Tuesday, May 31, 2011

garlic scape pesto

I've been using lots of garlic scapes this week, mostly by mincing them and using them like I'd do with regular garlic, but I had plenty leftover to make garlic scape pesto for dinner last night.

I plunked my walnuts and garlic scapes in the food processor, and blended away. Once I'd added in the olive oil, I stirred in (not pictured) parmesan, salt and pepper.
I tossed about 1/4 cup of the pesto with cooked pasta and grape tomatoes, along with a little pasta cooking water to blend everything well.
We enjoyed the pesto quite a bit. I did a lot of reading about garlic scapes this week, and one thing I learned is that the garlic scape is much milder than regular garlic. This pesto is definitely packed with punch, but the garlic taste is mellow and pleasant. I sent some home with my in-laws, who joined us for an impromptu weeknight meal, to use as a pizza sauce. EDW and I will be using the rest of the pesto as a spread on sandwiches this week, and I may stir some into a frittata this weekend.

Monday, May 30, 2011

broiled salmon with napa cabbage salad

We got some lovely napa cabbage in our CSA box last week, so I used it for May's resolution salad: broiled salmon with napa cabbage salad. I didn't measure the salad ingredients, so just chop away until you think you have enough.

Broiled Salmon with Napa Cabbage Salad
serves 2

for the fish:
2 salmon fillets, rinsed and patted dry
2 T soy sauce
1 garlic scape, minced (or 1 T minced garlic)
1 T minced ginger
1 T dark sesame oil
1/2 t sugar

Move a rack to the top of the oven and turn on the broiler.
Combine soy sauce, garlic scape, ginger, oil, and sugar. Spoon over salmon.
Broil salmon until it flakes easily, 8-10 minutes.

for the salad:
1 head napa cabbage, thinly sliced
radishes, thinly sliced
snow peas, chopped
green onions, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, sliced
1 T minced ginger
1.5 t agave nectar
1 T rice vinegar
1 T lime juice
1.5 T soy sauce
1 T toasted sesame oil

Combine ginger, agave, vinegar, lime juice soy sauce, and oils. Salt and pepper to taste. Toss cabbage and other vegetables with the dressing.

Serve the broiled salmon over the salad.

EDW and I loved the salad portion of the meal, but the salmon wasn't our favorite. I'm not sure there was anything really wrong with it-- it just didn't enhance the dish. I think maybe if it had been pan cooked or grilled, so it was a bit crispier, it might have worked. The flavor was good, but I wanted a crispy outside and tender inside.

That being said, the cabbage salad was fantastic. The dressing was slightly sweet and zippy, and it was great with the crunchy cabbage, radishes and snow peas. You could probably make the salad portion ahead of time, since there aren't any wilty veggies in it, and take it on a picnic.
I gave this recipe a C+. Edwin gave it a B-.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

cumin scented turnips with chickpeas and swiss chard

So far our CSA is forcing me to think outside my normal vegetable box, and I'm loving it. This week we received turnips, which I think I've only had roasted. We also got a lovely bunch of Swiss chard and garlic scapes. I wanted to try something different with several of my CSA surprises, and I came up with a braised turnip dish with chickpeas and chard.

I'm making lots of notes in the recipe, in case you want to adapt it to what you have on hand. I'm thinking any root vegetable would work-- I bet sweet potatoes would be fantastic, but I always think sweet potatoes would be fantastic, so keep that in mind.

Cumin Scented Turnips with Chickpeas and Swiss Chard
Serves 4-6

4 whole turnips, peeled and chopped (approximately 4 cups)
2 cups cooked chickpeas (or other beans, or leave them out and have this as more of a side)
1 large bunch of Swiss chard, chopped (since I don't have a food scale I don't know how much it was-- maybe a pound? it was a lot of chard)
3 garlic scapes, minced (or 1-2 T minced garlic)
1 onion, chopped
2 T fresh ginger, minced
2 t cumin
1/3 cup raisins (I used 1/3 cup and we wanted more-- try 1/2 cup)
crushed red pepper flakes to taste
salt and pepper to taste

Put olive oil in a large straight sided skillet over medium heat.
Add the ginger, garlic scapes, and onion; sautee 30 seconds, just enough to coat everything with oil.
Add turnips and 1/2 cup water. Bring to a boil.
Sprinkle vegetables with salt, and cover the pan. Simmer until turnips are tender, 5-10 minutes.
Uncover the pan and raise the heat to cook off any remaining liquid.
Stir in cumin, chickpeas, and raisins. Stir in chard; cover again until chard shrinks and is tender.
Season to taste with red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.
Serve with whole wheat couscous.

