Asparagus Salad with Manchego and Almonds

As I continue going through some Cooking Light recipes, the next one I tried was an awesome asparagus salad.  The proper title — Shaved Asparagus Salad with Manchego and Almonds.  What was unique about this is that the asparagus is raw.  I can count on less than one hand the amount of times I’ve eaten un-cooked asparagus.  Game on!  When I made this, I did not add the egg because of everything else I was making for dinner, I didn’t need that extra bit of protein/food.

Asparagus1Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sherry vinegar (I used tarragon vinegar because I didn’t want to buy a fresh bottle of sherry vinegar just for this and that’s what I had on hand)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons walnut oil (again, didn’t want to buy something new, so used some sesame oil)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic (of course I used more than that!)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound large asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 ounce Manchego cheese, shaved (about 1/4 cup)

Directions

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.
  2. Using a sharp peeler, thinly peel asparagus to equal 3 cups asparagus ribbons. Add asparagus and parsley to bowl; toss gently to coat.  *They make this sound SO easy.  Not so much.  With a carrot, yet, but with a smaller asparagus spear/stalk, not so much.  After awhile on each one, I’d stop and just throw a larger piece in the  bowl.
  3. *THIS IS THE PART I DIDN’T DO*  Combine 8 cups water and white vinegar in a large skillet; bring to a simmer. Break each egg into a custard cup, and pour each gently into pan. Cook 3 minutes or until desired degree of doneness. Remove eggs from pan using a slotted spoon.
  4. Place about 2/3 cup asparagus mixture on each of 4 plates. Sprinkle each serving with 1 1/2 teaspoons almonds; top each serving with 1 egg. Sprinkle evenly with Manchego cheese.  *I don’t get this fancy.  I tossed everything in a bowl.

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It was DELICIOUS!  Crisp, fresh and some nice tang with all the flavors.  Highly recommend it!  I can’t decide if next time I’m going to try cutting the asparagus with a mandolin or V-slicer or cutting them in half and using the food processor with the proper blade.  I just need to hope the hit the blade horizontally to slice properly.  Though, I guess even if not, they’ll taste the same!

From Om to Omission

I’ve had some great beers the past couple weeks.  After the Om feeling, I happened to try some Omission Beer while at the weekly golf league at Red Gate.  My friend is gluten intolerant and while we normally enjoy sipping some great wine together, that doesn’t happen on the golf course, during or directly after.  So, I tried some of her Omission Pale Ale and had she not handed it to me, I would never had known it was gluten free.  It was a bit darker tasting than I expected for a Pale Ale, but still darn good!  I found out later (by reading the back label and checking out the site) it’s produced by/at Widmer in OR and Redhook in NH.  I enjoyed one after the round because come to find out she and I tied (as a team) for first place that night in the league.  Cheers to that!

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Arugula, Green Beans and Oranges…oh my!

Quick, easy, and tasty…that’s what I want, not only during the summer, but a lot of the time.  Cooking Light had a bunch of great, quick & simple recipes in one of their recent issues and I have been trying several of them.  They are good!  One that I made recently had my favorite lettuce — ARUGULA!  Then, green beans and oranges.  I also threw some grapefruit in there.  The official name of the recipe is Green Bean, Arugula, and Clementine Toss.

Salad2Ingredients

  • 2 (8-ounce) packages ready-to-cook fresh haricot verts (aka green beans)
  • 3 cups arugula
  • 2 clementines (I couldn’t find them loose — vs buying a whole box, which is why I used a ‘regular’ orange and then a grapefruit)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • (I added pepper, too)

Directions

Steam haricot verts in the microwave according to package directions; halve beans crosswise. Or, steam them on the stove.  I also forgot to cut them afterwards.

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Cool 5 minutes; toss with arugula, clementine segments, olive oil, vinegar, and salt.

Salad1So good and perfect for summer weather!  And, gluten and dairy free.

 

Namaste

Are we in yoga class?  Oh no, much better.  We were at Dog Fish Head Brewery.  After a great time at Go Ape — a zip line and tree top adventure course outside of DC — one must refuel!  Of course you go to Dog Fish Head and there are so many choices.  They are great and give you samples, if needed.  I ended up going with Namaste…beer heaven.  Perfect way to refresh after several hours outside.  It was light, crisp and had perfect citrus notes.

