Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Rhubarb Curd

I know, I know, back on the rhubarb train. It's funny...I don't think I can recall -ever- eating rhubarb even once in my childhood. Which is odd if you think about where I grew up.Rhubarb is the quintessential country spring fruit? veggie? stalk? (The definition isn't very clear), but here I am...just really discovering it for all it's magical properties. I have to wonder at the reason for this. Did somebody in my family dislike rhubarb? As often as we had strawberry pies (both homemade and bought from the ever illustrious Troyer's) and as often as strawberry is paired with rhubarb, you would think it would have come to visit every once and awhile.

It all started with the glaze, but I've been on a wild rhubarb ride ever since. I think it's that first blush of a new passion. (oh, and around these parts it's going to be another few weeks, at least, until the strawberries come in, so the old couplings are out - but the best advice is from The Kitchn blog: Don't wait for strawberries. It's May and winter was long. It's time to celebrate and enjoy rhubarb now.)

And so I did. I made their recipe for rhubarb curd. It has become the go-to toast topic around the apartment the past few weeks. It really is magical enough to eclipse peanut butter for a little while! So head on over and give the recipe a try. (Note: if I were to do it again I would cut the sugar though, so do as you see fit in that department.)

Monday, May 12, 2014

The First Asparagus of the Season

I knew it was coming. I first knew it on Wednesday when I heard rumblings that soon it would be here. I could scarcely believe it. Were the rumors true? Could it finally be time? Could the wait be over? As luck would have it: it was. Three vendors at the Farmer's Market this weekend had asparagus (and good, ready to eat asparagus, not stringy too early asparagus). It's the vegetable event of the season and I was there!

Okay...now that I've gotten really weird on you, let's talk asparagus. It is one of my absolute favorite vegetables. Not only is it delicious, but it was used as an ancient medicine to fight fatigue. There's probably a reason for this. Asparagus is a rich source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium, zinc, beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, and a ton of others. The list just goes on and on. (Of course, this list also includes the amino acid as asparagine which is important to the breakdown of ammonia in the body, but also responsible for the "side effects" of asparagus)

Now, how does one get all these benefits? Countless ways! There's asparagus soup, asparagus risotto, asparagus pizza, but honestly? The best way is the simplest way. Asparagus is great. There's no need to dress it up.


It's so simple, just toss the asparagus with a little minced garlic and olive oil and toss it in the oven for about 15 minutes (or on the grill for a little less than that). Serve with spaghetti and a dash of Parmesan cheese and bread crumbs. Trust me: it's heavenly.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Leek and Fennel Soup

Coming home to 50 degree Michigan from 80 degree Puerto Rico was a bit of a shock to my system. Not going to lie. 50 probably would have felt like a tropical heat wave just a month ago, but to me, this weekend, it feels like it does in September: soup weather. I suppose that's not a bad thing. It gives me a chance to display a spring vegetable soup! (And don't worry, I'll be waxing rhapsodic on the amazing cuisine of Puerto Rico soon enough.)

This soup is also, unfortunately, another in the "it doesn't look pretty, but I promise it tastes good" vein.

Well, it looks pretty before you blend it, at least.

Leek and Fennel Soup
(Inspired by these two recipes from Food52)

[What You Need]
2 leeks
1 bulb of fennel
Olive Oil
5 cups vegetable broth
1 cup buttermilk
Several big handfuls of fresh parsley
Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

[What to do]
  1. Chop up fennel, leeks, and parsley. Set the parsley aside and saute the leeks and fennel in the olive oil.
  2. Add stock and buttermilk. Bring to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. CAREFULLY blend the soup until creamy.
  4. Serve with a spoonful or two of Parmesan cheese and black pepper