Tag Archives: asparagus

Weekend RoundUP and More!

Okay, first things first. If you receive an email feed from my blog and the pictures aren’t showing … it means operator error on my part 🙂 Please just click on the heading that usually appears in blue.  It will take you directly to my blog and with any luck at all … PICTURES!  I do always try to have one or two pictures in the beginning of the blog.  If you didn’t click on the blog title and link to my post yesterday you may have missed this picture:
Or possibly this one:
Okay, moving one.  This week I was reading a blog post from Joy The Baker.  titled “Why We Use Unsalted Butter.”  This immediately got my attention because … well, I don’t always use unsalted butter.  Ooops! So I read through her post and was amazed at what I didn’t know!   So, I am going out on a limb here … thinking maybe there is something about unsalted butter that  you don’t know.  So, from Joy The Baker, here is what she said.

Why do we use unsalted butter in baking?  Is it really that important?  YES.  Yes, it is.   Butter is my go-to fat in the kitchen.  Olive oil is nice.  Coconut oil is lovely.  Butter gets the job done!

Butter is typically made from cow’s milk and consists of mostly butterfats.  Low fat butter is suspicious, at best.  Butter is generally about 80% fat, with the remaining 20% consisting of water and milk solids.

You have a choice when you go to the grocery:  salted or unsalted butter.  If you’re thinking about slathering your butter on a baguette, perhaps you’ll reach for the salted butter.  If you’re baking a cobbler, perhaps you’ll reach for the unsalted butter.  If you’re bargain shopping, perhaps you’ll reach for the cheapest butter on the shelves.

Buy unsalted butter always!

Here’s why:

–  Unsalted butter ensures that you can control the amount of salt you add to your cakes, cookies and Strawberry Cream Puffs.  Different companies add different amounts of salt to their butter.  How are you to know how salty your butter is, and how you should adjust the salt in your recipe?  It’s too much of a guessing game.  Removing the salt from the butter equation puts you in charge of your cookie salting.

–  Salt is a preservative.  Salted butter has a longer shelf life than unsalted butter.  That means that unsalted butter is typically fresher.

–  Salt can mask flavors!  You may not be able to taste or smell if your butter is off because clever clever salt can mask funky taste and odors.  Tricky.

Does butter reeeaaallllyyy go bad?

Heck yes it does!  Unsalted butter lasts about 3 months (although I really don’t like to let it sit around the house this long).  Salted butter lasts for just over 5 months (that’s so long, right?).  If you think your butter might be off, give it a good sniff.  The nose always knows.  Also, slice your butter.  Is the inside the same color as the outside… or is the outside a darker casing around the butter?  Bad butter is two different colors.

What happens if I use bad butter?   The world will end…  

Thank you Joy for sharing this info.  I know I have had butter in the frig that was dark on the outside, light inside … ooops.  I am quite certain I have “over-salted” in the past and didn’t even know it 🙂  From now on … ONLY UNSALTED BUTTER FOR ME!

From Kale Chips to French Strawberry Cake to Fresh Asparagus Puff Pastry Pinwheels and a bit of canning on the side, my little kitchen has seen a lot of activity this week.  Here are a few pictures as I sign off for the weekend!

~ Blessings, Catherine

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Week 21 reading plan Job 14 through Job 42
Click on the colored link to read each day’s scripture.
Monday Job 14-18, Tuesday Job 19-22,
Wednesday Job 23-28, Thursday Job 29-32,
Friday Job 33-36, Saturday Job 37-39,
Sunday Job 40-42

Fresh Asparagus and Puff Pastry Pinwheels

Walk Through The Bible In One Year
Week 21 reading plan Job 14 through Job 42
Click on the colored link to read each day’s scripture.
Monday Job 14-18, Tuesday Job 19-22,
Wednesday Job 23-28, Thursday Job 29-32,
Friday Job 33-36, Saturday Job 37-39,
Sunday Job 40-42

How is your week going?  Summer has “officially” started although I suspect, for most of us, we have felt summer for some time 🙂 Tonight I was blessed to be on a beautiful boat ride at sunset.  This picture was taken from my iphone.  Is it a phone that can take quality pictures or is it a camera that allows you to make a phone call? Either way, a beautiful sunset.
Believe it or not our garden produce has started to come in.  And when I say come in that is exactly it.  My Chief gardener goes out the door and some time later comes in carrying baskets loaded with cucumbers, yellow squash and now green beans! This picture is just the beans and one row of corn!