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Om.

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Bring me my wine!

Over the past couple weeks, I have tasted some amazing new wines that I’m finally writing about.  They were great and I just want somebody to bring me more!  Or, I suppose I could just go to the store and buy some.

#1 Duetorri Pinot Noir. Italy.  Nice and fruity — cherries!  Mild tannins, light.  Affordable, too — about $10-$12/bottle.

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#2 Sarah’s Vineyard Pinot Noir.  Central Coast, CA.  Just amazing, amazing tastes.  That’s all that needs to be said.  About $30/bottle.

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#3 Antiche Tradizione Lambrusco Rosso IGP Sparkling Red.  Italy.  Love finding sparkling reds.  Just a good bubbly to have, could also pair it with a salad with grilled meat.  Can’t find the actual site with the info on it or more price info, but it was $10/glass.

 

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#4  Franciscan Estate Merlot.  Napa Valley, CA.  This DID NOT take like a Merlot in the least.  I don’t particularly enjoy Merlot and I would never have said that’s what this is.  I would have claimed it as a Pinot.  Dang!  This one is about $25/bottle.

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Have a great weekend of wine and please share any new ones you find and love!

Crawfish Boil

Today I was able to take advantage of a (fairly) local event and have a non-local treat of crawfish!  Breaux Vineyards in Purcellville, VA had their 17th Annual Cajun Festival and Crawfish Boil on this perfect day.  You get to the check-in and they give you a wine glass and beads.  New Orleans?

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You had several vendors to pick from from for great food.  Everything from gumbo to beans and rice to of course what the event calls for.

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I took no time to dig in and enjoy.  Paired the crawfish with some nice red wine and enjoyed the beautiful day.

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Refreshing Cucumber Salad

Summer is finally here (temperature-wise) which means quick, refreshing salads are what the menu calls for.  Found a great one in a recent edition of Cooking Light that was super simple and delicious!

It was Cucumber, (Black) Olive and Mint Salad.  I put Black in parentheses because the recipe calls for Greek olives which are a totally different taste from black olives!

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups thinly sliced English cucumber (I just used a regular cuke)
  • 1/4 cup chopped pitted kalamata olives
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

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The prep is real tough.  Slice the cuke.

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Then combine cucumber, olives, mint, lemon juice, olive oil, and pepper.

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It tasted even better after it sat for a bit.  It was served with pork tenderloin and quinoa.  Would also be very nice for brunch paired with smoked salmon/lox.

African Meat Tastings

When on my trip to South Africa, I was able to try several meats I had never had the opportunity to sample before.  I wanted to take every opportunity I could to go local with what they had.  I was about 50/50 on them.

First was a Kudu loin.  It was served grilled with a cranberry & carrot sauce, spicy parsnip shavings, roasted garlic polenta, and these DELICIOUS, addictive sesame brinjal batons. I didn’t actually know what brinjal was until writing this post and looking it up.  It’s eggplant, just the name they use for it in South Africa, South Asia and Southeast Asia (you learn something new everyday).  The meat was very, very chewy.  Glad I tried it, not my favorite.

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Next one I tried was a Springbok Carpaccio.  It was a bit ‘tasteless’ — but still nice to have a wild game carpaccio!

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Third new meat I tried was Ostrich.  Super healthy/lean.  According to the American Ostrich Association (there is an association for everything…), “ostrich is similar in taste, texture and appearance to beef. It’s comparable to beef in iron and protein content, but ostrich has less than half the fat of chicken and two-thirds less fat than beef and pork. Ostrich beats the competition with fewer calories, too. That’s why ostrich is the choice of health-conscious consumers who refuse to sacrifice flavor.” It’s tough to determine if this falls under poultry, game or other, but it is classified as red meat.  What I do know is that I loved it!  So lean, tasty and I wish we could easily get it here!  I did research when I got home and the couple places in the DC-area who used to carry it can’t get it anymore because at last count it was $60/lb.  Ouch!

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The last one I tried that was unique was Warthog.  OMG!  AMAZING!  Get me a warthog farm here in the States.  I can’t begin to describe how flavorful this stuff was.  Unreal.

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Another great part of the trip — some unique food to South Africa, some of which we can’t get here in the States.  Just another reason to go back.