Edwin and I were pleasantly surprised by this dish. I really didn't know what to expect from the turnips, since I usually eat them roasted with lots of other root vegetables. I hadn't ever spent much time thinking about the turnip, but my new friend has a lovely earthy and slightly sweet flavor. The texture was similar to a sweet potato, and it paired nicely with the chickpeas (earthy) and chard (slightly sweet).
I briefly considered adding a can of diced tomatoes to the pan, and I think I'll do that next time. EDW and I agreed that tomatoes would have added a nice acidity to the meal, and I like a little liquid with my couscous. We added diced cherry tomatoes to our leftovers when we reheated them in the microwave, and we both thought they were an improvement.
Overall, we were really delighted by this, and we give it a solid B. If we upped the raisins and added tomatoes I bet it'd be a B+.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

CSA Wednesday!

One Saturday in February, Edwin and I filed our taxes online. Then we went out to lunch to celebrate, and stopped by the Fresh Quarter to pay for our CSA subscription. We researched a lot of farms when making our decision, and we ultimately decided on Fresh Quarter because their local shares program is made up of several farms. We figured it'd be better not to be reliant upon just one farm-- plus we like going to the Fresh Quarter for dark chocolate covered pineapple. We wrote our check and went our way.

3 months later, the CSA season has finally begun! Our pick up is on Tuesdays, so last week I drove downtown to get our box. EDW and I purchased a half share, which is recommended for families of 3-4 people (or 2 people who eat a lot of produce). For our program, that means we get a half bushel of local produce every week through Thanksgiving. Excitement abounds!

I'm not sure how long I'll keep up with this installment program, but for a while at least I'm going to document what we got and how we used it. I'll aim for Wednesdays and show you what we had the previous week.

Without further ado, here's the first CSA Wednesday!

Here's our product list for the week of May 16:

Curly Spinach (large bag)
Spring Onions (6)
Red Leaf Lettuce (large bag)
Beets (4)
French Beans (approximately 1 pound)
Strawberries (maybe 2 pints?)

(I need a food scale like woah.)

And here are the spoils:
We finished everything in our box without a problem. I made a lemon-tahini beet bowl,
stir-fried green beans and tofu,
lots of fresh salads,and a spelt berry salad for after my weekly mountain bike ride (in which I forded 3 rivers and made it across the bridge both ways!).
The green onions went into all the salads, and the spinach and lettuce were in the green salads. We gobbled the strawberries up by Saturday. Mostly we ate them in our morning oatmeal (me) and cereal (EDW), but I fully admit to popping a couple straight from the fridge every time I was in the kitchen. They were, quite possibly, the best strawberries I've ever eaten.

I still had to buy some produce to get us through the week, since we like variety and copious amounts of fiber in our diets, but I loved getting the box. Since we paid for it in February, it felt like free food. We'll see if the magic lasts through Thanksgiving.

Stay tuned to see how we do next week.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

stir-fried green beans and tofu

I read in the paper that parts of western North Carolina are in what's called a thermal belt, which means that we have local produce available to us now that are from both spring and summer seasonal categories. Case in point: my CSA box last week contained green onions and strawberries (spring) as well as French beans (summer).

Sunday night I made stir-fried green beans and tofu skins,* except I used regular tofu instead of the hard to find tofu skins. Instead of stir-frying the tofu, I decided to try broiling it. I pressed it for about 30 minutes and then cut it into rectangles. Then I brushed each piece with a miso-soy sauce mixture, and broiled in the oven. I let each side go about 4 or 5 minutes. Easy.
For the green beans, I sauteed them in a mixture of sesame and vegetable oil, along with lots of fresh ginger and a couple dried Thai chiles. When they were crisp tender, I added some soy sauce, peanuts, and cilantro, and then I plated our meal: brown rice, broiled tofu, and green beans.
EDW and I really liked this treatment of green beans. I'm not a huge fan of vegetables cooked so long they turn soft, and we loved the flavor the sesame oil brought to the dish. The broiled tofu is amazing-- it has a great chewy texture and we were instantly smitten. It might be my favorite way to make tofu. It's so easy and quick and the results are such delicious bites.
*Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. "Stir-Fried Green Beans and Tofu Skins." p. 306-7.

