Victoria Day = Planting herbs and flowers, & Lobster roll!!!

IMG_0622In my neck of the woods, Victoria Day is when everyone plants their gardens, in my case that would be my planters. Although I would love to have a small patch of vegetables, the market being less than 10 blocks away makes it super easy to get my seasonal fruits and veggies with as little effort as walking. So out of the shed came the terrace furniture, into the planters flowers, herbs and a first this year some leafy greens. I can’t wait to pick out some lettuce straight from my little garden into my sandwich 🙂 I LOVE summer! And to celebrate the sun coming out and making it a perfect day, lobster roll! How happy am I?! I absolutely love lobster. I think its seasonal rarity keeps that flame alive, I truly get excited when they appear at the market! And the lilac have just come in bloom, and the lily of the valley… This is a very special time of the year, when colours, smells and senses just spring to life. Welcome spring!!!

IMG_0604Recipe

For the lobster roll

1 1/4 lbs cooked lobster

1 small shallot, minced

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

A few sheets of shredded lettuce

2 tablespoons minced chives

Salt & pepper to taste

1 sandwich roll, buttered and toasted in cast iron pan

IMG_0611IMG_0613For the potato salad

1 cup new potatoes, boiled whole until tender but still firm, quartered

3 sprigs of fresh dill, minced

1 tablespoon greek yogurt

1 teaspoon mayonnaise

1 green shallot, minced

Salt & pepper to taste

For the asparagus salad

5 asparagus spears, shaved with a vegetable peeler

1 tablespoon thinly sliced red onion

1/4 pickling liquid (water, sugar, vinegar, salt)

Instructions

Pickle asparagus and onion in the liquid while preparing the lobster and potato salad, set aside. Place all the ingredients for the potato salad in a mixing bowl and blend well, set aside. Using kitchen shears, cut up lobster, removing knuckle, tail and claw meat, try keeping the claws in their shape. Cut tail into 1/4 inch slices. Reserve.  Reserve shells and head in fridge to make stock, or freeze if not making the stock the next day. Place knuckle meat in a mixing bowl with all ingredients except roll and lettuce and mix to combine.

Place shredded lettuce on roll and top with knuckle mixture, top with reserved tail slices and decorate with claws. Plate with potato salad and drained asparagus.

Enjoy! Serves 1.

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Pizza night! A rustic aspargaus pizza

So excited it’s friday night! And nothing says friday night like pizza 🙂

You may say making pizza is labour intensive, but really it isn’t, even if you make your dough! But since it’s Friday, well, just buy one ready-made 🙂  I make mine with my sourdough starter, it really makes a beautiful thin crispy crust. This is a great pizza to make with whatever seasonal veggie you have on hand, the only limits is your imagination! Seeing as we’re in asparagus season and I had a nice Goat’s cheese… You guessed it! Asparagus and goat cheese work very well together, you could also add some mushrooms, I have, with great success. So here’s to weekends and unwinding 🙂

Recipe

1/3 pizza dough, rolled out

1 small bunch asparagus, thinly sliced using a vegetable peeler

5-6 slices of goat cheese

1 shallot, thinly sliced

Olive oil

Salt & pepper

Truffle oil

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Instructions

Preheat oven to 475°. Spread dough onto a baking stone or cast iron pan sprinkled with cornmeal. Brush dough with olive oil and place cheese, shallots then olive oil brushed asparagus. Season with salt and pepper and place in oven, cook until browned, roughly 20-30 minutes. Let cool before serving, lightly sprinkle with truffle oil. Makes 1 serving. Enjoy!

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Easy weekday meals, A beautiful asparagus tart

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Like everyone else out there, even though I love to cook and eat well, weekdays can be a challenge. By the time I’m getting supper ready, it’s 7 or later. So needless to say, I don’t really want to spend 3 hours cooking up a meal. It needs to be quick, nutritious and especially, delicious! Omelets, quiches, one pot dishes that you can leave to simmer on the stove top, all great alternatives! And seeing as my time is counted, I thought I’d concentrate the next few posts on quick and simple meal ideas. As you guessed, first up, the tart or quiche. Great recipe to add what you’ve got on hand, a bit of ham or a bit of bacon, potatoes, leeks, that last bit of cheese…. You get the idea! Roll out some dough, whip up those eggs with a bit of cream, add your bits and bobs, stick it the oven! And I know what you’re going to say, the dough itself is too much. Well, make a batch, stick it in the fridge or freezer, take it out when you need it, job done!

