Asparagus AGAIN!

Friday, April 30, 2010

So you may be growing weary of me posting about asparagus. I know, I'm sounding like a broken record (showing my age with that comment) but we love asparagus and with so much available, we are eating it a lot. I am showing some restraint though and I'm blanching and freezing some for later in the year. YUM!!

Beef & Asparagus Stir-Fry
(Printable Version)

1-1/2 lb sirloin steak, cut into thin strips
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/4 cup Hoisin sauce
2 Tbsp dry sherry
1 tsp chili oil
1/4 cup peanut oil
1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
3/4 lb slender asparagus, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1-inch pieces
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
Steamed rice for serving

Lightly season the beef with salt and black pepper. In a small bowl, stir together the Hoisin sauce, sherry, chili oil and 1/2 cup water. Set aside. In a wok or large fry pan over high heat, warm the peanut oil. Working in batches if needed to avoid crowding, add the beef and cook, turning once or twice, until lightly seared, 2 to 3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a plate. Add the onion and asparagus to the pan and cook until tender-crisp, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and red pepper flakes and stir-fry for 15 seconds. Return the meat and any juices from the plate to the pan, add the Hoisin mixture and stir well. Simmer briefly until heated through. Divide the rice among shallow bowls, top with beef and asparagus, and serve immediately. Serves 4.

Visit Michael's Foodie Friday for TONS of great recipes and food inpiration!

Skillet Suppers~Pan Roasted Chicken w/Pan Gravy

Monday, April 26, 2010

Another installment in my Skillet Suppers segment. My favorite supper is always built around a roasted chicken. You can pair just about anything on the side and have a feast of a meal. Cast iron skillets are perfect for dishes that you want to start browning on the stovetop and then transfer to the oven to finish. The best part of a roast chicken supper is the leftovers!

Pan-Roasted Chicken w/Pan Gravy

1 large clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp ground white pepper
1-1/2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 3-1/2-pound chicken, giblets removed
1 tsp peanut oil
2 tsp butter, softened, divided
2 tsp all-purpose flour
1-1/2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 Tbsp minced fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish

Preheat oven to 400°F. Mash garlic and salt into a paste in a small bowl, using the back of a spoon. Stir in pepper and thyme. With a sharp knife, remove any excess fat from chicken. Dry the inside with a paper towel. With your fingers, loosen the skin over the breasts and thighs to make pockets, being careful not to tear the skin. Rub the garlic mixture over the breast and thigh meat. Heat oil and 1 teaspoon butter in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning often, until nicely browned on all sides, about 10 minutes. Transfer the pan to the oven and roast the chicken until the internal temperature in the thickest part of the thigh reaches 165°F, 50 minutes to 1 hour. Transfer the chicken to a clean cutting board; tent with foil. Meanwhile, mash the remaining 1 teaspoon butter and flour in a small bowl until a paste forms. Place the pan (use caution, the handle will be hot) over medium-high heat. Add broth and bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape up any browned bits. Gradually whisk in the butter-flour paste a few bits at a time, until the gravy thickens, about 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes, allowing any fat to rise to the top. Skim off the fat with a spoon. Carve the chicken and serve with the gravy. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

Posting to Lisa's Tempt My Tummy Tuesday. Lots of wonderful recipes posted there.

More Asparagus!

I want to start by saying I am not a gardening expert. I LOVE to garden but you'll read very few posts on gardening at Faithfulness Farm. Mostly, because it is an area in which I feel I have much more to learn than teach. I had comments on my homegrown asparagus, and my thought was, *if you only knew HOW easy it is to grow*. That said, I thought I'd share some of my limited knowledge/experience and point to a great article that says it all.

If you don’t have asparagus in your garden yet, this month and next are the time to plant it. This is not a vegetable that can be grown in a container, so you will need to give it a dedicated space in your garden. Growing asparagus is quite easy, but does require a little patience. You can start with seeds, but most gardeners plant crowns (dormant roots) because you can harvest a year earlier.

To plant asparagus, dig a trench that is 12″ deep and 12″ wide. Set trenches 3-4′ apart. Set the crowns about 18″ apart and spread the roots out evenly. Asparagus is a heavy feeder, so backfill the trench with compost or well-rotted manure, then add more dirt. Water well and then keep the asparagus well-watered throughout that first summer, but don’t drown it either. Spread about 2″ of mulch over the area to suppress weeds. For some reason, asparagus doesn’t tolerate weeds, but a good layer of mulch should mostly keep them out. After that, it will be easy enough for you to pull out the odd weed that does appear.

That’s it. You’re done. Now all you have to do is wait. And wait and wait. And then wait some more. The plants need a few years to grow and spread. You can harvest a few spears after one year, about half the year after that, and then all of the asparagus every spring after that. The plants multiply like rabbits (but not in an invasive way) and an asparagus bed can last for years, possibly even decades. About a dozen crowns will feed one adult well during a season; two dozen crowns will net you enough for a family or to freeze some asparagus for later eating. The great thing about asparagus is that after your initial planting effort and then patience while the plants get settled, your reward will be years and years of fresh asparagus.

Want to know more about growing your own, here is an article from Mother Earth News from a few years ago, THE FINE ART OF GROWING (AND COOKING) ASPARAGUS.

Asparagus, Asparagus, Asparagus!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It is asparagus season!! I LOVE asparagus. I'm picking some everyday. That makes me very happy. I enjoy blanching it slightly and adding to salads, tossing it in stir-frys and my most favorite way to eat it is roasted with olive oil, salt & pepper. YUM!! I am also thrilled that about the time my fresh asparagus starts to show up, so does an abundance of fresh hen eggs. That means quiche!! I am sharing a quick quiche recipe (quick because it is crustless) that I especially enjoy. It is perfect for a lovely brunch or pair with a spring salad for a wonderful supper.

Asparagus Quiche
(Printable Version)

2 cups fresh asparagus, chopped
6 eggs, beaten
1 cup cream (or evaporated milk if you are wanting to reduce fats)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
2 cups grated Swiss cheese
2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375°F. In small bowl, combine chopped asparagus, eggs, cream, salt, pepper and cayenne. Spray shallow 2-quart casserole with nonstick cooking spray. Sprinkle cheese on bottom of baking dish and pour egg mixture over. Bake about 35-40 minutes, or until inserted knife comes out clean. Remove and allow to sit for 10 minutes before serving.

Pop over to Michael's Foodie Friday and get inspired!!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Greetings to my sweet friends & followers! I have recieved many emails from you all inquiring about me. Thank-you!! I have survived another *tax season*. After the 15th, I took a couple days to get my house back in order and work on some spring cleaning. Now I am back to blog reading and posting. I've missed you all so much and pray all is well for you! Look for a new recipe from me tomorrow for Foodie Friday!

Giveaway Winner!

Friday, April 2, 2010

I want to thank EVERYONE who entered in my 100th Post Giveaway! I was overwhelmed by the response. Thank you for all your sweet comments and congratulations. I also want to welcome ALL the new followers. Sadly, I could only pick one winner......Please congratulate Lillie Mae from Lillie Mae Acres.

Because there was such a wonderful response, I do have a second Gooseberry Patch Book that I would like to offer as 2nd place and the winner of that drawing is Heather @ Vintage Girl.

Cloche Party~My Piano Top

Thursday, April 1, 2010

My favorite display area in my home is the top of my 1882 Epworth Upright Grand Piano. It is all decked out for spring with a little touch of Easter too! Thanks to the lovey Marty at A Stroll Thru Life for hosting this great party!

Click on the photos for a larger view!