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Archive for the ‘Asparagus’ Category


Spring means asparagus and this is my favorite asparagus recipe. I didn’t think I liked asparagus until I had prepared in the recipe below. My image was of boiled asparagus that was limp and turned olive green. This cooking method preserves all the vitamins and all the flavor.

rocky horse asparagus 2

(Fresh asparagus from Rocky Horse Ranch at the Webb City Farmers Market)

 And once I became an asparagus fan, I have also found that raw asparagus is delicious as well – if it is fresh from the market and tender it is a great finger food or it is terrific just to break into small pieces into a salad.

 My most recent favorite asparagus method is steamed – an easy meal is to place a piece of fish or chicken on a 6-8″ square of parchment paper, season with salt, pepper. Then add 2″ pieces of asparagus, sliced mushroom, zucchini, cherry tomato on the meat, drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 1/4 cup of chicken broth or wine. Fold the parchment paper over the meat and vegetables into a package, place on a sheet pan into 400 degree oven for 15 minutes or until parchment paper is browned on edges. The steam cooks the meat and vegetables and is delicious.

 All of these cooking methods preserve the flavor and vitamins in asparagus. Asparagus is a low calorie vegetable that is an excellent source of folate, Vitamin C and potassium. It is also rich in antioxidants. Spring is here – enjoy some asparagus!

 <strong>Roasted Asparagus</strong>

 Ingredients

 1 lb asparagus

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt ( or 1/4 teaspoon regular table salt)

 Preheat oven to 425°F.

 Cut off the woody bottom part of the asparagus spears and discard.

With a vegetable peeler, peel off the skin on the bottom 2-3 inches of the spears (this keeps the asparagus from being all “stringy” and if you eat asparagus you know what I mean by that).

Place asparagus on foil-lined baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil.

Sprinkle with salt.

With your hands, roll the asparagus around until they are evenly coated with oil and salt.

Roast for 10-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of your stalks and how tender you like them.

They should be tender when pierced with the tip of a knife.

The tips of the spears will get very brown but watch them to prevent burning.

susan2

Market Lady Susan Pittman

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Fresh Asparagus Salad


When April rolls around I head to the farmers market for my greens and in hopes of asparagus on the tables of my local farmers.  Asparagus is typically found locally in the Ozarks in April and May- so you better act now!

When choosing asparagus look for tight heads, firm stalks and all stalks should be about the size of a pencil and uniform in size.  When you get home with your market asparagus, place in a vase with the ends in a container of water of wrap ends in a wet paper towel.  Store no longer than a couple days.

Fresh Asparagus Salad
½ lb. thin asparagus stalks
4 medium, ripe tomatoes, cut into wedges
½ small red onion, thinly sliced and cut vertical
2 cloves, minced garlic
¼ cup fresh cilantro
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

Prepare you asparagus and steam the stalks for 3.5 minutes.  Then, transfer to a cold water bath (to stop the cooking process you must place asparagus in a bowl of ice cold water, then drain).  Cut asparagus into ½ inch pieces.

 

Combine asparagus, onion, tomatoes, garlic and cilantro in a large glass bowl.  In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, asparagus, onion and cilantro. In a small bowl, combine lemon juice, oil and cumin and whisk together and drizzle over the salad.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

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Another great recipe idea for babies 7 months and older- Asparagus Delight.  Spring isn’t too far away and that means that the farmers markets will yet again be busting with fresh asparagus and broccoli, which will make this baby food even more nutritious for your wee ones.

Don’t be afraid to add a little taste to your little one’s palate by adding some seasonings (omit salt at all times), just because they are babies doesn’t mean they won’t appreciate good-tasting food.

Asparagus Delight
1 lb. of fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder

After washing and trimming the vegetables- stem until tender. Add all ingredients in a processor and puree.

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Interested in making your own homemade baby food?  I’m here to help…here ‘s a great recipe to start you out with.

If you have questions about recipes for baby and ways to freeze and store your baby food, just leave me a comment.  I’d love to help you, help baby eat locally.

