Asparagus and Poached Egg with Warm Pancetta Dressing

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Poached eggs over asparagus with a warm pancetta dressing – it’s what’s for dinner. This is my take on the frisée salad, well, ok it’s my version based on what I had on hand.

4 oz pancetta, diced
1 shallot, minced
2 TBSP sherry vinegar
1 TBSP whole-grain mustard
1 tsp thyme, chopped
2 TBSP vinegar
4 eggs
Lettuce of your choice
1 lb asparagus
1 small red onion, thinly sliced

In a small pan cook the pancetta until crispy, remove and reserve the drippings in the pan.

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove from water. Add 2 TBSP reg vinegar to the pan, return to boil, then reduce to simmer and poach eggs.

Reheat pancetta dripping, add shallot, sherry vinegar,mustard and thyme – add a little olive oil if it is too dry, stir to combine.

Toss salad greens with dressing. Top with asparagus and eggs.

Serves 2 – 4.

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Coconut Tres Leches Cake

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I love chow.com!! What geniuses to combine the two things I love most – tres Leches and coconut! This cake is amazing! Super moist and sinful!

Ingredients:
Butter, for coating the baking dish
1 c all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
1 c sugar or coconut palm sugar
1 (14-oz) can sweetened condensed milk
2/3 c evaporated milk
1/2 c unsweetened canned coconut milk
1 TBSP dark rum
1 c sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1 TBSP powdered sugar

Heat the oven to 325°F and arrange a rack in the middle. Coat a 13-by-9-inch glass baking dish with butter; set aside.

Place the flour in a small bowl and whisk to aerate and break up any lumps; set aside.

Separate the eggs, placing the yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer. Reserve the whites in a separate, very clean, medium bowl. Add the sugar to the yolks and, using the paddle attachment, beat on high speed until pale yellow, about 5 minutes.

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl; set aside. Thoroughly clean and dry the stand mixer bowl. Place the egg whites in the clean bowl and, using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed until medium peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, stir about a third of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten it. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Sprinkle the flour over the egg mixture and gently fold it in, just until there are no more white flour streaks. (Do not overmix.)

Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish and bake until the cake is puffed and golden and the edges pull away from the sides of the pan, about 20 to 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the three milks and the rum in a large bowl and whisk until combined; set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire cooling rack. Using a toothpick or wooden skewer, poke holes all over the cake and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Pour the milk mixture evenly over the cake and continue cooling, about 45 minutes more.

Tightly cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 4 hours or overnight.

When the cake is ready to serve, spread the coconut in an even layer in a large frying pan. Toast over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 5 minutes. (If the coconut begins to burn, reduce the heat.) Immediately remove from the pan to a small bowl.

Place the heavy cream and powdered sugar in large bowl and whisk until medium peaks form. (If you like, flavor it with a teaspoon of dark rum.)

Slice the cake and serve topped with a mound of whipped cream and a sprinkle of toasted coconut.

Lamb with Herb and Mustard Crust

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This recipe is adapted from Epicurious.com. It’s easy, and lets face it nothing beats rack of lamb.

1 c fine fresh bread crumbs
3 TBSP parsley, minced
1 TBSP mint, minced
2 tsp rosemary, minced
salt and pepper
1 TBSP olive oil
1 frenched racks of lamb, brought to room temperature
2 TBSP Dijon mustard

Combine bread crumbs, parsley, mint, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a food processor, drizzle oil and pulse until combined well.

Put oven rack in middle position and preheat to 400°F.

Spread fatty sides of each rack with mustard and pat bread crumbs over mustard coating, gently pressing to adhere.

Roast lamb until thermometer inserted diagonally 2 inches into center (do not touch bone) registers 130°F (for medium-rare), 20 to 25 minutes, and transfer to a cutting board. Let stand 10 minutes, then cut into chops.

Serves 2.

NYT Quinoa and Asparagus Salad

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This recipe is adapted from a recipe I found in the NYT. The perfect picnic food or great for lunch. Don’t dress until you are ready to eat.

Ingredients:
1 c quinoa
1 1/2 c water
Salt to taste
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed
1/4 c toasted pine nuts
3 TBSP finely chopped chives
1 TBSP finely chopped tarragon
1/4 c ounce ricotta salata crumbled

For the dressing:
2 TBSP freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, puréed
Salt to taste
1 TBSP olive oil
5 TBSP buttermilk
Freshly ground pepper

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse several times with cold water. Place in a medium saucepan with 1 1/2 cups water and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer 15 minutes, until the grains display a threadlike spiral and the water is absorbed. Remove from the heat, remove the lid and place a dish towel over the pan, then return the lid to the pan and let sit for 10 minutes or longer undisturbed. Transfer to a salad bowl and fluff with forks.

