Wow…4 months since my last post! I’ll catch you up on the reasons for that, but first I have a couple recipes for you! Both of these dishes are the result of an over-the-top buying spree at last weeks neighborhood farmers market. It was my first outing of the season and everything was calling my name! The perfect weather, the beautiful fruits and vegetables, plenty of cash, and a longing to get back into my kitchen resulted in two very large bags of goodies. I bought far more then we needed for one week. With a few things approaching the end of their usefulness, I got busy to ensure none of it would go to waste! The results were a fantastic Strawberry-Rhubarb pie and an over the top “spring on a plate” pea salad.
The salad is a result of a Google search based on the unused veggies I had bought…shelling peas, pea pods, and ramps. I had asparagus on hand, as I always have asparagus on hand until it disappears from the market or becomes ridiculously expensive. I found this recipe on the Serious Eats website. I made just a couple alterations, and it was fantastic. I felt like it was something that would be a first course in a fancy French restaurant… ooh la la!
For the Vinaigrette:
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons juice from 1 or 2 lemons
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley leaves
1 small shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard (my addition)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Whisk the ingredients together and set aside. I always make my dressing in a measuring cup to make it easy to pour.
For the Salad
1 cup fresh shelled English peas
2 cups fresh sugar snap peas, strings removed, ends trimmed, cut into 1/2-inch pieces on the bias
1 pound asparagus, stalks trimmed, tips removed, tips and stalks reserved separately
2 to 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
8 to 12 whole ramps, ends trimmed and cleaned
1 large very fresh egg, per serving
2 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
Place a pot of water on the stove. Salt heavily. Bring to a slow simmer. Blanch the shelled peas, then the snap peas and then the asparagus tips, about 1 minute, until bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon. Dip in an ice water bath. Place each vegetable in a small bowl and pop in the fridge.
Blanch the asparagus stalks until tender and place in a blender cup with a couple tablespoons of the blanching water and 2 Tablespoons of olive oil. Puree until smooth. Set aside.
Meanwhile, prepare the ramps. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy sauté pan. Saute the ramps until tender. Place on a paper towel line plate. Set aside.
When ready to assemble the salads, bring the pot of water back to a slow simmer. Add 3 tablespoons white vinegar.
Combine the peas and asparagus in a bowl. Add the dressing and toss gently.
Make your poached eggs, one per serving. Place a couple tablespoons of the asparagus puree on each serving plate. Top with the pea and asparagus salad mixture. Place the poached egg on top. Season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately!
Ok, now for the pie! Strawberry – Rhubarb. Not typically my first choice, when I think of a pie I want to eat / make. I honestly have a problem with most fruit pies as they always turn out to be thin, watery, runny, too sweet, too sour, fall apart messes on a plate. I decided to try a different approach this time. I roasted the fruit first. This allowed me to taste the fruit and adjust the sweetness, as well as remove some of the extra juice, prior to filling the pie shell. I will be using this technique for all future fruit pies.
For the Strawberry – Rhubarb Pie
Prepare pie crust for 2 crust pie – make your favorite or check mine out here.
4-5 cups fresh, ripe, strawberries – green part removed – sliced in half if they are large
4-5 cups fresh rhubarb, chopped into small, bite size pieces
3/4 cup of sugar
Place the fruit on a sheet pan, sprinkle with the sugar and roast at 375′ for about 20 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. Let rest about 10 minutes. Adjust the sweetness to taste. Add:
4 Tablespoons of flour
2 Tablespoons of quick cook tapioca
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
finely grated zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon – about 2 tablespoons
Mix all ingredients together in the roasting pan. Spoon into piecrust with a slotted spoon.
Place the top crust on the pie. Pinch the edges and cut steam vents. Place on a sheet pan. Place a foil collar around the edges of the pan. Bake at 425′ for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375′, remove the foil, and bake 30 more minutes. Let pie cool at least 2 hours before serving. You definitely want to serve this with vanilla ice-cream! Enjoy!
Ok – on to the updates…In my last post, I mentioned I retired. What that has meant for me is working harder then I ever have, without a pay check every other Friday. LOL!!! I have been away from home, more then I have been at home, these past few months. Thankfully, it’s not that much different for Dave, then when I was working full time! He’s always been spectacular at fending for himself and holding down the fort.
The work began when my Mom bought a new house. She no longer needed stairs, 3000 square feet and a quarter acre yard! She bought the new house last fall, but we really didn’t get busy moving her to her new place until April. Mom updated 80% of her new place, which took a lot of time, decisions and work. Dave and I helped out by repairing decks and fences, and assembling cabinets and other things. Her new home has turned out to be a wonderful place for her.
Her move left us with the BIG job. Emptying and selling her old house. We spent the past few months sorting, packing, selling, donating, dumping, laughing, crying, screaming, and yelling our way through about 25 years of stuff! For those of you that have been through this, you know what I’m talking about! For those of you that have not…my advice would be to START NOW! I am so thankful I was able to go through family things WITH my Mom. I know what all the stuff is, who the people in the pictures are and what mattered to she and my Dad. I am still selling things on Ebay and I have a lot of pictures to scan, but the hard work is behind us. I am happy to say that her house sold in 8 days. She has a few things planned for fall, and none of those plans include yard sales or moving! For those of you that don’t know, my Mom is 88 years old! She is absolutely amazing. We worked side by side, hours on end, with her frequently ordering me to “sit down and rest”. We should all be so healthy and spunky!
With Mom’s big project behind me, I can start to sort out what retirement really does mean for me. You can see from the above, I am really happy to be able to wrap my head around cooking and photography again. Dave and I are taking our own advice of “starting now” on sorting, selling things and downsizing. Bit by bit, we are getting rid of the unnecessary things we’ve accumulated…just because we could! It’s amazing to me how quickly stuff accumulates, and how little of it we really “need”.
It’s been great catching up. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy the food and have a wonderful evening.