Friday, May 20, 2011

there will be BEETS tonight!

If you ask me what my favorite movie is, and I only get to choose one, I'll probably say it's The Princess Bride. I've owned several copies in my life (recorded VHS, official VHS, official DVD), and I have nearly all of it memorized.

(Inquiring minds want to know other favorites? A Room with a View, Sense and Sensibility, Center Stage, Shag, The Royal Tenenbaums and Little Miss Sunshine consistently make the list.)

In The Princess Bride, when Inigo has sobered up and he and Fezzik are planning their revenge on Count Rugen, Inigo makes a bold statement: "There will be BLOOD tonight!" Then he and Fezzik go find the man in black, and Andre the Giant gets to yell "Everybody move!"

Wednesday, when I was planning on beets for dinner, I couldn't stop saying (in my Inigo accent, obvi), "There will be BEETS tonight!" in my head. I didn't say it out loud because I didn't want everyone to think I was a crazy person.

I'm only confessing now because I couldn't think of another post title and I figured you'd want to know my reason.

Moving on.

I made beets. We got 4 beautiful beets in our CSA box this week (more on the CSA box soon), and they had their gorgeous greens still attached. I'd never had beet greens, and I wanted to make a dinner that highlighted the whole vegetable. I decided to tweak Angela's lightened up protein power goddess bowl, and here's what I did:

I cooked my beets in foil, as prescribed by Mark Bittman, earlier in the day. When they were cool, I peeled and chopped them, turning my fingers a fantastic shade of beet pink (new favorite color? I think so). The angle of the phote definitely makes my freakishly long fingers look even more alien, right? Hello, I'm fuschia ET saying "phone home." (Too many movies today? Go visit EDW's blog for real movie blogging.)
I followed Angela's recipe for the lemon tahini dressing exactly, and I blended it up while I cooked lentils and brown rice.

When it came time to cook dinner, I sauteed an onion, some garlic, and the beet green stems (you can eat these too!) in olive oil. Then I added the beet greens, which had been torn into smaller pieces, and let them wilt a bit. Next I stirred in my chopped beets, along with lentils, brown rice, and the full batch of lemon tahini dressing. I stirred in fresh parsley and served the second of two bizarre looking dinners this week.
My mom is visiting, so there were 3 of us testing out the beet greens. None of us had ever had them before, and I'm happy to proclaim the stem and greens my favorite part of the beet. The stems were just slightly crunchy, and the greens had a lovely flavor and texture. The beets themselves? I'm not sure I love cooked beets. I like them roasted, along with other root vegetables, and I like them raw, in salads, but just cooked? Not my favorite.
Mommers really liked the whole bowl, and I have to say that lentils, rice, and lemon tahini dressing do complement the roots well. Edwin and I are pretty much on the same page as far as beet roots are concerned: we like them, but we don't love them. I would have preferred my bowl still pink, but without the actual chunks of beet root.
As for the greens? I'm ready for Billy Crystal to push on my stomach so the words "true love" can escape my mostly dead mouth.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

quinoa salad with tempeh

I had my first experience with cooking tempeh last weekend, and it was quite the success. I made quinoa salad with tempeh* Sunday night.
I started by browning crumbled tempeh. (I bought an 8 ounce block at EarthFare, cut it in half, and crumbled it with two forks.) Next I added in halved grape tomatoes (the recipe called for 1 cup chopped tomatoes, but I'm thinking I used more than a cup) and a 5 ounce package of mung bean sprouts (by the way, I l.o.v.e. mung bean sprouts). Once the veggies were warm, I turned off the heat and stirred in sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, and soy sauce. I transferred that mixture to a large bowl and dumped in cooked and cooled quinoa and tossed the whole thing with cilantro and green onions.
This salad is so odd looking. So very, very odd looking.
But the taste? As soon as EDW had swallowed his first bite, he said, "This is a new favorite." We loved the combination of tomatoes, quinoa, sprouts, and sesame oil. The tempeh gives it a nice crunch and the vinegar adds the perfect kiss of acidity, making this an all around delight to eat.

Our only complaint? It just serves 4, and the servings aren't exactly voluminous. Regardless of its bizarre appearance and wee portions, this salad is a winner. It made lunch on Monday quite special. Poor Edwin came home and lamented, "There's no more quinoa salad?!?"
I'll make him some more. I promised.

