19 June 2013

asparagus + peas

Fresh peas, asparagus, orecchiette, and a garlic-cream sauce with pepper and some parmigiano-reggiano: a simple lunch is made.

18 June 2013


Cherries from Michigan + brandy + whipped cream (and a bit of sugar, vanilla pod, almond extract).

asparagus with mustard dressing

The quite simple, but satisfying, salad from Shizuo Tsuji's Japanese Cooking: A Simple Art — "Asuparagasu Karashi-Ae." Blanched asparagus, mustard powder (and water), egg yolk and soy sauce.

This worked well with some turnip-garlic chive jeon, miso soup, brown rice, and nattō.

12 June 2013

rhubarb tart with strawberries and orange flower water

This is a rhubarb tart that I pulled together (also inspired by the new Deborah Madison book): I cooked a pound of chopped rhubarb with the zest and juice of an orange and a ½ cup of sugar. Once that softened, I added a handfull of halved strawberries (reserving most for garnishing since they were too gorgeous to cook) and ½ tsp. of tapioca starch and let it cook for about five minutes. To this I added a splash of orange flower water and let it cool, and I then placed it into a fully baked, and cooled, flaky tart shell (which had been coated with egg near the end of its baking). I added ⅓ of a vanilla bean to a ½-pint of heavy cream and let that sit while the tart set. To serve, I whipped the cream with another splash of orange flower water and some sugar. Finish with halved strawberries.

asparagus salad

This was the first week of widespread farmers' markets across the city, and I found the most beautiful asparagus that I have seen since I lived in Western Massachusetts (home to the incomparable Hadley Asparagus). There were also some wonderful tomatoes, rhubarb, oyster mushrooms, turnips, radishes and strawberries (this is all the more exciting considering how difficult it it to get decent produce in Chicago).

Deborah Madison's new book has a recipe for an asparagus salad; it is quite simple: roasted asparagus, a chopped egg, toasted and torn ciabatta, and a vinaigrette of coarse mustard, olive oil (I used a fruity unfiltered one) and red wine vinegar (Eden makes a fabulous naturally fermented and raw one that I love). I finished the salad off with chervil, which I have growing on my porch.

While the asparagus were incredible, there's also something about the sum being more than the parts here: this was a huge hit, and really tasted exceptional. I tossed the bread in some dressing in the roasting pan before assembling, which soaked up the oil and seasoning from roasting the asparagus.

07 June 2013

Lime-Pepita-Coconut Cookies

I've had some pepitas hanging around and decided to make some cookies with them. I played around with some recipes, and this is the second batch:

Lime-Pepita-Coconut Cookies:

¼ cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
seeds from ⅓ of a vanilla bean
zest of 2 limes
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 oz. lime juice (about one lime if fresh) [lemon also works]
1 cup unbleached flour
¾ cup whole wheat pastry flour
½  cup pepitas, toasted and roughly chopped
cup shredded coconut
½  teaspoon baking soda
½  teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350ºF.

Blend the butter, vanilla, zest and oil and then cream that with the sugar. Add the egg, blend, and then add the lime juice. In a separate bowl, mix the flours, baking soda, salt, pepitas and coconut. Add the dry ingredients to the mixer bowl and incorporate.

I shaped these using a #70 scoop (½ oz), which seems ideal. Press into disks. Bake for 10-11 minutes until set, but not brown. Makes about 3 dozen 2¼-inch cookies.

(These are modified from Impeccable Taste).