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Cream of Asparagus Soup
Makes 6 servings—easily doubled and freezes well
This soup can utilize the first of spring asparagus as the soup is pureed and stalks do not have to be perfect. Uses up a few of your winter stored onions and potatoes too. This is great warm on a still cold early spring day or cold as weather warms up.
Serve with warm sweet potato biscuits slathered with spinach pesto or as a starter for the mixed greens topped with sliced beef.
- 4 T butter
- 1 pound asparagus coarsely chopped (remove some tips for garnish)
- 1 medium potato chopped (peeled if skin is yucky)
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 2 or 3 stalks of celery chopped
- 1-4 cloves of garlic chopped
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 T flour
- 2 T sherry
- 4 C chicken broth (you can use vegetable broth or plain water but not those bouillon cubes)
- ½ C heavy cream (can use milk or ½ and ½)
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 ounces Mountain View Farms feta cheese (optional)
Melt butter in a large stock pot and add asparagus, potato, onion, celery, garlic, thyme (little leaves separated from the stem), and bay leaf. Sauté for 10-15 minutes, stirring some—this will smell delicious. Add flour and stir to coat items in pot. Add sherry and cook for a few minutes, stirring so that things do not stick to the bottom of the pot. Add stock and simmer for 45 minutes or so. (Just make sure everything in pot is tender by poking a potato with a knife.)
Remove from heat and let cool. Sometimes I will refrigerate this overnight. Then puree in batches using a Cuisinart (food processor), blender, or immersion blender. Return to pot and add cream and season with salt and pepper.
Lightly blanch some of the tips of asparagus to garnish soup and sprinkle on a little feta cheese crumbled from Mountain View farms in Rockbridge County.
Asparagus, potatoes, and onions from Lexington Farmers Market opening the 1st Wednesday in May, also from Healthy Foods Co-op in Lexington—540-463-6954 www.healthyfoodscoop.org . Cheese from Mountain View Farm Products, 540-460-4161, firstname.lastname@example.org. I use my own herbs but you can get them at the above sites as well as at Kroger.
Sweet Potato Biscuits
These are great warm from the oven with butter, toasted the next day with country ham and Effinger Apple Butter.
2 C flour
½ tsp salt
1 T baking powder
4 T sugar
4 T butter (softened)
1 C mashed sweet potatoes (either use fresh, peel, boil, and mash or use organic sweet potato puree)
½ C milk
Preheat oven to 450’ with rack in middle. Prepare a baking sheet by covering with parchment paper.
Mix dry ingredients together. Cut in butter, either with your hands or 2 knives. Stir in sweet potato then add milk. If it is too sticky add more flour, too dry add milk a little at a time. Roll out on floured board to 1 inch thick and cut with a 2 inch cutter. Should make around 12-15 biscuits. Place the biscuits on the sheet in rows with sides of biscuits gently touching each other. Check the biscuits at 8 minutes—they should be lightly browned on top—you can lift a biscuit gently from the top to see if it look s gummy—cook a little more then.
Organic sweet potato puree made by Farmers Market available in 15 ounce cans from Kroger or Cool Spring Organic Market at 540-463-6506.
Fancy Greens topped with Thinly Sliced Beef and Potato Crisps with Horseradish Aioli Dressing
½ pound of mixed salad greens (these are best organic from Stone House Farms in Goshen—I like a mix that has arugula in it.)
For the beef—
2-4 pounds of tenderloin (trimmed and tied)
Marinated for 1 hour to overnight:
1 C tamari
1 C port wine
½ C olive oil
1 tsp thyme leaves
1 bay leaf
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Place beef on a rack in baking pan and bake at 425’ for 45 minutes until internal temp is 130’ for medium rare. (Do this while you prepare the dressing and potatoes)
Let rest in refrigerator until cool then slice thinly and set aside until all of salad is prepared.
Dressing—this could be as simple as your favorite store bought dressing or:
In a food processor: (or blender) blend until light and smooth:
6 cloves of garlic
2 egg yolks
Salt and pepper
Add and whiz:
Juice of 1 lemon
1 T horseradish (not sauce)
with machine running pour 1 ½ C mild olive oil (or canola oil) very slowly into other mix until it is thick and firm and smooth. Then add juice of 1 more lemon and adjust salt and pepper.
¼ pound of a soft cheese—I use Mountain View Farms Lusk and crumble it into the dressing. (Would also be good with a blue cheese.)
Dressing good for 2 days in frig.
1 medium potato—I use Yukon gold
1 C canola oil
Slice potatoes thinly—about 1/8 inch or on a mandolin, soak in water while oil heats. Heat oil in skillet on medium heat until hot enough to fry in. Oil should be 1 inch or so deep. Dry potato slices on paper towel then add to oil. Just 1 layer in oil at a time and fry for 3 minutes or until potatoes brown, flip slices so both sides brown. Drain on paper towel or newspaper and fry the rest of the potatoes.
Putting together the salad:
On 4 plates divide the greens, drizzle on the dressing. Top each salad with 4-6 slices of beef and 2-4 potato crisps.
Open up a nice Rockbridge Vineyard wine and enjoy your meal knowing that you are eating healthfully, supporting local growers, and reducing your footprint by buying local goods!