Posts Tagged ‘asparagus’

Strawberry Cupcakes (and 5 links for Friday)

Friday, May 28th, 2010

I probably don’t have to tell you it’s strawberry season — in fact, we’re getting down to the final weeks here in Virginia, and there were reports of the first cherries of the season at the FreshFarm Penn Quarter market yesterday. We had friends over last weekend and I wanted to make strawberry cupcakes for the kids. (Ok, for all of us.) I found this recipe using fresh berries from famed Sprinkles Cupcakery via Martha Stewart, and it turned out wonderfully. The frosting, a semi-cream cheese twist, is my new favorite frosting — the husband, who doesn’t typically like cream cheese or buttercream frostings, even approved. And of course the kids were big fans, too.

Recipe: Strawberry Cream Cheese Frosting
(Adapted from Sprinkles’ recipe; get the cupcake recipe at MarthaStewart.com.)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), room temperature
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (1/2 package), room temperature
  • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry puree
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla paste (or extract)

Instructions: Cream cream cheese and butter in mixer bowl on medium speed until fluffy. Gradually add powdered sugar, mixing on low at first, then medium until smooth. Add strawberry puree and vanilla and mix another minute. If your frosting is really soft (as tends to happen when working in a warm kitchen), chill in the refrigerator for 20 minutes or so before frosting cupcakes. Makes enough for 1 dozen cupcakes. Enjoy!

And now, a few links for your holiday weekend … have a great one!

1.  I’ve spotted a few spring panzanellas around the food blogs. Typically made with late summer’s ripe tomatoes, these versions use what’s in season today, like asparagus and arugula panzanella from In Jennie’s Kitchen and spring panzanella from Sassy Radish – perfect side dishes for Memorial Day cook-outs!

2. Speaking of cook-outs, Borderstan has a round-up of bbq-ready recipes from DC food bloggers.

3. If you’re running out of ideas for all that spring asparagus, here are Five Ways to Eat Asparagus from Food & Think at Smithsonian.com (including my crustless asparagus quiche).

4. It’s officially soft shell season here in the Chesapeake Bay region, and Coconut & Lime has a helpful tutorial for cleaning fresh crabs if you’re brave enough to cook them at home. (Buster’s Seafood at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm Market usually has them for sale this time of year.)

5. If you’re staying in town this holiday weekend, catch Chef José Andrés and his daughter Ines cooking another giant paella at the Dupont Circle FreshFarm market, 11am.

Crustless Asparagus Quiche (Meatless Monday)

Sunday, May 9th, 2010

Asparagus with eggs, take two… Yes, I have a thing for eggs and asparagus. While a traditional quiche is ideal for Sunday brunch, this crustless version is perfect for a fast weeknight supper — just serve with a side salad and some bread. Of course, if you’re more prepared than I, you can make this with a pre-made frozen pie crust.

crustless asparagus quiche

Recipe: Crustless Asparagus Quiche

Ingredients:
1 bunch asparagus
2 stalks green garlic
4 large eggs
1 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup milk
sea salt and pepper

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375. Oil 8-inch square glass baking dish.

Heat olive oil in skillet over medium high heat. Sauté asparagus, stirring once or twice, until partly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Add garlic to pan for the last 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together eggs and milk. Fold in ricotta, then garlic and asparagus. Pour into baking dish and cook 25-30 minutes, until set and puffy. Remove from oven and let cool slightly before serving. Makes 6 servings. Enjoy!

Farms of Origin: eggs, Valentine’s Country Meats; milk, South Mountain Creamery; ricotta, Blue Ridge Dairy; asparagus, Black Rock Orchard; green garlic, Farm at Sunnyside (all but milk from the Falls Church Farmers Market).

Asparagus with Eggs (Meatless Monday)

Monday, April 19th, 2010

I don’t know how much of it can be attributed to the fact that asparagus is the first fresh new vegetable of the spring, but my love affair with these crisp stalks grows each year. This is my favorite way to enjoy them, and works as the ultimate market-fresh, fast-food meal whether for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Getting my son to embrace asparagus with the same enthusiasm has been more difficult. One day last spring, after I’d all but given up, he snatched one off my plate declaring, “Ooh, a giant string bean!” — and then proceeded to devour the rest of my serving! Since then it’s still been hit or miss, and I’ll switch between calling them asparagus or “super string beans” just in case the terminology makes a difference. I keep making them the same way I made them that time, though — pan-roasted with butter rather than oven-roasted with olive oil. I think the butter gives a sweeter carmelization, and I prefer it even if he doesn’t always appreciate them.

While I prefer them with poached eggs, the runny yolks serving double-duty as dressing, you can certainly try it with your kid’s favorite style of eggs. Mine is obsessed with hard boiled, lately.

Recipe: Roasted Asparagus with Poached Eggs

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound fresh asparagus, ends trimmed
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • sea salt and pepper
  • 4 eggs, poached
  • grated parmesan or pecorino cheese
  • fresh chives, finely sliced (optional)

Instructions: Heat a large skillet (I prefer my cast iron) over medium high heat. Melt the butter, then add asparagus and cook, turning just once or twice, until stalks begin to brown in spots, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover to keep warm while you poach the eggs. Divide asparagus and arrange on dinner plates. Gently place one poached egg on each plate, on top of the asparagus, and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Serve with French bread or whole wheat toast. Makes 4 servings. Enjoy!

