Monday, January 5, 2009

MPM--Happy New Year!

Ah, and finally, the holiday clock wound down and it was time to relax with my family and get the house back together. I hope your holidays were however you like them best! I tried posting this last night and it blew up my computer so it's an abbreviated version this week but good recipes to come soon!

Monday: Leftover pizza and cheesesteaks from Saturday's fun; salad

Tuesday: Taco night

Wednesday: Leftovers from Sunday night (beef, mashed potatoes, amazing recipe from my new cookbook, shown below; this is all gone but I'll either make more or substitute broccoli)

Thursday: Spaghetti and meatballs and sausage

Friday: Leftovers or Greek Chicken Burgers (if it's successful I'll post the recipe)

Some of these are under review as the dog tore her ACL equivalent and needs surgery tomorrow, but this is the bones of the week.

Meanwhile, my husband gave me The Splendid Table's How to Eat Supper for Christmas; half an hour into the kids' naps, I had a shopping list going. I love the book for the suggestions (results of their broth taste tests, etc.) and the recipes too. This is the first thing I've made. It's really delicious without the sauce but the sauce totally put it over the top. This will be unbelievably amazing in spring but goes well even in winter--and I can make it in my toaster oven, which scores it bonus points in my book. The other winner new recipes of the week were the feta salsa from Smitten Kitchen, and the bleu cheese spread from Half-Assed Kitchen. (For some reason, the blog won't let me connect to the actual recipe; it's on 12-26-08.) Note on the blue cheese: definitely allow time for the flavors to blend on this one!

Spring Grill of Asparagus and Scallion Salad
serves 4-6 (though please note, we served this to four on Sunday and there was nothing left but a little bit of olive oil in the bottom of the dish)
10 minutes prep time, 8 minutes oven time (took longer for me in the toaster oven)

We rarely think of scallions as vegetables, yet they are as flexible as carrots. There's an Asian oneness about pairing these two like-shaped vegetables of spring.
In this salad the long stalks are fast-roasted, then finished under the broiler for a touch of char. That char sets off the cool cream of the balsamic vinegar and shallot dressing.


1 medium shallot, minced
1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 tablespoon red or white wine vinegar or cider vinegar
Salt and fresh-ground black pepper
2 tsp coarse dark mustard
5 tablespoons heavy whipping cream


1 bunch pencil-slim asparagus (1 pound) trimmed of tough ends
3 bunches scallions (20 or so), trimmed of roots and of 1 inch of their green tops
1 to 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Coarse salt and fresh-ground black pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or scallion tops

1) To make the dressing, in a medium bowl, blend the shallot and vinegars with salt and pepper to taste. Mix in the mustard and heavy cream. Taste for seasoning, and set aside.

2) Set an oven rack about 5 inches from the broiler. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Cover a large baking sheet with foil. Spread the asparagus and scallions over the sheet, leaving enough room so they do not touch. (Note: mine touched and it all still went well.) Sprinkle them with the olive oil and a little salt and pepper. Roll the vegetables gently to coat them with the seasonings.
3) Roast for 6 to 8 minutes, or until the asparagus is barely tender when pierced with a knife ( you should hear them sizzling). Turn on the broiler and broil for about 2 minutes. The scallions should have some browned leaves and the asparagus should pick up color. If some of the pieces are browning faster, feel free to pull them out and set them aside to wait for the other pieces to finish.
4) Pile the vegetables on a platter, and zigzag the dressing over them. Sprinkle with the chives, and serve.

Really--this was bliss. I can only imagine how amazing this will be when all are fresh. It doubles/triples easily, and scallions are so cheap, if you can get a deal on the asparagus, you have an unbelievably awesome and elegant side dish. I can't wait to try another recipe from here. Highly, highly, highly recommended, and super readable as well, with the taste tests and suggestions for good supermarket brands, etc.

Have a good week!

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