It was one of those perfect-weather weekends in Brooklyn. Even though yesterday included a devastating playoff loss for the Nets, nothing was going to bring me down. We were so inspired by the weather that we grilled for the first time. You can roast this asparagus in the oven if a grill is not nearby. This recipe makes more than enough dressing for 1 bunch of asparagus, and I figure it would taste great on any green salad throughout the week.
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
- 2 T soy sauce
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 T honey or brown sugar
- 2 T peeled and minced ginger (I’m a big fan of the ready-to-go minced ginger in glass jars)
- 1 t sesame oil
- sesame seeds, for garnish (optional) (Really, everything is optional…let’s be honest here)
- 1 bunch asparagus, woody stems removed
- Heat a grill to high heat.
- Place the first 7 ingredients (through the sesame oil) in a food processor (a mini one works) and blend until smooth. Add water to thin out if necessary. Set aside.
- Lightly coat asparagus with cooking spray or a touch of olive oil, and put in a grill basket. Heat on a grill for 2-4 minutes, shaking the basket once or twice, until spears are slightly tender and starting to brown. Remove from grill.
- Place asparagus in a large bowl, and coat with a few tablespoons of the dressing. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, if using, and serve.
I love roasted butternut squash soup. This one stands out because of the other flavors involved: apples, hint of chili, rosemary, coriander, and of course cream. It’s also fairly easy because pretty much everything just roasts together for the same amount of time.
I altered this recipe from NPR, (which originally was a Jamie Oliver recipe) just a little bit. They suggested putting the pumpkin seeds in the oven alongside the vegetables for 10-15 minutes, but that resulted in black, smelly pumpkin seeds. Instead, I just toasted them on a skillet for a few minutes, stirring a few times to make sure they got evenly browned.
- 1 butternut squash, about 2 pounds, peeled, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 firm, sweet apples, such as Braeburn, Pink Lady or Jazz, peeled, cored and quartered–I used Honeycrisp from the Grand Army Plaza farmer’s market
- 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
- 1 fresh hot red chili, seeded and finely chopped
- 4 cloves of garlic, unpeeled and crushed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds
- 2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil plus 1 teaspoon olive oil, separated
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds (the shelled kernels, sometimes called pepitas)
- 3 1/4 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 2/3 cup light cream–I used a combination of half and half and heavy cream, and you can probably get away with less cream if you want to keep it light.
- Pumpkin seed oil, for garnish(I did not use this)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Spread the squash, apples, onion, chili and garlic on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with the salt, pepper, coriander and rosemary. Drizzle with 1/4 cup olive oil and toss until well coated. Roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until all the vegetables are cooked through and golden.
- Heat a skillet to medium-low, and toast pumpkin seeds, tossing occasionally, until evenly browned–about 5-10 minutes.
- Remove the vegetables from the oven. When they are cool enough to handle, squeeze the garlic from the peel. If you have an immersion blender, scrape the vegetables into a large pot. Deglaze the baking sheet with 1/4 cup boiling water, scraping at the burned-on bits to capture them. Add the water to the pot. Add the stock to the pot and puree, using the immersion blender.
- If you are using a countertop blender, deglaze the pan as above and pour into the blender. Add roughly 1/3 of the vegetables from the baking sheet and puree. Transfer puree to a large pot. Continue this process with the rest of the vegetables, using the stock.
- Once the vegetables are pureed in the pot, add the cream and bring to a simmer over medium-low heat. Simmer until the soup is warmed through and reaches your preferred consistency.
- To serve, divide into bowls. Drizzle with pumpkin seed oil (or not). Top with toasted pumpkin seeds.
Here is a fresh salsa recipe starring ingredients from my rooftop garden! I used Better Bush tomatoes (Bonnie) which are good for containers. The jalapeños that we’ve been growing are varying in their heat factor. My husband has the job of tasting the spiciest part of the jalapeño: I cut off a small slice closest to the stem and keep the seeds in it. That’s the part he tastes. Then, he rates them on a scale of 1-10; 10 being a very spicy jalapeño, 1 being no spice. This happens before I add the pepper to recipes so I can decide how much to add. This one was a 4. I still have not figured out why some are hotter than others, but I’m glad to have a spice tester nearby.
Right now, there are a bunch of green tomatoes and baby jalapeños on the plants, so there is definitely going to be more experiments with salsa in a few weeks! Do you have a favorite salsa recipe? Maybe you like to add peaches, corn, or black beans to yours? Please send it along!
- 2 tomatoes, chopped
- 1 jalapeño pepper (remove seeds if you want less heat), minced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons onion, minced (red or white)
- 2 tablespoons cilantro, minced
- juice of 1/2 lime
Combine all ingredients. Refrigerate for a few hours before serving.