Thursday, May 21, 2015

Seasonal Foods/Asparagus

When asparagus come in season in our country my first inclination is to prepare my all time most favorite dish, Asparagus Soup. I really look forward to seeing fresh asparagus showing up in our super markets or vegetable stands and marked USA. This is the only time I buy them even though I can get them year round. I prefer fresh and seasonal, I enjoy the anticipation of them arriving in our local vegetable stands.

I have posted this recipe before on my blog but it is such a short season and when I can purchase them I feel compelled to share this recipe again and again. It can be served hot or cold and it is a delight to the senses.

Cream of Asparagus Soup

Adapted from Gourmet, March 2001 and found at Epicurious

Yield: Makes 4 servings

2 pounds green asparagus
1 large leek, white portion only, chopped
2 Thyme sprigs
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 to 6 cups chicken stock
1/2 heavy cream
1/4 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, or to taste

Cut tips from 12 asparagus 1 1/2 inches from top and halve tips lengthwise if thick. Reserve for garnish. Peel woody ends and cut stalks and all remaining asparagus into 1/2-inch pieces.

Cook leek in 2 tablespoons butter in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderately low heat, stirring, until softened. Add asparagus pieces, thyme sprigs and salt and pepper to taste, then cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add 5 cups broth and simmer, covered, until asparagus is very tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

When the soup is almost done simmering, place reserved asparagus tips in an Asian strainer, if available, and lower into simmering soup until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes, then drain. Chop asparagus tips or leave whole, as desired.

Remove thyme sprigs and purée soup in batches in a blender until smooth, transferring to a bowl (use caution when blending hot liquids), and return to pan. I used a stick blender and then strained the soup to remove any possible stringy bits. Stir in cream, then add more stock to thin soup, if necessary. Season with salt and pepper.

Add lemon juice and garnish with asparagus tips and a little freshly ground nutmeg.

It's always a good idea to prep all ingredients before hand.
I love using leeks with their more subtle taste in recipes requiring leeks. The fragrance wafting through the house is heavenly.
I enjoy soups year round even though we have some pretty hot temperatures but this soup can also be served cold as I mentioned. I actually prefer it hot and adding a drizzle of black truffle oil just puts it over the top. It would also be good with a sprinkle of Parmesan.
This is my favorite seasonal soup and I hope you will give it a try. I am sharing this post with Michael Lee's Foodie Friday. You can see other incredible recipes shared by clicking HERE.


Sunday, May 17, 2015

A New Twist on my Summer Mantle

During the summer months I have enjoyed using more blue and white in my decorating and of course my mantle is changed seasonally. Blue and white is a cooler color so adding more in the scheme of things seems appropriate.

This was last years summer mantle.
This year I found these pheasants that I absolutely fell in love with. I thought  they were gorgeous but after seeing them for the first time chose not to buy them. They were a little on the pricey side and I had to ask myself, "Do I really need these?" However, I found that I could not get them out of my head.  My car just steered itself to the local shop where I had seen them and they had been sold. Oh was I ever disappointed. However, I was told they could order them for me, YAH. I have lots of birds all over my home, porcelain ones, silver ones and other different mediums. You get the picture, I have this fondness for birds definitely. These are tin with a stressed antique look and I thought they were stunning and fit in my decorating beautifully.

I will be using these birds year round with different seasonal elements.
My summer mantle and I am loving these birds. Share with me what you think of my birds. I am sharing this post at a blogging party, Amaze Me Monday. Click HERE to view others participating. I'm also sharing my post with Karen at Something To Talk About, click HERE.
Have a great day!