Sunday, May 22, 2011

Inspired: A Party

Children and baskets of food were brought to a gathering of friends.  Inspired by the arrival of asparagus, many dishes highlighted this lovely spring vegetable. 
A small sampling of  our meal.
I am thankful to have been invited (and my camera too) as I am fast approaching my one year anniversary of leaving behind the role of family bread winner and embracing my new path.  Leaving behind wealth, in the modern sense, and arriving at the original definition of wealth: well being.  Well being for me and my family, and the land and animals entrusted in my care.  I still have one foot in the world of paychecks (just a few days a week) and the other one solidly planted in the keeping of my family and our health.  Listening and learning from a group of friends, while nourishing ourselves (and little ones) on asparagus, was a great way to spend an afternoon.

Here are the recipes and links from our feast:

Angel Hair Pasta with Asparagus and Mushrooms

Asparagus and Cheese Tart

Carolynn's Quinoa Salad
1 cup dry quinoa
2 cups water
1 red pepper cut up
3-4 asparagus spears cut up
2-3 lemons
olive oil
1 clove garlic
salt & pepper to taste
crumbled goat cheese
handful "flat" parsley

Rinse quinoa well, drain. Put in pan with 2 cups water. Bring to boil, put lid on & reduce to simmer for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed (tip side to side to check & see if any water remains). Remove from heat & leave lid on 10 minutes more, before fluffing.  After fluffing, leave lid off so it can begin to cool.

Make vinaigrette.

About the time quinoa is finished cooking (but still resting in pan with lid on), sautee asparagus (you could easily double the amount I used in this recipe) in olive oil, with salt, pepper & juice of an entire lemon, until asparagus is bright green & tender.

Dump asparagus & any "juice" in a bowl (or straight into the quinoa if you've "fluffed"). Saute red pepper with less lemon juice, but otherwise in the same way  (you could probably do them together, I just didn't think to add the red pepper until later). When finished, add this to the quinoa as well. Chop up a handful of fresh parsley & toss it in, then add vinaigrette (and cheese if you wish -- I wasn't sure how the cheese would fare all mixed in & refrigerated so I added it afterward).  Stir it up well, then refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour to let flavors meld together nicely & make sure it was well chilled.

To make vinaigrette, whisk together:
juice from 1 lemon
3-4 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, well diced
salt & pepper

Jody's Shortbread
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a 9 x 13 pan and set aside.
3 cups flour (packed down in the cup)
3/4 c powdered sugar (not sifted)
1.5 cups salted butter softened
1 can (21 oz) strawberry pie filling
Mix flour and powdered sugar together and then cut in softened butter until mixture resembles bread crumbs or course corn meal (you can do this in a food processor).
Spread half the mixture into your pan and bake for 12-15 minutes.
Remove pan from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes (don't turn off the oven).
Spread the pie filling over the crust then sprinkle the remaining flour/sugar/butter mixture over the top. Gently press down with a spatula.
Return to the oven for 30-35 minutes.
Cool and then refrigerate before you cut into bars.

I am excited to try Jody's recipe with our Rhurbarb freezer jam--the last one in our freezer!

Hollandaise Sauce:  (Leah)
Note: You can make the Hollandaise sauce up to a couple days ahead -- just store in fridge.
Lemons (2)
Butter or ghee, grass-fed (1 1/2 cups)
Eggs, pastured or free-range organic, room temperature (6 yolks)
Sea salt
Food processor, blender or whisk
1. Juice lemons, yielding about 1/4 cup of lemon juice.
2. Melt butter or ghee in a saucepan. Remove from heat. If using ghee, use as is. If using butter, strain off and discard the white milk solids. Set aside.
3. In food processor or blender (or use a wire whisk and a mixing bowl,) blend 6 egg yolks. If the yolks are cold, run it for a few minutes.
4. Blend in the lemon juice.
5. While whisking or blending, gradually add the melted butter or ghee in a very slow stream. Do not go to fast or you will “break” the sauce. Blend continually as you slowly add the butter. You should end up with a thick sauce with the consistency of mayonnaise. If you have trouble using a blender or food processor, use a whisk and do it by hand -- it always works when you do it by hand; it just takes longer.
6. Add sea salt to taste.


  1. I love making food that people enjoy. With three picky kids, I don't get much recognition around here. ;) The party was great!!

  2. I agree with Leah! It's nice to make food for people who enjoy it! We'll definitely have to do this again! :)

  3. It was a wonderful afternoon spent with friends! I love cooking together and sharing new food adventures!