Archive for May, 2011

Asparagus Soup

I learned this simple, fresh asparagus soup several years ago from a chef in North Carolina. The bottom of the stems are boiled in water with a little onion to make the broth. In a separate pan, oil and butter simmer with fresh thyme. Then throw in sliced shallots and let simmer for a minute. Add cut asparagus (leave tops on the cutting board) and a few pieces of cooked potato. Stir and let asparagus cook for several minutes.

Add a little white wine and then broth. Once asparagus are fully cooked, puree the soup with an immersion blender. Finally, stir in cream, tips of the asparagus and season with salt and pepper to taste. Simple and delicious!

Thanks Mast Farm Inn chefs!


FMIOTW: Black beans

An overnight soak of dried beans from the farmers market and 30 minutes in the pressure cooker make black beans a versatile side for any meal.

Beans, beans, they're good for your heart...

FMIOTW: TIE! between spinach and green garlic

Green garlic and brown butter are a match made in heaven. Together, they can be put on anything from eggs to fish to sandwiches, etc. And spinach from Nichol’s farm stand is hot damn good and is equally versatile.

Green and fresh.

Garden season is officially open!

Heirloom tomatoes from Seed Savers Exchange!

Basil, Oregano, Thyme and Rosemary!

Bacalhau stew

Continuing on my Portuguese themed dishes, I made a bacalhau stew this evening. A chef that’s been highlighted by Slow Food Chicago, Viktorija Todorovska, was kind enough to alert me to the realization that Whole Foods carries salted cod in the freezer section. Several years ago I tried salt cod in Brasil and I’ve been searching for it in grocery stores ever since. Unlike fresh cod, it has a heartier texture that holds up in stews and a rich flavor. I decided on a tomato based cod dish since I had some sauce tomat leftover from my French sauces excursions. (of which I still have 4 to try)

In an oiled glass pie dish, I layered pieces of green bell pepper, slices of already cooked potato, slices of onion into a spiral until the bottom was covered. Then I seasoned with salt, pepper, olive oil and lemon juice. I added fresh parsley, capers and olives and then poured the sauce tomat over the top. (1 C. of sauce) I added some lemon juice to the tomato sauce before pouring to freshen it up and then grated some lemon zest over the top.

It cooked at 350F for 40-45minutes and came out smelling like a mediterranean fantasy; lemon, olives, tomato, cod, parsley. One pound of cod make for two pie dishes of food. I will savor every bite and make it again soon.

Add some crusty bread to soak up the sauce!

Caldo verde, kind of.

With a bunch of kale from the grocery store and a fresh batch of chicken stock, I decided to make Caldo Verde. It’s a classic Portuguese soup which literally means “green soup”. It’s made with pork sausage traditionally but I decided to use bacon for fat and flavor and the chicken from the roast earlier this week instead. The soup has pureed potatoes which adds a thicker texture to the otherwise clear broth. I threw some of the bacon pieces from the initial fat rendering on top of the soup for garnish. I think I’ll stick to pork sausage next time as it could use a little more grease.

Jamie's version of Caldo Verde

Whole Foods bulk section: wheat berries

I grabbed a new type of grain at whole foods yesterday, wheat berries. They are the entire wheat kernel and once cooked in boiling salt water for 40 minutes, have a nutty flavor and chewy texture. This is a great summer salad base.

Chewy goodness.

A farmers market breakfast

I love making brunch after the farmers market. With fresh ingredients, all you need is simple cooking and perfect seasoning.

Farmers market items: potatoes, fresh thyme, zucchini, strawberries

FMIOTW: Shiitake mushrooms

These are meaty mushrooms that can soak up a lot of flavor. I marinated the mushrooms in ginger, garlic, soy sauce and rice wine vinegar. Then I roasted them in the oven with sesame seeds on top. The flavor was good but…could have been better. Still trying to find the best preparation for these fungi.

a visual...

First farmers market visit of 2011!

So happy to reunite with my local market friends this morning at Melrose/Broadway. I’m not in love with the largest produce vendor at this local market, but it still gave me some cooking inspiration to start the season. I made a simple asparagus, radish, mango salad with balsamic vinegar. I quickly sauteed the skinny asparagus in olive oil and fresh thyme. I toasted a fresh croissant and nibbled on a few slices of organic munster cheese.

If you’re trying to figure out when buying organic matters, I would say produce and dairy. For eggs and meat, I care more about what the animals are fed and if they’re injected with steroid and such.

Local Melrose/Broadway farmers market

Asparagus, radish and mango salad