Oh my gosh, isn’t early for the garden produce to be coming in?  I am grateful for the fresh everything, but that also equates to cook it, can it, freeze it, gift it, …. well, you get the idea.

My sister-in-law called on Monday and said “do you want some peaches?”  PEACHES! ALREADY?~  Of course I can’t say no.  Turns out she had peeled, cut, and canned for 3 days and the last few layers in the box were just too much!!!  A super peach salsa recipe will be coming your way soon!   So for today I am going to share a really great summer appetizer with you and then get back to … cooking, canning, and freezing!
Now, who doesn’t like puff pastry?  I love the stuff.  I’ve bought Pepperidge Farm Puffed Pastry Sheets  for years.  Yesterday I went to buy it at the local Wal-Mart and they were out. But the tag in the empty space place said $4.43.  I was thinking, “wow, that has gone up in price.  I thought it was $3.00 +/-“.
So on to Kroger.  Yep, they had it.  $5.35!  Yikes, I almost didn’t buy it.  I am seriously considering learning how to make it.  In the meantime, I bought the box (2 sheets) and a bundle of fresh asparagus.  I am glad I did.  The asparagus pinwheels are so good and quite easy to make.  I first found the recipe in a cookbook called “Notably Nashville” compiled by the Junior League of Nashville.  I love Junior League cookbook recipes!
This easy appetizer recipe starts out with thawing the puff pastry.  Once thawed, cut the sheet in half and roll it out a little bit.
A mixture of cream cheese, sweet-hot mustard and Parmesan cheese is spread over the pastry.
I cleaned and gently steamed asparagus spears.  They are then laid across the cream cheese laden puffed pastry.

The pastry is then rolled tight and brushed with a beaten egg.  Poppy seeds can be sprinkled on or not.  Totally optional to the taste (in my opinion!)
Each log is rolled up in plastic wrap and placed in the freezer for 30 to 45 minutes.  After freezing they will be easier to slice.  At this point they can be left in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
When ready to use, remove from freezer, thaw slightly, and slice in 1/2″ thick slices.  After thawing, bake  the pinwheels.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

Each pastry sheet (made into 2 rolls) will make about 20-24 pinwheels.

Have a blessed rest of the week and happy cooking!
~ Catherine

Fresh Asparagus and Puff Pastry Pinwheels
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A delightful summer-fresh asparagus and puff pastry appetizer.
Author:
Serves: 24-30
Ingredients
  • 16 to 20 Asparagus Spears
  • ½ cup Sweet-hot mustard
  • 4 oz Cream Cheese
  • 1 Sheet Frozen Puff Pastry, thawed
  • 1 Egg, beaten
  • Poppy Seeds to taste
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
Instructions
  1. Trim the asparagus and steam or simmer in boiling water for 3 minutes or until just tender-crisp. Do not over-cook. Immerse in cold water, drain and chill in refrigerator.
  2. Combine the mustard, cream cheese, and Parmesan cheese in a small bowl and mix until smooth. Roll the puff pastry ⅛" thick on a lightly floured surface. Cut into halves lengthwise. Spread each pastry half with cream cheese mixture.
  3. Arrange 8 to 10 asparagus spears along the narrow edge of each pastry and roll the pastry tightly to enclose the asparagus.
  4. Brush the rolls with egg and sprinkle with poppy seeds (optional). Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze until firm enough to slice.
  5. When ready to bake cut in ½" slices and arrange the slices on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake at 440 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden brown.
  6. Enjoy!
Notes
Log rolls can be frozen for 30 to 45 minutes, sliced and baked.  Or the rolls can be stored in an airtight container and stored in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.  Thaw slightly, cut into ½" pieces and continue to thaw.  Once thawed bake immediately.

