Tag Archives: asparagus

Sirloin Tip Steak Bearnaise Butter

First day of summer means end of school for some, allergies for most, and BBQ season has officially begun. That doesn’t mean we haven’t fired up the grill several times already. When I plan on grilling out, I try to make sure that if it can be grilled it will be grilled.

IMG_4449

I usually complain how the asparagus in my garden is not producing, it is still not where I think it should be; more like where I want it to be. But I was pleasantly pleased with how many cuttings I was able to harvest. 

IMG_4433

I don’t usually make compound butters and I am not sure why I don’t; they taste delicious and they are very easy to make.

IMG_4434

This is a great weeknight dinner if you need it to be or a date night meal with a nice glass of wine. 

2 large sprigs fresh tarragon
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs minced shallot
1 Tbs dry white wine
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs water
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ lb. beef flap meat – aka sirloin tip – cut so they are uniform sized pieces
1 bunch of asparagus – trimmed
T Tbs olive oil

IMG_4435

IMG_4439

IMG_4440

Bearnaise Butter

Strip the tarragon leaves from the stems, finely chop the leaves; about 2 tsp. And set aside.

In a skillet over medium-low heat melt 1 Tbs butter along with the shallots and the tarragon stems. Cook for a couple of minutes till the shallots are translucent. Add the wine, vinegar and 1 Tbs of water. Increase the heat to medium, and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, remove and discard the stems and let cool complete.

Once cooled add the last 3 Tbs butter, the chopped tarragon, ¼ tsp kosher salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

IMG_4443

IMG_4441

Steak and Asparagus
Heat your grill to high about 400’F – 475’F

Using a sheet pan place some plastic wrap down; use one end for the beef and the other for the asparagus. Coat both with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

IMG_4444

Grill the meat turning every 2 minutes. Around 6-8 minutes, you are looking for medium rare 140’F for best flavors.

IMG_4445

Remove plastic wrap place beef on sheet pan cover loosely with foil, while it is resting, cook asparagus turning once till slightly charred 2-3 minutes.

IMG_4446

Thinly slice the meat against the grain, arrange on plates or a platter with the asparagus, top both with dollops of the butter.

IMG_4447

Mangia Mangia!!!

 

 

Sirloin Tip Steak, Asparagus & Bearnaise Butter

I can only assume everyone’s summer has been super busy and flying by as well. We have had something going on 9 out of the last 10 weekends. Between showers, weddings and golfing we managed to also be lucky enough to spend 2 weekends in Montreal and a also a couple of weekends up North. Last weekend was to be spent boating on Winnipesaukee but the weather didn’t cooperate so we will try again sometime later in the summer.

IMG_4449

With all this time being away I really haven’t been cooking like I usually do; and to my surprise I have totally missed it. I mean I love cooking and baking but sometimes I have no ambition to try something new or anything too taxing.

IMG_4433

This weekend our plans fell through last minute so Friday night I started looking through my catalogs and magazines and started making a grocery shopping list so I could make some of the things I came across. Saturday morning I kept looking and writing till my list was now two sided UGH! I haven’t done a true grocery shopping in a long time just picking up stuff for lunches and light dinners during the week.

IMG_4434

So far since last night around 6PM I have made 2 new recipes and I currently have some cookies in the oven and am also getting ready to make some basil pesto. Guess I am making up for lost time in my kitchen.

2 large sprigs fresh tarragon
4 Tbs unsalted butter, softened
2 Tbs minced shallot
1 Tbs dry white wine
1 Tbs white wine vinegar
1 Tbs water
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ lb. beef flap meat – aka sirloin tip – cut so they are uniform sized pieces
1 bunch of asparagus – trimmed
T Tbs olive oil

IMG_4435

IMG_4439

IMG_4440

Bearnaise Butter

Strip the tarragon leaves from the stems, finely chop the leaves; about 2 tsp. And set aside.

In a skillet over medium-low heat melt 1 Tbs butter along with the shallots and the tarragon stems. Cook for a couple of minutes till the shallots are translucent. Add the wine, vinegar and 1 Tbs of water. Increase the heat to medium, and cook until the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl, remove and discard the stems and let cool complete.

Once cooled add the last 3 Tbs butter, the chopped tarragon, ¼ tsp kosher salt, and ⅛ tsp pepper. Mix with a fork until well combined. Set aside until ready to use.