Recipe

Dough

1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour

5 tablespoons butter

3-4 tablespoons cold water

Dash of salt

Filling

5 eggs

1 cup grated cheese, for this recipe I used Emmenthal

1 small bunch asparagus

1/4 cup cream

Salt & pepper to tasteIMG_0513

Instructions

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut butter into salted flour. When butter is in small nuggets, form well in center and add water. Blend with wooden spoon, being careful not to overblend. Add water if necessary. When dough forms a rough shaggy dough, blend using hands, once again being careful not to overblend. You want the dough to have patches of butter, this is what makes the dough flaky. Form into a flattened ball, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk eggs with cream and seasonings. Add grated cheese and mix well.

Roll out dough into a rectangle (or oval or round depending on dish) and place in dish, add egg filling, then place asparagus. Cook in oven for 30-45 minutes or until browned and cooked through. Makes 4 servings, that keep refrigerate for up to 4 days, or frozen up to 2 months. Enjoy!

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Celebrating spring cont’d & Truffle oil Mushroom pansooti with asparagus

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My spring fling with asparagus continues! I will eat them until I’ve had my fill, which may take a while, seeing they are emperor of my veggie world! As I was perusing over all the beautiful products at a local italian market, I saw some truffle-mushroom stuffed pasta that had my mouth-watering. This is the kind of pasta I love, simple yet sophisticated, each element sings in harmony. Truffle is another ingredient I can easily get infatuated with, its aroma filling every breathing cavity of your mouth!!! Paired with champagne or a beautifully soft rosé and you’re set to celebrate spring!

Ingredients

1/2 pasta dough recipe, see recipe fresh pasta

5-6 diced mushrooms of your choice

1 shallot, 1/2 diced, 1/2 sliced thinly

1 tablespoon butter

Olive oil

Salt & pepper to taste

5-6 asparagus, sliced diagonally in 1″ pieces

Parmesan to taste, grated or shaved

Truffle infused olive oil

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Instructions

Sauté diced shallot in butter, add mushrooms and continue until mushrooms have let out their water and are fragrant. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside to cool.

Roll out dough as thinly as possible (6-7 on pasta dial). Cut sides and then into squares. Brush edges with egg wash and place 1 tablespoon of mushroom preparation in center of square. Carefully fold over to make a triangle and press down on edges. Bring salted water to a boil in medium saucepan. Add pansooti and cook until the pansooti float (3-5 minutes). Drain.IMG_0438IMG_0441

Meanwhile, sauté shallots with olive oil until glassy then add asparagus, continue to sauté until asparagus are bright green, then add drained pansooti. Sauté on medium heat to combine, add a few drops of truffle oil to taste and plate. Top with shaved parmesan. Serves 1.

Enjoy!

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Celebrating spring, birthdays & Asperges au Gratin

Easter weekend was my birthday and I treated myself to a long overdue trip to New Orleans. What a beautiful city and what beautiful & friendly locals! The food was fantastic, I almost got my fill of seafood, almost. Crab, oysters, drumfish, shrimp, crawfish and one that I can quite decide wether I’m happy about or not, turtle. I’m hoping that this is not one of the endangered turtles…  I ate fried chicken, well no that’s not fish, but it certainly is southern food (!), and gumbo and poboys and beignets with café au lait and eggs & grits and biscuits so fluffy and buttery… Did I say the food was fantastic?! At Pêche seafood and gril, I had a variety of entrées, one of which was an absolutely spectacular smoked drumfish salad. The glass of rosé I just so happened to be drinking turned out to be a drool worthy pairing. I will certainly be trying to recreate that salad, I’m still fantasising over it!

And back home, it’s that time of year, thank God! Asparagus season 🙂  I love, love, love asparagus, so needless to say I’ll be eating them everyday and in all sorts of different ways in the coming weeks. I had a hankering for Endives au gratin and the thought crossed my mind, why not replace the endives with asparagus? And you know what? It totally works! This is a perfect light supper.

Now my mind is going crazy with asparagus inspirations!

Ingredients:

2 bunch asparagus

200 gr. ham, I used an organic cruelty free variety from my butchers

100 gr. emmental or swiss cheese, preferably local

1 cup 10% organic cream

1 tablespoon organic butter

1 tablespoon spelt flour

1/4 small onion with 1 clove

1 clove garlic, crushed

Freshly ground nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350°. To make the béchamel: Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat, add flour and mix well. Whisk in cream slowly and when well combine add half of grated cheese,  grate nutmeg and season with salt and pepper then add onion and garlic and simmer over low heat for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile cut asparagus tips and reserve the tips for stock. Wrap asparagus with ham and place in a gratin dish. Cover with the béchamel and top with remaining grated cheese. Place in oven and cook for 15-20 minutes. If needed, broil for a few minutes to caramelize. Let cool slightly before serving. Makes 2 portions. Enjoy!

 

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