Weekend RoundUP April 21

Walk Through The Bible In One Year
Week 12 reading plan per day
Click on the colored link to read each day’s scripture.
Monday Judges 1-4, Tues Judges 5-7, Wed Judges 8-10,
Thursday Judges 11-14, Friday Judges 15-18,
Saturday Judges 19-21, Sunday Ruth

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams

So often I hear friends say “spring is my favorite time of the year.”  I think it is because when the season changes from winter and everything turns green we feel the rebirth deep in our soul.  Last week as my home internet was down it was such a blessing!  No internet sent me out doors — with my camera.  I’ve been excited all week to share some new birth spring pictures with you.  I am starting with some Hen and Chicks.  For years I have admired my mother-in-law’s containers of Hen and Chicks.  She always says, “they just grow!”  Well, I have tried many times and mine don’t “just grow”, until now.  Two years ago I took 4 or 5 little chicks and planted in an area that was rather rocky and unattractive.  That summer, when I would see a new little “chick” I would snip it off and replant.  Last summer I did the same.  This winter my little Hen and Chick garden really grew.  In the south they like the winter better than the hot summer. (But then, who doesn’t?)  This momma and her little chicks are just a small part of my Hen and Chicks garden now.  Aren’t they pretty?
As I am typing today I am sitting at the local library (lightening-fast internet). It is story hour for the little kids and they are singing, “If you are happy and you know it clap your hands.. If you’re happy and you know it stomp your feet…” Listening makes me smile 🙂  After all, it is spring!
While taking pictures of the old house down the road, the barnyard kids were very, very curious about what I was doing.

It’s spring fever.  That is what the name of it is.  And when you’ve got it, you want – oh, you don’t quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!  ~Mark Twain

My Christmas Cactus is 35 years old.  She has grown very large even though I have given away hundreds of slips during the years.  When winter comes we put her in my chief culinary consultant’s hideout, also known as his “shop.”  The middle of March my beautiful cactus was lovingly brought up to the house where she will spend the summer outside our door, on the carport.  Within a day or two after its arrival,  a little momma-to-be claimed this protected spot for her own nesting ground.
 

God loved the birds and invented trees.  Man loved the birds and invented cages.  ~Jacques Deval, Afin de vivre bel et bien

I didn’t have to look too far for these five little babies who are nearly pushing each other out of the nest.  I was a little distance from these babes, high on a 12′ ladder using my telephoto lens.  However, with each little, click, click, click of my camera their hungry mouths would open a bit further.  I apologized profusely that I didn’t even have a morsel for them.
As precious as these babies are, the highlight of my camera adventures this week came when a little colt was born just a few miles down the road.  In this picture the colt is less than 24 hours old.  I was in awe as I watched from a distance as momma took care of her new baby.  As it happens daddy was very close by as well.  If you are alarmed at momma’s skinny ribs, this little lady had been through a lot.  She had carried twins and I do believe they required every bit of nourishment from her.  One twin died during birth and the colt you see is the surviving sibling.  It is now a week later and when I saw them yesterday, both mom and baby are thriving!

There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the inside of a man.  ~Winston Churchill

Horse sense is the thing a horse has which keeps it from betting on people.  ~W.C. Fields
When it comes to horse and birdie quotes this one takes the cake!

One reason why birds and horses are happy is because they are not trying to impress other birds and horses.
~Dale Carnegie

Happy Spring!  Just in case you missed any recipe posts this week, here is a run down of cooking from my kitchen and a few from others!

Cheesy Hashbrown Potatoes


Parmesan Baked Asparagus Fries with Lemon-Garlic Aioli


Home made Raspberry Sauce


Tuesdays With Dorie: Lemon Loaf Cake and a special appearance by Jameson’s Lemon Cake!

Bookmarked:  Check this out!
Baking is my Zen: Floating Island

Many Blessings and Happy Cooking!

Thank you to everyone who is using my Amazon links to make your Amazon purchases! I appreciate it!

Baked Parmesan Asparagus “Fries” & Lemon Garlic Aioli

Walk Through The Bible In One Year
Week 12 reading plan per day
Click on the colored link to read each day’s scripture.
Monday Judges 1-4, Tues Judges 5-7, Wed Judges 8-10,
Thursday Judges 11-14, Friday Judges 15-18,Saturday Judges 19-21, Sunday Ruth
Enjoy The Read!

