashed up pieces of orange in it.
  4. In a mixing bowl, beat the egg with an electric mixer. Add the yogurt, honey, orange zest and juice. Mix thoroughly. Add the oats, mix until combined.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix together the remaining dry ingredients.
  6. Add the dry ingredients to the wet in 3 batches, mixing just until combined after each.
  7. Spoon batter into 12-cup muffin tin that's been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.
  8. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
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Caesar salad {kids cooking}

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“I’d just like a nice Caesar salad with some grilled chicken” says my 5-year old son occasionally. Because, you know, that’s a typical kids dinner request.

No problem though, I like your style and hey let’s make it together!

Mixing and measuring the dressing is fun, plus we get to use ingredients we don’t normally use together–namely Worcestershire and anchovies. And then it’s just a matter of tossing with lettuce and croutons!

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I salvage stale bread just before I need to toss it out to make croutons, so I always have some stashed away to use for a meal like this.

A traditional Caesar salad would use raw egg yolk and olive oil, but this is a super quick weeknight meal for cooking with kids, so forget the eggs–mayonnaise is not much more than eggs and oil anyway.

Top with grilled chicken, shrimp or steak if you’d like, or serve on the side for an easy accompaniment! We make this about once a week through the summer for an easy no cook meal any night of the week.

Caesar salad

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Caesar salad

Ingredients

  • 4 slices day old Italian bread, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, divided
  • 2 teaspoons mince garlic, approx 2 large cloves
  • 2 anchovies, minced, or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 Tablespoon water (optional)
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 head of romaine lettuce, washed and torn into bite sized pieces

Instructions

  1. Heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Kids cooking step: Toss the bread cubes with olive oil and half of the salt and pepper.
    End Kids cooking step.
  3. Bake in the oven for 7-10 minutes, until toasty. Remove, bring to room temperature. You can do this in advance and keep the croutons in an air tight storage container for a couple of days.
  4. Kids cooking step: Whisk together the garlic, remaining salt and pepper, anchovies, lemon juice, Worcestershire, mustard, mayonnaise, and half of the cheese. If the dressing is thicker than you'd like, splash a little water in to loosen it up.
  5. Add the lettuce and croutons and toss gently until dressing evenly coats every leaf.
  6. Serve, topped with remaining cheese.
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Peppadew Beef Sliders {potlucks & picnics}

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Picnics and potlucks and parties, oh my! Got to love the start of the social season. I’m so looking forward to concerts in the park, school social potlucks, pool parties, backyard parties…

For someone who cooks as much as I do, you’d think I’d have a “go-to” dish to contribute to these events, but I always struggle with what to bring. Especially since I really want to make something special but I don’t want to spend a fortune, have no time, and usually forget until the night before.

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Enter my Spanish-inspired shredded beef. Put it in the crock overnight or all day and bring to a picnic or potluck with slider or kaiser rolls. You don’t really have to keep it hot for a picnic; room temp is fine. Or, if you’re having a party at home, consider serving over saffron rice with peas.

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This uses jarred peppadew peppers and smoked paprika, both of which you can easily find at Whole Foods or online. But if you can’t easily find them, skip the smoked paprika, or sub oregano, and use a jar of peperoncini peppers instead of peppadew.

I don’t know if this will end up being my go-to dish but it’s darn good and I will be making it a few times this summer! What’s your go-to potluck or picnic dish?

Peppadew Beef Sliders

Total Time: 10 hours

Yield: 10 servings

Peppadew Beef Sliders

Perfect for potlucks and picnics, this 4-ingredient Spanish-inspired shredded beef is great for feeding a crowd!

Ingredients

  • 3-4 pound round roast
  • 1 14 ounce jar peppadew peppers--do not drain, you'll use the peppers and the juice for this
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • sauteed peppers and onions (optional)
  • chopped green olives (optional)

Instructions

  1. Place the whole round roast, the jar of peppers--including the juice, salt and paprika in a crock pot. Cook on lowest setting for 8 hours.
  2. Remove the roast, shred using 2 forks. Leave the liquid in the crock pot.
  3. Return beef to crock pot and cook on lowest setting another 2 hours, or whatever time you have. It's really not necessary but it does let the sauce get fully absorbed by the beef.
  4. Serve on slider rolls or over rice, topping with sautéed peppers and onions and/or olives if desired.
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Asparagus Gnocchi with Scallops {spring fever}

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Yippeee! yahooo! It’s SPRING!

Why am I so excited, you may ask? Well, you probably don’t ask–who doesn’t like spring?

I am so excited because…WE GET TO LEAVE THE HOUSE. Cold, wet, grey weather does NOT mix well with young, active children. I can categorically declare that I can build just about anything with Legos and that I know every word in Frozen. It’s time to move on to outside activities.

