Friday, March 16, 2012

creamy asparagus soup

I LOVE soup and this is one of my favorites!! It is wonderful by it self  or will compliment any meal. It is creamy, fresh and warms the soul... Enjoy!!

1/4 cup salted sweet cream butter
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 stalks celery, finely chopped
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
4 cups water
1 cup good chicken broth
4 tablespoons chicken bouillon powder
1 yellow potato, peeled and diced small
1 pound fresh pencil asparagus, trimmed and coarsely chopped
3/4 cup real cream
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground white pepper

Melt butter in a heavy cooking pot. Add onions and chopped celery; saute until tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in flour, mixing well. Cook for about 1 minute, stirring constantly. Watch it carefully as it will burn and go lumpy. Add water, chicken broth, and chicken soup base; stir until smooth. Bring to a boil. Add diced potatoes and chopped asparagus. Reduce heat, and simmer for about 20 minutes. Puree soup in a food processor or blender in batches. Return to pot. Stir in cream, soy sauce, and black and white pepper. Bring soup just to boil. Adjust seasonings to taste. Serve hot. ENJOY!!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

spring asparagus season!!

Why Eat Asparagus???

It is high in vitamins B6 and C, plus fiber, folate and glutathione, an anti-carcinogen and antioxidant, asparagus is an excellent nutritional choice. It comes in three colors: white, green or purple, although the green variety is the most common. Long considered a luxury vegetable, often with a luxury price tag, fresh American-grown asparagus appears in stores in late February. But asparagus is at its best—and is usually cheapest—in April and May. And sure, while there’s frozen and canned asparagus, which can be enjoyed year round, nothing beats the delicate flavor of fresh asparagus.

Choosing and Storing Asparagus...

Asparagus spears can be thick or thin. Some people prefer one kind over another but size is not necessarily an indicator of quality. Thicker spears may have tougher, woodier ends, but these are broken off before cooking anyway. The key is to select straight, firm, uniformly sized spears with closed tips. Since asparagus deteriorates rapidly, it’s important to select bundles that are refrigerated or on ice. For the same reason, asparagus should be used within two or three days of purchase, preferably sooner. If you do need to keep it for a day or two, the best way is to place the spears upright in a bowl (or even a small vase) of cold water. Alternatively, you can wrap the ends of the spears in a damp paper towel and refrigerate them.

What to Do With Asparagus...

To prepare asparagus, you will need to rinse the spears and break off the tough ends. After that, how you cook asparagus is up to you.
Soem people enjoy their asparagus with nothing more than a drizzle of good-quality olive oil, but you can enjoy asparagus in many different dishes: in soups, salads, stir-fries, risottos, scrambled eggs, pasta, and many more dishes.

Asparagus and Scallops

This scallops with asparagus recipe is a very simple and elegant dish. It’s only has a few ingredients, and it’s fast and easy to prepare. Scallops and asparagus are a terrific combination and the white wine butter sauce really brings them together.

1 lb medium asparagus, trimmed, cut in 1-inch pieces, tips left whole
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb large sea scallops, trimmed if necessary
salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 teaspoons white wine vinegar
2 tbsp cold salted sweet cream butter, cut into cubes

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a heavy nonstick skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté asparagus, stirring occasionally, until just tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon to a plate, reserving skillet off heat (do not clean). Pat scallops dry and sprinkle with pepper and salt. Add 1 tablespoon oil to skillet and heat over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then sauté the scallops, turning over once, until browned and just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes total. Transfer scallops to another plate and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Add wine and vinegar to skillet (mixture may spatter) and boil, scraping up any browned bits, until liquid is reduced by half, about 1 minute. Add any accumulated scallop juices on plate and bring to a simmer. Turn off heat and whisk in butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Plate scallops and asparagus, spoon sauce over and serve immediately. Enjoy!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

butter bell

I thought I would share a great addition to my kitchen... BUTTER BELL!! I don't know how I ever lived without it before *lol* it keeps my butter fresh and always spreadable, I LOVE it!!  It holds one stick (1/2 cup) of butter and it fresh and spreadable for weeks without refrigeration!!  I got mine locally at Spoons and Spice but you can order them on-line at The Butter Bell Store!! They come in soooooo many different colors and styles that you are sure to find one for your decor.

How It Works...
I hope you will love it as much as I do!!

italian cheese stuffed shells

Pasta shells stuffed with creamy Italian cheeses and  then baked is one of my boys FAVORITE dishes. It also makes a great pot-luck dish or a wonderful dish to take to a friend.  You will love it!!

8 ounces large pasta shells, uncooked
8 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded
8 ounces marscarpone
15 ounces ricotta cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
32 ounces favorite pasta sauce

Cook shells for 9 minutes; drain. Cool in single layer on wax paper to prevent shells from sticking together. Cover bottom of 9x13 baking dish with 1/4 cup of sauce. Combine cheeses, parsley, salt and pepper for filling; spoon into shells and arrange in single layer in dish. Cover shells with remaining sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 F. for about 40 minutes. Remove foil; bake 15 minutes longer. 6 to 8 servings. Serve with parmesan garlic buttered bread!! Enjoy!!