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May 31, 2010 in sides, vegetarian1 comment

asparagus risotto

asparagus risotto

Rice is born in water and must die in wine. – Italian proverb

Mm, risotto. The creamy arborio rice dish accepts all sorts of additions, especially vegetables of all kinds. One of my favorite risottos, right up there with mushroom, is asparagus risotto. When the asparagus season wanes and we’ve had our fill of steamed or pan-roasted, or oven-roasted, or with-an-egg-on-top asparagus, I like to make this risotto before the weather turns too hot to want to attend a stove for half an hour or more. Read more on asparagus risotto…

foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: rhubarb — it’s not just for pie anymore

rhubarb salsa

Rhubarb with caramelized onions? Rhubarb salsa? Rhubarb and lentil potage? I can hear you now, the ornery ones of you that is: What the hell, woman…rhubarb’s for pie. Crisps. Crunches.

prepping peppers, onion, jalapeño, and cilantro for the rhubarb salsa

For April’s Foodbuzz 24, 24, 24 event, I decided to explore the savory side of rhubarb, since there’s a ton of it growing about 50 feet from my front door. As rhubarb is technically a vegetable/herb, why not try some recipes that utilize rhubarb as a vegetable?

chop the rhubarb for the salsa finely. you don't wanna crunch into a big honkin' piece of this stuff.

Hey, salsa has a tangy bite. I bet rhubarb could work in salsa. So I tracked down a viable candidate in The Joy of Rhubarb: The Versatile Summer Delight. It’s a classic Mexican salsa, with fresh cilantro, green onion (which made me happy; I can’t stand regular onions raw), lime juice, jalapeño for a bit of bite, barely-blanched rhubarb, and lots of sweet peppers and more sugar than salsa normally would have, to counteract the rhubarb’s bite.

colorful rhubarb salsa ingredients :)

Dad’s verdict? “It would be great on hamburgers. By the way, we’re having hamburgers tonight….” Subtle hint there, Dad. ;-) Yeah, he went home with some rhubarb salsa. Linda thought it had a bit of a bitter rhubarb taste to it and suggested more sweetener. I loved it. Fresh, crisp, clean salsa taste with the rhubarb adding uniqueness without overpowering it.

Overall verdict for rhubarb salsa: Two snaps up. Read more on foodbuzz 24, 24, 24: rhubarb — it’s not just for pie anymore…

April 23, 2010 in sides, vegetarian2 comments

how to prepare the first asparagus of the season

*this* is what you do with the first asparagus of the season

Do you have an asparagus patch or access to one? If you have any bit of yard at all and you like asparagus, there’s really no reason not to put some in. Asparagus is a perennial, takes up little room, and requires practically no care. Seriously. Mow or cut it down in the fall after it’s gone to seed, and that’s about it. This is one vegetable that absolutely weighs in on the positive end of the scale of labor cost v. return on investment.

the asparagus controversy: fat or thin stalks?

asparagus: nice first of the season fatties

Nearly every cookbook I’ve ever seen that talks about asparagus says the thinnest stalks are tenderest and most flavorful.

And nearly every cookbook is wrong.

Read more on how to prepare the first asparagus of the season…

May 17, 2010 in sides, vegetarian3 comments

pan-roasted asparagus

pan-roasted asparagus recipe

Everyone knows that a little fat in cooking is a Good Thing. Butter or olive oil brings out flavor, coats food, and makes it glisten and look pretty. What I want to know is the name of the god person who got the brilliant idea to use both at once.

butter and olive oil, together at last

butter, olive oil, salt, and garlic

The plain, quick-simmered aspargus I slapped up earlier is a homey preparation, perfect for quick weekday suppers. This asparagus, cut the same into 1-inch niblets, is fried in olive oil, butter, salt, and garlic for about 8 minutes or so. Infused with flavor, it works when you have company, or a bit more time to hover over the stove with the asparagus. Wait, what was that above? Let’s reiterate. Read more on pan-roasted asparagus…