  • Outside activity #1: Farmers Markets. They’re back! Local produce, local artisans, and scooters–our preferred mode of best-way-to-wear-the-kids-out transportation.
  • Outside activity #2: Gardening. I love having the kids help me plant plants, watch them grow, pick the flowers/veggies. We just have a small city patio and garden space but it’s still plenty to give them some exposure to what it’s like to grow your own produce and plants.
  • Outside activity #3: Playground Happy Hour. Oh come on, you’ve never taken the kids to the playground after school, met up with other parent friends, and brought a little special bevvie?

In addition to outside enjoyment, springtime fare is just the best. Some of the most delicious, and most elusive or short-lived, ingredients come to pass during spring so you’ve got to take advantage of them. Ramps, fiddlehead ferns, morels, and of course asparagus!

A friend gave me asparagus fresh-picked from his garden with a bottle of Gruner Vetliner–a perfect pairing with asparagus. So I wanted to create an easy, delicious dish that highlighted the asparagus but didn’t overpower the wine. And I wanted to use some fresh herbs from my garden. And I had a farmers market leek in the fridge.

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Herby Asparagus and Leek Gnocchi with Scallops was born. A little strategically, a little kitchen sinky, a lot deliciously.

It looks and sounds all fancy so is great for a special weekend meal, but honestly I made it on a Wednesday in 20 minutes with mostly ingredients I had on hand. So it can double as a mid-week pick-me-up. And the kids love the gnocchi, so it’s an easy sell.

I actually created this dish specifically to pair with a Lagler Gruner Vetliner that was given to me. It’s crisp enough to compliment the asparagus, but has enough body to hold up to the gnocchi and scallops.

Cheers!

Asparagus Gnocchi with Scallops

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Asparagus Gnocchi with Scallops

Ingredients

  • 1 pound packaged gnocchi?
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • ?1 Tablespoon olive oil?
  • 1 large leek, white and light green parts only, washed thoroughly and thinly sliced?
  • 1 pound fresh asparagus?
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped mixed herbs (I used a mix of chives, parsley, tarragon, oregano, basil)?
  • 1 pound fresh sea scallops?
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Boil the gnocchi according to package directions. While you’re bringing the water to a boil, prepare the sauce. 
  2. Trim the asparagus where the tough, woody stem naturally breaks off. Then cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces.
  3. Melt 2 Tablespoons of butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add leeks and a sprinkle of salt and pepper and cook just until tender but not brown--5 minutes or so.
  4. Add the asparagus and cook just until crisp-tender, only about a minute or two. Toss in herbs and drained gnocchi. Cover and set aside. 
  5. In a clean large skillet (I just wipe clean the skillet I just used for gnocchi), melt 1 Tablespoon butter and 1 Tablespoon olive oil over medium high to high heat (you want to get it really hot, but not smoking or the butter will burn). Pat the scallops very dry and season with salt and pepper. When the butter begins to sizzle, place the scallops into the pan with at least an inch of space between them.
  6. After 2 minutes, flip. Outside of the single flip DO NOT TOUCH the scallops. After another 2 minutes, remove.
  7. Place the gnocchi on a plate and garnish with scallops. Serve with a seasonal green salad.
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***this was updated from an original post in May, 2013, with new photography. Like it?

Shrimp and Grits {food obsessions}

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You know that movie “Conspiracy Theory” with Mel Gibson and Julia Roberts where every time Mel sees a copy of Jack Kerouc’s “On the Road” he is compelled to buy it?

Yeah, so, that’s me and Shrimp and Grits. Every time I see it on the menu I pretend that I’m considering other options but every single time I order Shrimp and Grits. Creamy grits, topped with a spice sausage gravy, and sweet shrimp, who could resist? So obviously I had to figure out how to make it using what I like best from the many, many, many versions I’ve tried.

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Now that I’ve perfected my own recipe, I make it for a weeknight dinner sometimes and everyone loves it. But it’s happiest at brunch–my favorite meal of the week. If you want to feed a crowd–which is how brunch should ALWAYS be served–you can put the grits in one crock, the gravy in another, and let the shrimp basically be the garnish. Fun!

So, enough about my food obsession, here’s my recipe. What’s your food obsession?