IMG_4443

IMG_4441

Steak and Asparagus

Heat your grill to high about 400’F – 475’F

Using a sheet pan place some plastic wrap down; use one end for the beef and the other for the asparagus. Coat both with olive oil and season generously with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper.

IMG_4444

Grill the meat turning every 2 minutes. Around 6-8 minutes, you are looking for medium rare 140’F for best flavors.

IMG_4445

Remove plastic wrap place beef on sheet pan cover loosely with foil, while it is resting, cook asparagus turning once till slightly charred 2-3 minutes.

IMG_4446

Thinly slice the meat against the grain, arrange on plates or a platter with the asparagus, top both with dollops of the butter.

IMG_4447

Easy Pasta Salad – Montreal Farmers Market

A couple of weekends ago my husband and I met up with friends of ours in Montreal for a nice long weekend. It had been many years since we have been to Canada and now that we went; I’m not sure why it has been so long, what a great city. Always something going on; so I was told; they have the most festivals. Well I couldn’t remember what my buddy SF said exactly but I just google Montreal Festivals and it said “Montreal is a city of festivals” and since the internet can’t lie it must be true.

Cosmopolitan at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel

Cosmopolitan at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel with dirty ice – YUM!!!

Since our friends have been there many times; they live closer than we do. They booked where we stayed; SF wanted to stay somewhere that we could cook in one night if we wanted to. At first I thought why we would cook in, we are in city with numerous places to eat and explore and on a mini vacation. Well it all became VERY clear to me after visiting Atwater Farmers Market.

Sangria

Sangria

I have been fortunate enough to have been to some pretty amazing places over the years, I mean I absolutely love the Caribbean and Paris was incredibly amazing but I can count on one hand how many times I have had a true “Moment” just to be in awe of something around you. The Venus de Milo in the Louvre in Paris took my breath away and brought tears to my eyes. And I honestly never in a million years would have thought a Farmers Market could make me want to move and totally change the way I live my life. I totally understand how and why Europeans pick up dinner on the way home versus having a fridge and freezer fully stocked just to make dinner for the week.

Gorgeous berries

Gorgeous berries

IMG_0513

Vegetables displayed perfectly

IMG_0515

Amazing smelling artisan breads – the man behind me in line asked if I was from out of town LOL I guess not a lot of people take pictures of their bread

I also NOW understood why SF wanted a place where we could make dinner in if we wanted to. I totally wanted to cook in but sadly we didn’t, we just couldn’t pull it together in time to get back to the market before it closed; it would have been very forced and not as enjoyable for us to make it happen. I did google what I could bring back over the border though which as long as it is for personal consumption you can bring almost anything. We picked up some homemade pork sausages and kielbasa as well as some fresh pasta’s and a loaf of bread. For dinner I made up the gnocchi we bought along with some Cilantro Lime Sausages.

IMG_0514

The Herbs were incredible

The Herbs looked incredible

French Macaroons - they were not the famous Laduree's but damn tasty

French Macaroons – they were not the famous Laduree’s but damn tasty

Montreal - Potato Salad 014

gnocchi w/butter garlic and thyme

Montreal - Potato Salad 017

Dinner made at home with Atwater Farmers Market products

IMG_0472

Simple Delicious Pasta Salad

1 box of pasta such as campanelle, cavatappi or similar; cooked as directed – I use Tri-Colored Rotini

1 Can of small Black Olives drained

Container of cherry tomatoes – cleaned and sliced in half

Container of Feta Cheese

1 Carrot – grated

2 Red roasted peppers sliced olive oil, kosher salt, and fresh cracked black pepper – Roast for 20-25 minutes at 350’ – or use your favorite jarred variety

I like adding sliced salami or pepperoni – but this can be omitted

Ken’s Zesty Italian dressing

Toss pasta with some Ken’s extra zesty, while this marinates the pasta, gather all the other ingredients, add all together and toss, if needed add a bit more dressing.