Bittman, Mark. How to Cook Everything Vegetarian. "Quinoa Salad with Tempeh." p. 84.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

carrot apple ginger soup

As soon as I saw Joy's post on carrot apple ginger soup, I knew I had to make it. I made this soup on Sunday afternoon, but we didn't eat it until Monday for dinner.

I sauteed the onion, garlic, ginger, apple, and carrot. I added vegetable broth. I pureed it with my smart stick. I ladled it into containers and stuck it in the fridge. When I got home from work on Monday, all I had to do was heat the soup and toss together a spinach salad.
Edwin and I were nothing short of delighted by this soup. Even EDW, who generally prefers a not smooth soup, was impressed with this one's flavor and texture. If I'd had enough foresight to plan for extras, I would have bought 4 pounds of carrots and doubled the recipe. It'll reheat nicely for today's lunch, but I'm sad to only have made 4 servings of this soup.
It's easy. It's simple. It's flavorful. You should make it too.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

cookbook review: Encyclopedia of Sandwiches

I'm a huge fan of Susan Russo's blog, Food Blogga, and when she asked for volunteers to review* her new cookbook, The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, I jumped at the chance.

Here's what the publisher says about it:

How do you keep a Dagwood from toppling over? What makes a Po’ Boy so crispy and crunchy? And who was the genius that invented the Fluffernutter? Discover these answers and more in The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches—a chunky little cookbook dedicated to everything between sliced bread.

Author Susan Russo has searched the globe to catalog every sandwich imaginable, providing tried-and-true recipes, tips and tricks, and fascinating regional and historical trivia about the best snack of all time.

Quick how-to instructions will ensure that every Panini is toasted to buttery perfection, every Sloppy Joe is deliciously sloppy, and every Dagwood is stacked to perfection! The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches is essential reading for sandwich connoisseurs everywhere.
Here's what I say about it:

Arranged alphabetically (encyclopedically, if you will) and stuffed with countless sandwich recipes and gorgeous photography, The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches is one of the most fun cookbooks I've seen (I'm especially fond of its smallish, square size-- reminiscent of a sandwich). Susan has taken a universal comfort food and celebrated it for 300 pages with trivia and recipes. The best way to read the book is exactly how (nerd alert!) you'd to read an encyclopedia for fun: open to a random page and start flipping.

Susan gives historical trivia and fun facts about lots of the sandwiches, and Food Blogga readers will delight in Susan's familiar writing, which combines humor and cooking tips effortlessly. Matt Armendariz's photography is inspired, making each sandwich into art. Proof of his genius? The part with the peanut butter and jelly sandwich (yes, there is an actual printed recipe for it) includes not only a brief history of our beloved PB&J (thanks GIs in WWII for combining your rationed jelly and peanut butter and branding the combo, preesh), but also an absolutely gorgeous photograph of two pieces of white bread, peanut butter, and grape jelly. Looking through this book had me wondering if they were going to sell prints of the sandwich photos-- I want several, hanging in my kitchen.

I had a hard time choosing which sandwich to make for this review. Full disclosure: I really, really wanted to make the pound cake sandwich, "made by buttering and grilling two thick slabs of cake and sandwiching sweet ingredients, including whipped cream, fruity cream cheese and melted chocolate," but that didn't seem like a smart choice for dinner on Wednesday. I went with the Italian Tuna Salad Sandwich. The reasons are twofold:

1. I love tuna salad when it doesn't have mayonnaise.
2. I love saying tuna salad because it always, always reminds me of Leonardo the Terrible Monster, who wants nothing more than to scare the tuna salad out of someone.

According to Susan, "An Italian Tuna Salad Sandwich is distinct from a traditional American Tuna Salad Sandwich in several ways. It uses imported Italian tuna packed in olive oil but forgoes the mayo. Popular garnishes include celery, olives, capers, and roasted red peppers. And it's served on any crusty Italian bread."

Confession: I made wraps instead of sandwiches. Don't judge me! I had wraps in the fridge and didn't feel like going to the store just for bread.

The tuna salad is a lovely combination of tuna, a shallot, celery, kalamata olives, sundried tomatoes, capers, fresh parsley and basil, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and olive oil. As you'd expect with most sandwich recipes, this came together in a snap.