I have a long standing love-hate relationship with asparagus spears.  My chief culinary consultant loves them, I hate them.  Well, I used to hate them.  That was before we grew them in our garden.  Why in the world does it make a difference if I buy beautiful asparagus, all the same size, wrapped in a rubber band, from the grocery store or I walk outside and snap off a dozen or so, all different lengths?  The first time I roasted a few spears from our garden you would think I had just discovered nuclear fission (not to worry – I have no idea about nuclear fission, just heard it on a movie.)  Anyway, all of the sudden my taste buds stood at attention and I uttered, “wow, these are delicious.”  Beginning of love asparagus, end of hate asparagus.

So, when my son Cory sent me a link to www.simplyscratch.com with a note that says, “Mom, you have got to try these” I couldn’t get to the blog post fast enough.  Cory had already made them once and was looking forward to the second time.  I sent Laurie a quick email and asked about the recipe and permission to use it.  She graciously said, “have at it!”.  As you would except, I tweaked it with the addition of Garlic Southern Flavor because we just can’t get enough of this stuff.
Because the recipe requires a couple steps, you may think you don’t have time to make it.  But honestly, you can dip and coat one store bottom bunch of asparagus spears in about 10 minutes and then a few minutes roasting and it is ready to eat!.  Clean and clip the spears.  Roll in egg white that has been slightly beaten.

Put together your panko crumbs and favorite seasonings.  Roll eggy spear in crumbs.


On to the baking pan.
Voila’!   Baked and delicious.
The Aioli sauce can be made ahead of time or actually can be put together while the asparagus is baking.

All in all, delicious. I think a spear that is medium thick will bake up better than really thin ones.   Thank you Cory for keeping your eyes open for creative new recipes like this one and thank you Laurie for sharing.  Laurie’s food blog is www.simplyscratch.com . She posts some really fun recipes and fabulous pictures!

Have a blessed rest of the week and Happy Cooking!
Baked Parmesan Asparagus “Fries” with Lemon-Garlic Aioli
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
A new twist on an old vegetable! Asparagus spears are fabulous as fries and even better dipped in Aioli!
Author:
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 1 bunch Asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 2 Egg Whites, beaten slightly
  • ¾ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • ¼ cup All-purpose Flour
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated or shredded
  • Salt and Pepper To Taste
Aioli
  • 2 Egg Yolks
  • 1 Whole Egg
  • 1 teaspoon Brown Mustard
  • 2 teaspoon Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 cup Grapeseed Oil
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher Salt
  • ½ teaspoon Fresh Cracked Black Pepper
  • 2 clove Garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 2 tablespoon Additional Fresh Lemon Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Your favorite seasoning
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or brush lightly with oil
  2. Separate the egg yolks from the whites and gently whisk the whites. Place on large plate with a little lip or a pie plate. (Reserve yolks for the Aioli sauce.) In a medium bowl mix together Panko, flour, finely grated Parmesan, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir. Pour onto a plate large enough to individually roll the spears.
  3. Roll asparagus in egg whites, drain off any excess.
  4. Then roll in Panko mixture to coat.
  5. Place on prepared pan and repeat with remaining asparagus.
    Bake in preheated oven for 15 to 20 minutes turning the asparagus half way through. Continue to bake until the outside is lightly golden. Let cool a few minutes before serving. Do not overbake. They are best when the asparagus is tender-crisp.
  6. Enjoy!
  7. In a food processor add the egg yolks, whole egg, brown mustard and two teaspoons of lemon juice. Place the top on the processor and turn on high. Slowly stream in the grapeseed oil while the processor is running. This will take a few minutes, so don't rush it. The end result will be home made mayonnaise!
  8. To make this mayo an aioli, remove the top of the processor, add the remaining lemon juice, the chopped garlic and season with kosher salt and black pepper. Blend until smooth. For the best tasting mayo, store in an air-tight glass jar and refrigerate over night.
Notes
Additional seasoning is optional.