Toddler-friendly tip: You can trim the asparagus into shorter pieces and encourage your little one to dip them into the yolk.

5 {links} for Friday

Friday, April 9th, 2010

Ah, Friday…

1.Family Gardening on your spring agenda? Katie at goodLife eats is organizing a weekly GrowCookEat blog event, beginning now. Hope to see you there!

2. (School) Lunch Bite of the Week: You know that meager increase in federal school lunch funds approved recently by the Senate Agriculture Committee? To pay for it, they’re proposing reducing food stamp and conservation funds. Join FoodDeclaration.org and tell Congress to find a better way: sign the petition.

3. New at the Markets: Morels are here, and today was the debut of asparagus at the Penn Quarter FreshFarm Market.

4. Recipe of the Week: Speaking of asparagus, my friend Tiffany of The Garden Apartment has an intriguing variation, Asparagus Fennel Soup.

5. Blog of the Week: Fellow foodie mama Stacie, formerly of ChowMama, has launched a new blog: One Hungry Mama. As she says, “Kids change the way we cook, but they don’t have to change how well we eat.” Check out her blog to see how she keeps herself and her family well fed.

Enjoy your weekend!

The Copper Pot and more at the Oakton Farmers Market

Thursday, May 7th, 2009

FoodieTots @ the Farmers Market Week continues with a field trip to the Vienna/Oakton Farmers Market to sample The Copper Pot by Chef Stefano Frigerio.

copper pot food co jamIt’s opening week at the Fairfax County Farmers Markets, and perhaps the most publicized new vendor in local market history was the Copper Pot Food Company by Chef Stefano Frigerio. An Italian-born chef-turned-stay-at-home-dad, Chef Frigerio turned to home preserving to stay connected to the kitchen and the local farmers he developed relationships with during his days cooking at DC’s Maestro and Mio restaurants. We really enjoyed Chef Frigerio’s cooking at Mio, so I was eager to check out the new product line of jams, pastas and sauces. One of the nice things about markets further out in the ‘burbs is the more leisurely pace and ability to actually converse with the farmers and vendors. Chef Frigerio explained that he started making jams out of concern for his kids’ love of sweets. “I can’t feed my kids high fructose corn syrup every day,” he said, describing his son’s ability to slurp down an entire jar of jam at once (if allowed). Jam flavors include orchard fresh apple, white fig & balsamic, peach & prosecco “bellini,” and strawberry & vanilla bean. Now despite my foray into jam making last summer, I actually don’t eat a lot of it as I find so many jams are too sticky sweet for my taste. The strawberry & vanilla, in contrast, tasted just like strawberries at peak ripeness and was not at all cloying.

copper pot food co ravioli

Chef Frigerio also offers fresh, handmade pastas and tomato sauces. When asked how the reception was at his first market this weekend (14th & U in the District), he expressed surprise at how quickly he sold out of his braised rabbit ravioli – something he claimed people rarely ordered at the restaurant. I picked up some of the rabbit ravioli and a jar of the roasted shallot Barolo tomato sauce for a quick dinner. Sure, at $10 for 8 ravioli it was a little pricey, but having an Italian chef in your pantry is a nice treat for a busy weeknight! The tomato sauce was richly flavored and will definitely make a repeat appearance on our table.

Other vendors at the market included Long Meadow Ecological Farm (“no spray” asparagus, radishes, watercress and other greens from VA’s Shenandoah Valley), Kuhn Orchards (IPM fruits, rhubarb and asparagus from near Gettysburg, PA), Garner’s Produce (more VA strawberries, asparagus and plants), Lois’s Produce (Northern Neck VA, strawberries, asparagus, spring onions, flowers – and their website promises artichokes in late summer!), Cenan’s Bakery (Vienna, bread and pastries), Bees ‘n Blossoms (VA honey and soaps), Emine’s sweet and savory baklavas (also available at Old Town Alexandria), Fields of Grace farmstead cheese (and curds, from Remington, VA), and Valentine’s Country Meats with hormone-free, grass-fed/free-range Angus beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, incredible pastel eggs (pictured below), pies and sweets.

vienna oakton va famers market

As if the first rhubarb sighting of the season wasn’t exciting enough, Kuhn was giving away free sample of asparagus with every purchase. As with most Fairfax County-managed markets, local gardeners were on hand to offer free gardening advice.

This is a great market and I appreciated the detailed signage at most vendors explaining their growing practices; when markets get busy, it gets difficult to ask farmers about their methods so signage is a great way to provide more transparency for market shoppers. (Of course, you should always feel free to ask for more information!) And Fairfax County requires that all vendors be within a 125-mile radius of the county, so you can be assured that the products are truly local.

The Vienna/Oakton Farmers Market is located at the Oak Marr RECenter, 3200 Jermantown Road, and open Wednesdays from 8am-noon, May through November 18. Find Chef Frigerio and the Copper Pot Food Co. at Fairfax (Tues.), Vienna/Oakton (Weds.) and Herndon (Thurs.) markets in Virginia and Georgetown (Weds.), 14th and U (Sat.) and Bloomingdale (Sun.) markets in the District.