Please please please get Susan's book and appreciate Matt's photography of the tuna salad. My wrap photes don't do it any justice.
Edwin and I really enjoyed our wraps. While EDW definitely prefers tuna salad with mayo, I loooooove it without, and this is hands down the best tuna salad I've had.
Although I adore reading The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches, it's not actually a cookbook I see myself using often because I almost never make sandwiches at home. The reasons are twofold:

1. When I cook, I want to have leftovers. Lots and lots of leftovers. Sandwiches don't equal leftovers.
2. When I want a sandwich, I want someone else to make it. Everyone knows the best sandwich is the one you don't have to make yourself.

You should check out The Encyclopedia of Sandwiches and make me some sandwiches. Besides the pound cake sandwich, I'd happily accept the falafel pita, the grilled portobello sandwich, the Elvis (aka grilled peanut butter, banana, and bacon), or the salmon sandwich. Thank you in advance.

*I received a complimentary copy of the book for review purchases but was not paid. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

brown rice spring vegetable risotto

I made brown rice spring vegetable risotto last night, and I reminded myself again that I should learn to take better food photes.

This was my first time trying to cook risotto, but I've read about it on so many blogs I felt like I already knew what to do. I bet you know what to do, too: cook some rice, adding a little simmering broth at a time. Stir in vegetables and other ingredes. Enjoy.

I decided not to use zucchini, and I changed some of the proportions of vegetables to compensate. I used a pound of asparagus, about 3 cups broccoli florets, a whole onion (which I think made more than a cup), 3 carrots, and 3/4 cup peas (have I mentioned lately that I love peas?).

About risotto: since you have to stir the rice constantly, you need to do all your prep work before you even think about heating up the rice. I blanched the asparagus and the broccoli first. Just as I was plunging my green veggies in ice water, EDW got home. I asked him to make a snap decision: "I'm not telling you what I'm making, but decide right now if you want this dish vegan or not."

Edwin said, "let's go vegan!" So we did.

I browned the onion and garlic (also, I always use more garlic than is called for. I don't usually write it in, but if you want your food fancy, add.more.garlic.) in olive oil, and then I stirred in the brown rice. Edwin went to the gym, just as I was adding the first cup of simmering broth.
40 minutes later when he got back, I was still standing in front of the stove, marveling at how creamy my rice had suddenly become. For the first 30 minutes, I really wasn't sure about my risotto. There was no squelchy, creamy rice in my le creuset. It felt like it was crunchy, not anywhere near tender rice in a pot for an inordinate amount of time, and then before my very eyes, it turned into risotto. Amazing.

I stirred in some carrots and caught up with Edwin, stirring all the while. Next I added the asparagus, broccoli, and peas, along with about 1/2 chopped fresh basil and parsley (I eyeballed it during the prep round. I'm thinking it was mostly basil with a couple tablespoons parsley). Since my sous chef, who was at the moment busy mixing up some fresh salad dressing, requested vegan, I skipped the parmesan cheese and butter and added 1/3 cup nutritional yeast along with the salt and pepper.
We had our risotto with a spinach salad, and y'all. Making risotto is totally worth the time and effort. I had my doubts along the way, and I even considered calling Emmel to tell her I couldn't believe she liked all the stirring and watching, but in the end, I was so glad I made this recipe.

This risotto is creamy. It's savory. It's sticky. It's nutty (thanks for that one, brown rice, preesh). It's full of spring vegetables and it made my heart sing. Edwin was impressed too, and we both loved it for lunch leftovers today.
Make some risotto, but don't make it for guests. It requires too much attention and doesn't allow for mingling or cleaning while you cook, so your kitchen is a mess when all is said and done. Make it for yourself. You'll be happy.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

carrot raisin spelt berry salad

Another mountain bike ride = another spelt berry salad. Up last night? 7.5 miles at Bent Creek and carrot raisin spelt berry salad with cumin and cilantro.

I did so much better on this ride than last week's. As you know, I love to set goals. I like to think about them, decide on them, and announce them (for accountability).

My goals for the ride were to make it across the bridge and fall less.

We go over a single track bridge at the beginning and end of our rides, and the first ride over has intimidated me from the get go. It has a little to do with the small space and the rails on either side, a little to do with the fact that it goes over a creek and I get skittish around water, and a lot to do with the sharp incline you make to get onto the bridge (hello, jostling). Last night, I made it across! Gleeful whoops and squeals ensued. And the falling? Not an issue this week! I'm getting better at stopping and getting out of the bike, and my confidence is improving. As a bonus, I rode through my first creek, which was thrilling and terrifying. Being comfortable around water is a long term goal, so I was super proud of myself for going through a creek. Insert more shrieks of joy.