Shrimp and Grits

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Shrimp and Grits

Ingredients

  • 4 cups water, divided
  • 1 pound U25 shrimp, shells removed and reserved
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound andouille* sausage, diced into 3/4 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, finely diced. About 1/2 cup
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 celery stalk, diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 Tablespoon blackening season
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 cup coarse ground grits (also called polenta)

Instructions

    Make the sauce:
  1. Heat 2 cups water in a small saucepan until simmering. Add shrimp shells and cook 10 minutes. Drain, reserving liquid.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 Tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet. Add the sausage and cook until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove sausage to a plate, leaving the grease in the skillet.
  3. Saute onion for 2 minutes with 1/2 teaspoon salt, then add peppers and celery, sauté for another 3 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook just until fragrant.
  4. Add flour and stir until it's made a light roux (until all of the flour has been incorporated into the grease).
  5. Whisk in shrimp stock until smooth.
  6. Add back in sausage and simmer until cooked down and sauce coats the back of a spoon, about 10 minutes.
  7. Make the grits:
  8. Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt.
  9. Whisk in grits and turn down heat to medium. Add milk.
  10. Cook grits for 20 minutes, whisking nearly constantly, until thick and creamy.
  11. Make the shrimp:
  12. Toss the shrimp with the blackening season.
  13. Heat 1 Tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Saute the shrimp until just cooked through: 3-5 minutes.
  14. To serve:
  15. Spoon 3/4 cup of grits in the bottom of a shallow bowl. Top with 3/4 cup of sauce. and 5-6 shrimp.

Notes

*if you can't find smoked andouille sausage, use another good smoked spiced sausage like kielbasa.

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Cardamom Roasted Whole Carrots {happiness}

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There is something about spring that just makes me happy. Going outside, seeing friends you haven’t seen in awhile, watching the daffodils and tulips come up. It makes me think about the things that make me happy:

Spending time with family and friends, old and new.
Watching my kids grow up, become little people, and see them make good choices.
Finding beauty in the mundane or in unexpected places.

And these carrots. No, actually, these carrots, and easy wholesome recipes like them, that can help make those moments of happiness easy.

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These carrots are easy to make, everyone loves them, are great served at room temp, and are easy to make a ton to feed a crowd. It’s a wonderful dish to serve at a potluck, for Easter or Thanksgiving, or an elegant dinner party. Recipes like this make it that much easier for me to enjoy the moment I’m in, rather than worrying about whether I’m forgetting something or burning something (and I usually am).

Watching my kids choose eating carrots over eating meat, asking for more and more, it makes me realize that by serving them good wholesome options they are learning how to make good choices for themselves. And with a big world out there trying to influence them, it’s a little reminder about the impact we as parents can have on their lives and their choices.

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And, I mean really, you dig something up from the ground and with little effort it turns out like this?!?! There are so many things that are hard, and ugly, and bad but to know that you have the power to turn something so simple into something so beautiful is an empowering thought.

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Ok, so I went a little deep with the carrots there. Sorry, having a moment. But try the recipe. Maybe it will change your life. Or maybe it will just taste good. Either way: happiness.

Cardamom Roasted Whole Carrots

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Yield: 4 servings

Cardamom Roasted Whole Carrots

Ingredients

  • 1 pound whole carrots (baby if you can find them)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1/8 teaspoon coriander
  • 1/8 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon good olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Wash and trim the carrots if they still have their leafy tops. If you have baby carrots, scrub them well but leave the skins on. If you have big carrots, go ahead and peel them but leave them whole.
  3. Toss the carrots with spices, garlic, olive oil and salt, and spread out in a single layer on a baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 15-20 minutes for baby carrots, 30-35 minutes for whole carrots. Just until a fork can pierce easily but with a little resistance.
  5. Serve.
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Asparagus Shiitake Carbonara

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Congratulations! We made it through another week! Doesn’t it often feel like you’ve finished a marathon by Friday night? Like you walk through the door and there should be confetti and a medal and champagne?

Well, I suppose there is confetti for me. In the shape of tiny legos scattered all over the house.

And it does look like I’m wearing a medal since I didn’t notice the giant circular peanut butter smear the little one planted on me this morning.

And champagne, well I can do something about that.

In our house, making it to Friday night deserves a celebration. But not too big of a celebration since we only have 30 minutes to dinnertime. So, pasta is a go-to Friday night meal. A little decadent and a lot easy.

Since I’m embracing spring, even if it won’t embrace me back, I springed up a classic decadent pasta dish–Carbonara–by adding asparagus and shiitakes to the classic eggs, cheese and pancetta.

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I only recently discovered Carbonara and I can’t believe I’ve spent this much of my life in the dark. It’s basically tossing spaghetti with the easiest hollandaise sauce and then adding cheese. And bacon. And anything else that makes you happy. Right now asparagus and mushrooms make me happy. And wine. Like a Soave. Or even champagne would do well here. Yeah, there’s my happy place.

Hey look, confetti. Nope, that’s just a lego that landed in my eye. Oh well, it’s the weekend. Cheers to Friday!