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Press Release:
The Market Lady project kicks-off filming on Friday, May 6, 2011, at the Webb City Farmers Market in Webb City, Mo.  The Market Lady and video crew will begin at 11:00 a.m., with a baby food cooking demo using fresh produce from the market, followed by interviews with market customers, shopping tips for market visitors and end the day with a two final cooking demos incorporating various market products.

“We’re excited about The Market Lady coming to Webb City.  So often folks want to add fresh produce to their diets and that of their family but don’t know how to prepare it.  Eating fresh doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming and the health benefits, both to your family and to your community, are important,” said Eileen Nichols, Webb City Farmers Market Master. “Those of us raised on boxed, canned and frozen foods – or fast foods – can be intimidated by the market tables loaded with fresh produce.  But it’s easy to go from farm to table and The Market Lady will show us how.”

One recipe The Market Lady will be preparing at the market is a homemade baby food to teach mothers how easy it is to feed their baby locally grown specialty crops from their local farmers market.  Below find one of the recipes that will be demonstrated on May 6 at the market.

Baby’s Asparagus Medley
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 bunch asparagus
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 small onion, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon marjoram or oregano

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add onion and sauté until tender. Add asparagus, garlic, chicken broth and marjoram; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer until asparagus is tender. Remove from heat; purée in batches in a blender. Heat through to serve.

NOTE: We will post more recipes this week that The Market Lady will be cooking at the market on Friday…stay tuned!

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Spring Green


Green, green- everywhere I look.  We are in full bloom here in the Ozarks, the Redbud trees have shown their radiant purple berries for a couple weeks now, and Dogwood trees can be spotted among the forest.

When spring rolls around each year, I know that the growing season is just starting to gear-up.  Although we won’t see many farmers market favorites like tomatoes, green beans and sweet corn for a couple of months, there are still plenty of choices at the markets that have opened.

Spring greens and lettuce are a few of the favorites during this time of year, but be sure to enjoy local meats, cheeses and other value-added products at your local market.

My official spring vegetable is asparagus.  I can recall the asparagus patches that my grandparents had on their farms.  This spring vegetable is best when used in an uncomplicated recipe, to enjoy the full flavor.  From boiling to grilling- asparagus is sure to be a favorite around your family’s dinner table.  But, be sure and visit a market soon, for asparagus season typically runs from Market through the middle of June. 

Selection & Storage Tips
You want asparagus stalks that are crisp and firm.  The heads should be tightly closed and full and be sure that the end of the stalks are moist, not cracking.  Key: Asparagus will only last about 4 days, so either plan meals accordingly or blanch and freeze your harvest.  If you plan on keeping asparagus in the refrigerator, be sure and wrap the stalks in a damp cloth and place in a plastic bag that is not sealed. 

Preparation Tip
When preparing your asparagus for a meal, be sure and trim off the ends.  Some might disagree with me on this, but the easiest way to find where to trim the ends is to snap off the asparagus ends.  I do this by holding the spear firmly and bend it until it breaks in a natural place, where the asparagus gets tough.  Then I place that spear on a cutting board with the rest of the stalks and cut all spears in the same location.  

One of my family’s favorite ways to enjoy in the spring asparagus harvest is by grilling.  We serve asparagus as a side with many meals and it has become one of my son’s favorite vegetables.  I’ve got two recipes to share that can be added to your recipe box that are quick and easy. 

Grilled Asparagus
Olive oil
1 bunch fresh asparagus
3 cloves garlic, chopped
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Zest of one lemon

Lay out a 12-inch sheet of foil.  Lay spears on foil and drizzle olive oil over the spears.  Sprinkle garlic, salt and pepper and lemon zest and toss lightly.  Wrap foil up loose and lay on grill for about 10 minutes.

And for all you mom’s out there, here is a special recipe to get your little ones in on the local foods action.  I made all homemade baby food for our little one last summer and came up with some pretty unique recipes that I’m sure your little ones will enjoy this season.

Baby’s Asparagus Delight
1 lb. of fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 head of fresh broccoli, cut
1 tsp. olive oil
1 clove of garlic
1/2 tsp. onion powder

After washing and trimming the vegetables- stem until tender. Add all ingredients in a processor and puree.

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