On our way back in, I did have some trouble with the bridge, which is odd because I normally sail right through on the return side (it's easier to get on than from the other direction). My handlebars scraped the railing halfway across and that freaked me out, so I braked and stopped pedaling-- the worst thing you can do. I crashed into the left side of the bridge, but that's only one fall and more of a crash, so I'm saying I totally accomplished my goals. I did, after all, make it across from the direction that normally gives me trouble. I'll get them both next time.

As for my crash? I'm getting tougher and it didn't freak me out as much as my falls did last week. It didn't feel good, but it didn't make me think I was going to die. I may or may not have landed on my big hip bruise again. It may or may not have increased in size.

I made dinner earlier in the day, with some additions and changes. To make my salad a bit heftier, I added 4 diced green onions, 1 1/2 cups broccoli slaw, and 2 cups cooked chickpeas. I decided not to heat any of the veggies, and I stirred the garlic into the remaining ingredes to make a dressing.
Having dinner ready really makes the perfect ending to a mountain bike evening. I got home, rinsed the mud from my legs (from riding through the creek, not falling!), and sat down.
I loved this one. I think it has to do with the raisins and chickpeas, one of my favorite bean and fruit combos. Edwin loved it too, and he says he isn't getting tired of spelt berries yet (we know I'm not, obvi). We had our salad over spinach, and I'm excited to finish it off for lunch today.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

quick lima bean and pea stew

I get that there will be people who are disgusted with this stew. I don't understand it, but I know there are a good number of you out there who are anti-lima bean and/or anti-pea. Edwin and I are crazy about both, so I'll proceed.

We had a bit of a cold snap in Asheville this week, and Quick Lima Bean and Pea Stew* seemed like the perfect thing to cook.

I started by sauteeing some shallots in olive oil and butter. The recipe calls for 2 to 4 chopped anchovy fillets, which are optional, to be cooked along with the shallots. I used anchovy paste instead (how much do I love pastes in squeeze tubes?) so I added a squirt to the pot right before I added in the next batch of ingredients. I poured in some white wine, and then stirred in frozen lima beans and vegetable broth. I let that simmer until the beans were tender, and then I added the secret ingredient: shredded romaine lettuce, which Mark Bittman promised would "melt into the mixture, adding body and unexpected flavor." I also stirred in a bunch of chopped mint, some frozen peas, and salt and pepper. Once the lettuce started to disintegrate and the stew thickened (mine took about 5 minutes instead of the estimated 2), we were ready to eat.
At this point I was slightly concerned with my very green, very beany soup and its 1/2 cup chopped mint plus anchovy paste combo.

I needn't have worried. I LOVED this soup. I honestly can't remember Edwin's comments about it because I was raving so much. I know he liked it, but I'm not sure he thought it was revelatory. But people. It was a revelation. Mint and anchovies and limas and peas and lettuce are magic.
I should have doubled the recipe so we'd get more than 4 bowls of it.

*Bittman, Mark. The Food Matters Cookbook. "Quick Lima Bean and Pea Stew." p. 358-9.

Friday, May 6, 2011

spring asparagus pasta

I made a spring asparagus pasta for dinner the other night, using Heidi's method for spring pasta.

Ever since I made leek pesto, I've been intrigued with using eggs in pasta dishes. They really do give an extra pop of flavor-- plus they're a cheap and easy way to increase protein and substance to vegetarian meals.

I sauteed a lot of asparagus in some olive oil, and then I stirred in 4 diced green onions. Next I added my cooked pasta (I used rotini because it's what I had on hand) along with some fresh basil and parsley, and got ready to add the eggs. I must have read Heidi's instructions several times before adding the eggs, but I'm still not sure I got it right.
My eggs scrambled almost immediately, and the pan looked a bit dry so I added a splash of cooking water from the noodles. I covered it while I tossed together an arugula salad, and then I called it done.
Were my eggs supposed to scramble or is there a way to make it more saucy and less clumpy? I imagine if I added the eggs to a not so hot pan they wouldn't scramble, but would the heat from the covered pan be enough to cook the eggs? Please advise.
Regardless of the egg texture, we liked this dish quite a bit. I only sauteed the asparagus until it was slightly tender, because I like my veggies to have a bit of bite to them, but EDW said he would have preferred it with softer asparagus. I'll probably try this again, if only for the fact that the method works with any vegetables you have in your pantry.