One of the many benefits Spring boasts has to include asparagus. The fresh green flavor and slightly crunchy snap of it in your mouth is something you think about now and then during the darker months of Autumn & Winter. While doing a little more reading I discovered a couple things I didn’t know about the vegetable as well. One being the health benefits it holds, from cancer fighting to blood pressure reduction. Secondly, according to Vegetable Literacy, it’s a member of the Lilly family.
On a vegetarian note, dinner last night was a beautiful pairing of two recipes I found while reading. “Creamy Asparagus-Potato Soup” from a stack of Eating Well magazines that my friend Kelly gave me at the office one afternoon. The other, “Roasted Beet & Cucumber Salad with Ricotta Salata,” aquired from the great piece “Protective Measures,” by Jami Attenberg found in this great collection of essays titled Alone in the Kitchen With an Eggplant by Jenni Ferrari-Adler.
Served with a little homemade garlic hummus and dinner rolls it was a great heart healthy vegetarian meal for two.
- 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium shallot, chopped
- 5 to 6 cloves of garlic crushed then diced
- 3 cups no sodium chicken stock (just use low sodium stock if you don’t have home made)
- 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 6 to 7 small red skin potatoes, peeled and quartered
- 1 tbsp. red pepper
- ground black pepper
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.
- Add shallot and cook, stirring, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add broth, asparagus, potato, garlic and spices; bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 15 minutes.
- Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. (Use caution when pureeing hot liquids.)
- Serve the soup topped with the croûtons and scallions (or chives), if desired. (I served mine with a little dollop of light sour cream).
- 1 bunch of previously roasted beets, peeled halved and cut into 1 inch slices
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Red wine vinegar
- Freshly ground pepper
- 1 cucumber peeled, halved and cut into 1 inch pieces
- 1 bunch of fresh radishes sliced thin
- 1 red onion halved and sliced long ways
- 1 handful of chopped fresh dill
- 1 handful of chopped fresh mint
- Goat cheese (the original calls for Ricotta Salata but this sounded creamy and had less sodium)
- Mix everything (less the goat cheese) in a bowl and refrigerate for at least a half hour.
- To serve, plate and top with crumbled fresh creamy goat cheese.