Ham & Asparagus Soup

Who doesn’t need to use up some of the leftover ham from Easter?  I swear the weather this weekend also helped dictate what I ended up making.  It has been rainy, raw and just plain chilly, kind of like a fall day.  It also helps that one of my favorite soups is creamy ham and asparagus.  It is so satisfying, it is simple to make and warms you from the inside out.   I also make this when I have leftover asparagus; I guess pretty much any excuse works for me.

ham asparagus soup 315

I do know many people who are not soup people, I don’t get that at all, and I kind of feel bad for them? Maybe they have never had a good tasting soup?  Maybe when they were little soup was their meatloaf & peas (two of my childhood nightmares) I do like peas now but I still refuse to eat meatloaf.  I love meatballs but no loaf.  It’s a mental thing I know. That must be it!  On the other spectrum  I have had a few people come up to me at work while I was re-heating my yummy soup for lunch and really want to make homemade soups but have had terrible luck so have given up; which is really sad.  I have had a soup class and hope to again – I will help and or convert as many as will let me.

ham asparagus soup 307

ham asparagus soup 308

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Passing it on – My son was looking around the kitchen to see if we had any canned soups.  I convinced him that he could make a delicious tomato soup, fairly easily and would taste a million times better than anything he could get from a can.  I got out all the ingredients and while sitting at the island working; I guided him through the process.  He wanted to make the soup all on his own, that’s my boy!

ham asparagus soup 311

 

If you have some things to use up in the fridge and a little time I believe soup is a great way to feed yourself and your family.

Creamy Ham & Asparagus

1 ½ Cup fresh asparagus

2-3 carrot, julienned

2-3 tablespoons butter

2-3 small white or 1 large onion, diced

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

2-3 tablespoons butter (equal to your butter)

2 cups milk

2 cups chicken broth

1 cup fully cooked ham, cut into bite size pieces

Salt and Pepper to taste

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

Trim asparagus and place in a saucepan, cover with water and cook till just crisp-tender.  Drain and set aside

In a heavy saucepan, sauté carrots in butter for 3-5 minutes; add onions and garlic and sauté a couple of minutes longer or until tender.

Stir in flour; gradually add milk. Bring to a boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes, add broth, ham and reserved asparagus.

Reduce heat and simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with freshly grated parmesan cheese.

Slight variation – You can also add a couple of potatoes if you wanted a little heartier soup, you could also add your favorite herb to change it up a bit.  If you add raw potato, cut them up small and simmer long enough to cook them probably 20-30 minutes.  Increase the chicken stock for a lighter soup or a little more milk.  if you wanted a really creamy soup, substitue 1 cup of half and half for 1 of the cups of milk – BUT do not boil the soup once you add the half and half. You can let it simmer to heat through but do not let it boil.

Surf & Turf and Asparagus Risotto

My daughters last dinner at home before heading back to Japan was simple, delicious, expensive but worth every penny!  She wanted lobster since she cannot get a Maine lobster in Japan and since we are true New Englander’s that is the only kind of lobster we like. Trust me I have tried lobster in the Caribbean on several occasions from Cancun to Anegada and several places in between.  The only reason we keep trying it, is people rave about it at this location or this restaurant on this island etc.  So when we mention that we are from New England and we really only like Maine Lobsters they try very hard to build up what they experienced and that we just HAVE to try it.  So on a few occasions we bend and order it; YUP there is still nothing like cold water New England Maine lobster.

Cancun Surf & Turf 2013

Cancun Surf & Turf 2013

 

Anegada Lobster 2012

Anegada Lobster 2012

pain perdu 286

Steak is also something my daughter doesn’t really have a chance to enjoy being in so far from home.  So for this meal we bought our most favorite cut of meat Delmonico Ribeye.  Added a little Adobo, fresh cracked black pepper and a little kosher salt and that is all you need; oh and cook it to medium rare and then it just melts in your mouth.  My mouth is watering right now!

pain perdu 285

Lobster is very easy to make, generally one per person is fine.  Fill your largest pot with salted water cover and once it comes to a rolling boil add a lobster or two at the most, cover, set a timer for 12 minutes.  Remove from the pot and place on a platter or baking sheet with side, they are messy so if you have as a nice a husband as mine he will get all the meat out of the shells for you.  The mess stays on the tray and you can just toss; take the trash out of the house immediately or better yet make and eat this alfresco.

 

Risotto though time consuming is worth the extra effort.  I added asparagus to this one because we all love it except for my son but he doesn’t mind it as much in this form.

Risotto 

1 ½ Cup Arborio Rice

1 Quart Chicken Stock

½ Cup White Wine

1 medium shallot or small onion chopped finely

3 Tbs unsalted butter

1 Tbs Olive Oil

¼ Cup grated Parmesan Reggiano

1 Tbs chopped Parsley

Kosher Salt to taste

Bunch of Asparagus trimmed and cut into bite size pieces – boil in a little water just till tender but still crisp; remove to ice bath to stop the cooking process.

