Blades of Grass Asparagus Salad

See my original recipe here

photo by Karl Kuchs

With the recent arrival of the farmers market in my neighborhood, I know many will be taking home green stalks of asparagus to roast away in the oven, as we all seem to do every spring. However, why not update the classic dish?

Shaving asparagus changes the texture to thin whispers of freshness that look beautiful in the bowl. To shave them, simply hold each asparagus by its woody end and use a vegetable peeler to shave strands away from your body. The textures will vary, but shoot for thicker stalks in this recipe since they give the opportunity for more salad. As for the fennel in this recipe, you can use a vegetable peeler as well—though you’d want to shave towards your body instead—or simply slice thinly with a knife or mandoline. This salad is a great light lunch or one can serve it under scallops or chicken breast for a pretty spring dinner.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons of walnuts
  • 1/2 bundle of asparagus
  • 1/4 of a bulb of fennel
  • 2 tablespoons of mixed minced herbs (chives, parsley
  • and mint are a nice combination)
  • 1 teaspoon fennel fronds
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground pepper

Preparation

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Place walnuts on a baking sheet and let them toast while you prepare the other ingredients.

Shave the asparagus stalks and add to a bowl. Thinly slice or shave the fennel and add to the same bowl.

In a small cup or bowl, add the herbs and fennel fronds. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil, whisking with a fork until the mixture is well combined. Season the dressing with salt and pepper.

Remove the walnuts from the oven after 6–8 minutes, or when warm and slightly toasted.

Add the walnuts to the salad and toss in the dressing with tongs. Serves 1–2 people.

How to you like to cook your asparagus?

I’m Just Here For The Dip

Find my original article here

You may be a diehard football fan and could care less what you eat along with your beer during the game. But I guarantee there is someone in the room who might be thinking, “I’m just here for the dip.” In honor of your food-focused friend—and perhaps your hungry self as well— here are three options to serve during the big game.

For the healthy friend:

Crispy Kale Chips

Definitely consider doubling this recipe—the crunchy texture (surprisingly different from regular sautéed kale) is addicting in all its salty glory.

Ingredients

  • 1 bunch of kale, any variety
  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Tear the kale leaves off of their stems. Put away stems for another use. Toss kale leaves with the olive oil on a baking sheet and season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook for 10–12 minutes, watching closely to make sure the chips don’t burn. Pile high on a plate, and serve.

For the spicy companion:

Smoky Salsa

While store-bought, watered-down pico de gallo may be the standard at football parties, this salsa is much more flavorful and almost as easy as picking some up at the store.

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 can of low sodium tomatoes, drained
  • 2 chipotles and 3 tablespoons of adobo sauce from the can
  • 1 cup of cilantro, roughly chopped

Method

Peel and cut the onion into four pieces. Drop the onion chunks into a food processor, and pulse until chopped (alternatively, you could just chop the onion by hand before proceeding to the next step)—about a minute.

Peel the garlic cloves, and add them to the bowl of the food processor and pulse for 30 seconds, or until finely minced.

Add the rest of the ingredients and process until the mixture is slightly chunky—about three to five minutes. Serve with tortilla chips.

For the traditionalist:

Homemade Ranch Dip

Since the real thing is so simple to prepare (and almost free, if you have a well-stocked pantry), there’s no reason to serve this dip from the bottle.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup of sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons of dill
  • 1 tablespoon of onion powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon of garlic powder
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Method

Mix all ingredients in a bowl, tasting seasonings to your liking. Serve with veggies or chips.


For Your New Years Party: Salami Crisps


New years is a week away, and here’s a recipe that’ll be nice to your wallet and your guests. Can be prepared early up to step 4.
(Taken from Giada De Laurentiis, a chef whose recipes I steal often)

Ingredients:
24 slices of dry salami (half a packet)
Sour Cream (full fat, it sticks better)
Sliced basil
Tin foil

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line two baking sheets with tin foil and add salami.
2)Place salami in oven for 7-10 minutes. Watch carefully to insure the sides don’t burn.
3) While salami is in oven, julienne your basil so you have nice, even strips. You’ll need about a small handful of basil.
4) Drain salami on paper-towel lined plates and let cool for 5-10 minutes.
5)When cool, put salami on serving trays and add a small dollop of sour cream and half a slice of basil.
6) Enjoy your party!