Steam the asparagus for 3 to 4 minutes, until just tender. Rinse with cold water, pat dry and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces. Add to the quinoa, along with the radishes, pine nuts, chives and tarragon.

Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, salt, olive oil, buttermilk and pepper. Shortly before serving, toss with the quinoa and asparagus mixture. Sprinkle the feta over the top and serve. If desired, drizzle a teaspoon of the lemon-scented olive oil over each serving.

Serves 4 – 6.

Apricot Crisp

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It’s Thursday night and I have a basket of apricots that need something done with them – what better thing to do than make a quick crisp! Added a little cardamom to keep it interesting.

Ingredients:
1 lb apricots, quartered
1 c oats
1/2 coconut palm sugar – or brown sugar
1/3 c flour
1/3 c coconut oil, melted
1/3 c toasted nuts, I used almonds
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom

Preheat oven to 350.

Place apricots in a glass pan.

Combine rest of ingredient in a bowl, combine, spread over apricots.

Bake 30 – 40 minutes until bubbly and brown on top.

Serves 8.

Pasta Carbonara with Asparagus

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This is my version of the famous pasta dish! I added asparagus and used lots of cheese to make this is a very indulgent dish.

Ingredients:
Fine sea salt
7 oz thick-sliced guanciale, flat pancetta or bacon
3 large egg yolks
1 c freshly grated pecorino cheese
3/4 c freshly grated Grana Padano
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb asparagus, thinly sliced
1 lb spaghetti

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, cut guanciale into ¼-inch batons.

In a medium bowl, whisk together egg yolks, grated cheeses, 1/3 cup water, and generous pinch salt and pepper.

In a 12 inch skillet, combine guanciale and asparagus cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, until browned, about 15 minutes.

About halfway through pancetta cooking time, cook pasta in the boiling water until al dente (ideally pancetta and pasta will be ready at about the same time). Reserving ¼ cup of the pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to guanciale and asparagus; toss to combine. Immediately add egg mixture and 2 tablespoons pasta cooking liquid; quickly stir to combine. Moisten with additional pasta cooking liquid, if desired. Serve immediately, passing cheese and pepper at the table.

Serves 4 – 6.

Farro Asparagus and Walnut Salad

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This salad is amazing! Ir makes a food size batch, so I served it on a bed or arugula. This would be great for a picnic or a weeknight along with chicken or steak.

Ingredients
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
olive oil, for drizzling
salt and pepper
3/4 c farro
1/2 c chopped red onion
1 c chopped arugula
1 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c freshly grated pecorino cheese

Vinaigrette
1/4 c fresh orange juice
1 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP red wine vinegar
3 TBSP olive oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Arrange the asparagus on a baking sheet. Spray with oil and season with salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Roast for 8 to 10 minutes until the crisp-tender.

In a small saucepan, bring 2 cups of water and the farro to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook the farro about 25 to 30 minutes until tender. Drain the farro.

Meanwhile, make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, add the orange juice, lemon juice, red wine vinegar, and olive oil. Whisk together until combined. Season with salt and pepper.

In a large serving bowl, add the farro, asparagus, red onion, walnuts, and pecorino. Pour 1/4 of the vinaigrette over the salad. Gently toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve on a bed of arugula tosses with the dressing.

Serves 4 – 6.

Mango Margarita

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Since getting my Vitamix I’ve gone a little blender crazy, yup I’m trying to get every penny out of this purchase. This week it was mango margaritas – booze and serving a fruit? I’m in!

Ingredients:
2 c ice
1/4 lime juice lime wedge
8 oz silver tequila
10 oz frozen mango
2 ozs orange liqueur

In a blender, pure the ingredients and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and serve.

Zucchini and Ginger Soup

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This is from my favorite cookbook author, Patricia Wells. its simple and can be enjoyed hot or cold.

ingredients:
2 TBSP olive oil
6 green onions, sliced thin
1 TBSP ginger, minced
2 lb zucchini, cut into small pieces
1 quart chicken stock

In a large stock pot, heat oil over medium heat, add onions and sweat for 5 minutes, be sure not to brown. Add ginger and cook 1 minute. Add stock and zuks, bring to a boil, then simmer 10 minutes. Cool slightly and purée in a blender.

Top with a dollop of creme Fraiche and fresh chives.

Serves 4.