Asparagus Shiitake Carbonara

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 6-8 servings

Asparagus Shiitake Carbonara

Ingredients

  • 1/2 pound thick pancetta or bacon, cut into 1/4 inch by 1 inch pieces
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1/2 pound shiitakes, stems discarded and caps sliced into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 pound asparagus, tough woody ends snapped off and stalks cut into 1 1/2 inch pieces
  • 2 Tablespoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound dried spaghetti
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced in half
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1 cup grated cheese (I like a mix of Parmesan and Romano)
  • parsley

Instructions

  1. Start the pasta water for boiling.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the pancetta and bacon and cook until crisp and fat is rendered. Remove to a plate.
  3. Skim off some of the fat until there is 2 Tablespoons remaining. Saute the mushrooms in the fat until browned, about 5 minutes. Remove to plate and turn off skillet.
  4. When the pasta water is boiling, add the asparagus and cook for 1 minute, just until blanched. Skim off and put in an ice bath.
  5. Add the salt to the pasta water and cook pasta until al dente--9 to 10 minutes.
  6. While the pasta cooks, rub the cut garlic all over the inside of a large bowl.
  7. Whisk the eggs in the bowl until frothy. Whisk in wine and cheese.
  8. When the pasta is almost finished, grab 1/2 cup of the pasta water and whisk into the egg mixture.
  9. Drain the pasta and toss into the sauce with the pancetta, asparagus, and shiitakes. Toss the pasta into the sauce constantly until it's thick and coats each piece of pasta equally.
  10. Serve, topped with parsley.
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Someone was surprised that my kids would eat carbonara and I’m not sure if that’s because they’re surprised that a kids would eat it, or if they were surprised that I would serve it to my kids since the eggs start raw in the sauce. Why anyone would be surprised about kids eating a creamy, cheesy, bacon-y spaghetti is beyond me, so it must be because of the raw eggs. So let say something about that: when you’re making the sauce you add boiling pasta water to the eggs and cheese and then add steaming hot pasta and stir constantly until all of the cheese is melted and the sauce is thick and creamy. The eggs are not raw. But if they’re not fully cooked, I do buy farm fresh eggs from the farmers market so I don’t worry too much about fully cooking eggs for them. We love over-easy eggs with a dippy center so this really isn’t any different.

If you’re still a little ooged out by the undercooked eggs, just pop the pasta back in a hot pan and heat. Or microwave individual portions. It ruins the consistency in my opinion, but you can guarantee cooked eggs.

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Kale and Radish Tabbouleh

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Um, yeah, so it’s snowing again. It’s late March and it’s snowing. But I can’t stop believing that someday, one day, soon, we will have an actual spring. With picnics, and potlucks, and get togethers.  And outside. Playgrounds. Running, jumping outside of my house….that’s not a dream is it? We will be able to leave the house, won’t we?

Of course, I always think of spring food as asparagus and peas and strawberries, but we’re still a few months away from that. Early spring means rich dark greens, radishes, and spring onions. 

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So I’m making the most of it before we get into the asparagus and peas and strawberries. Tabbouleh is traditionally a mid-summer dish with fresh, ripe tomatoes and cucumbers, and I love to bring it to picnics and potlucks then. But I thought I’d spring it up a bit and replace the tomatoes with radishes and some of the herbs with kale.

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It’s a fairly easy dish that you can make ahead and bring to your next spring outing.

I use a mixture of traditional ingredients like parsley and mint that are pretty easy to find this year. But I add in kale, chopped as finely as the parsley and then wilted in the microwave to lose some of the bitterness. And radishes chopped small so they add flavor and texture without overwhelming.

Kale and Radish Tabbouleh

Prep Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 12-16 servings

Serving Size: 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 2 cups bulgur
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2-3 cups chopped kale
  • 1-2 cup chopped parsley (1 bunch is about 1 cup)
  • 1/2 cup chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup finely diced shallot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cucumber, seeded and diced into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1 bunch radishes, diced into 1/4 inch pieces
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (the good kind)

Instructions

  1. In a large bowl, pour the boiling water over the bulgur. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, steam the kale. I do this in the microwave: dampen 2 paper towels and lay them on a microwave safe plate. Top with chopped kale. Lay another 2 dampened paper towels on top of the kale. Microwave for 2 minutes. Check the kale. If it's not completely wilted, microwave for another minute. Set aside and allow to cool.
  3. Combine the remaining ingredients in a very large bowl. Toss in the bulgur and kale. Mix until combined.
  4. Allow to stand for an hour or so to let the flavors combine. This keeps great in the fridge for 3-4 days.
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