Heat the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan, then lower the heat so that the stock just stays hot.

In a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat the oil and 1 Tbsp of the butter over medium heat. When the butter has melted, add the chopped shallot or onion. Sauté for 2-3 minutes or until it is slightly translucent.

Add the rice and stir briskly with a wooden spoon so that the grains are coated with the oil and melted butter. Sauté for another minute or so; until there is a slightly nutty aroma. Don’t let the rice turn brown.

pain perdu 280 pain perdu 278 pain perdu 281 pain perdu 284

 

 

Add the wine and cooking while stirring, until the liquid is fully absorbed. Add a ladle of hot chicken stock to the rice and stir until the liquid is fully absorbed. When the rice appears almost dry, add another ladle of stock and repeat the process.

Note: It’s important to stir constantly, especially while the hot stock gets absorbed, to prevent scorching, and add the next ladle as soon as the rice is almost dry.

The rice will take on a creamy consistency as it begins to release its natural starches. Continue adding stock, a ladle at a time, for 20-30 minutes or until the grains are tender but still firm to the bite, without being crunchy. If you run out of stock and the risotto still isn’t done, you can finish the cooking using hot water. Just add the water as you did with the stock, a ladle at a time, stirring while it’s absorbed.

Stir in the remaining 2 Tbs butter, the parmesan cheese and the parsley, and season to taste with kosher salt.

Risotto turns glutinous if held for too long; you should serve it right away. A properly cooked risotto should form a soft, creamy mound on a dinner plate.

Not easy being green – why do veggies get such a bad rap

I am just as guilty as the next for steering clear of everything green growing up!  I was brought up in the era of having to sit at the table until my plate was cleared.  I see good and bad in this approach.  I still feel the need to finish my plate, which is bad for your waist line; good for making you try food that scares you.  I recall as a child placing peas along the underside rim of my plate in hopes that no one would notice.   The family dog wasn’t opposed to any veggie of any color; pretty sure because they don’t see color hmmmm.

I didn’t change my ways until my early 20’s and it has been ongoing challenge ever since.  I have been pretty successful over the years hiding things I dubbed yucky!  I can cut up an onion so small that it disappears in a soup love the flavor, didn’t like the texture – I don’t have to do this as much anymore.  Broccoli was hidden in stir fry or covered with cheese sauce.  Peas were usually covered with gravy mostly only in chicken pot pies.  Asparagus was always covered with hollandaise and just in the last 2 weeks I have been working on brussel sprouts.

class-blog photos 142

There is speculation that if you eat something 7-10 times you can train yourself to like it.  For the most part I do believe this.  I can now eat Peas, Asparagus and Broccoli without smothering them with anything.  Brussel sprouts are still a work in progress; I am only on try 4 but I haven’t given up hope yet.

Asparagus – we love (except my son) roasting or even grilling with just a little olive oil, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. We now have an asparagus patch in our garden
Peas – I only like frozen sweet peas – and they are a great tasting side as well as a punch of color – presentation, presentation, presentation.
Broccoli – great steamed or pan seared with some shallots, kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. We have been growing broccoli for many years with great success – We harvest and freeze when we can’t keep up before it flowers.
Brussel Sprouts – we are still eating them with a gravy or sauce of some sort – we are working on it – these look cool but they won’t be making it into my garden anytime soon.

Pasta

1lb tube pasta such as rigatoni, (whole wheat works too)
2 cups frozen peas
3/4 cup pesto
2 handfuls argula
8 oz goat cheese

boil pasta (in salted water) according to the packages directions, at the last minute add the peas, drain and return to the pot. Add pesto and stir to combine.  Add the arugula and toss. Cruble goat cheese on top and a grind of fresh crack black pepper.

*If you wanted to use this as a meal add some diced cooked chicken

IMG_0295 - Copy

Basil Pesto

6 ounces fresh basil, stems removed, washed and patted dry
4 ounces pine nuts
5-6 garlic cloves (or 7-8 like I do)
2 ounces of grated parmesan cheese
2/3 cup olive oil – more or less
kosher salt
fresh crack black pepper

Combine basil, pine nuts and garlic in a food processor or blender. Pulse until all combined and chopped. Add olive oil to desired consistency. Finish by pulsing in the parmesan cheese, season with salt and pepper to taste.