Monday, April 5, 2010

spring feast

Edwin and I got back from Brevard Saturday night (the cake was a hit) and had a relaxing spring day yesterday. We went for a long walk in the morning, and then I spent some time in the kitchen and Edwin walked Atticus. (Yes, Atticus is our cat. Yes, he is leash trained. No, we don't know how to teach you to do it. We got him on CraigsList and he came that way.)

I made a vegetarian spring lunch, inspired by a menu in The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook. We had the Green Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Walnut Oil, and Green Beans*, an Asparagus and Tomato Tart, and Fingerling Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas**.
For the green salad, I tossed mixed greens in a delicate dressing made from walnut oil (thanks, Poppies in Brevard, for having walnut oil-- my Ingles didn't) and part of a minced shallot. The greens are then topped with blanched green beans and toasted walnuts. It makes for a springy, healthy and delicious salad.

For the tarts, I used a recipe I found on Tasty Kitchen. I didn't have feta in my fridge (thought I did), so I topped them with goat cheese which was just as yummy. I have made Sara Foster's tomato and feta tarts before, and these are quite similar, but the asparagus really set them apart.

Edwin's favorite was the potato salad. I couldn't find fingerling potatoes, so I used a small potato medley instead, which turned out to make a beautiful salad. I loved the small green and purple taters mixed in with the standard white and red ones. The potatoes are tossed with blanched sugar snap peas and red onion and covered with a creamy tarragon vinaigrette. SO good.

Can I talk about how much I love blanched vegetables? Sara Foster taught me, and I am obsessed. I don't like really cooked vegetables, generally, so blanching is the way for me. It makes them crispy and beautiful. To blanch anything, boil water, add salt, and drop the veggies in. Then just wait for them to turn a brighter color, remove, and dunk in a bowl of ice water (this stops the cooking process).

For dessert we had Lemon Poppyseed Cookies***, and I can't get enough of them now. They are sugary and slightly crunchy, and the lemon flavor really pops.
I would definitely make the salads again. The tarts are yummy but not exactly healthy, what with the puff pastry and all, but they do make a nice treat. As for the cookies, I'm trying to give them away as fast as I can. If I don't, I'll eat every last one. Probably for breakfast.

I hope you like it. I made it.

Stewart, Martha. The Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics. *"Green Salad with Toasted Walnuts, Walnut Oil, and Green Beans." p. 149; **"Fingerling Potato Salad with Sugar Snap Peas." p. 170; ***"Lemon Poppyseed Cookies." p. 538

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