Posts tagged asparagus

Sauces! Pt.1 Hollandaise

Sometimes all you need is a little sauce to turn a vegetable (or two or seven) into a meal! Even better, many sauces can be jarred and saved for future use! In this section I’ll explore how to transform your bare naked vegetables into easy culinary delights.

Hollandaise sauce is a creamy, yellowy, buttery sauce French in origin that is a little sweet and a little sour to the taste. It is traditionally used on eggs benedict but also tastes great on a variety of vegetables.

What goes with hollandaise sauce? What vegetables can I put hollandaise sauce on?
The following vegetables taste wonderful with hollandaise sauce. Unless otherwise specified, we recommend steaming these vegetables if you plan to use them with hollandaise:
-Broccoli
-Asparagus
-Artichoke hearts
-Baked or Fried Potatoes
-Cauliflower
-Brussel Sprouts
-Spinach

How do I make it?
You can make hollandaise sauce from scratch or buy it in a flavoring packet that is sold in most grocery stores in the section for packaged sauces. Below are two recipes for hollandaise including a vegetarian lacto-ovo version and a vegan version.

Lacto-ovo Original Vegetarian Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
Ingredients

* 4 egg yolks
* 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
* 1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted (1 stick)
* Pinch cayenne
* Pinch salt

Directions

Vigorously whisk the egg yolks and lemon juice together in a stainless steel bowl and until the mixture is thickened and doubled in volume. Place the bowl over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler,) the water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Continue to whisk rapidly. Be careful not to let the eggs get too hot or they will scramble. Slowly drizzle in the melted butter and continue to whisk until the sauce is thickened and doubled in volume. Remove from heat, whisk in cayenne and salt. Cover and place in a warm spot until ready to use for the eggs benedict. If the sauce gets too thick, whisk in a few drops of warm water before serving.

Recipe from Foodnetwork

Vegan Hollandaise Sauce Recipe
1/2 c. plus 1/4 c. unflavored soymilk or other nondairy milk (3/4 c. total)
2 T. Earth Balance or Soy Garden Natural Buttery Spread, melted and kept warm (or butter flavored non-dairy margarine)
1 and 3/4 T. cornstarch or wheat starch
*Note: Do not substitute arrowroot, tapioca starch, or kuzu— I tried these and the results were not satisfactory.
1 T. fresh lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
pinch of white pepper or a dash of hot pepper sauce
tiny pinch of tumeric (less than a 1/16th of a tsp—more makes a phony-looking color)

Directions:
Heat the 1/2 c. soymilk until not quite simmering—pour into the blender container along with the salt, pepper or hot sauce, and cover to keep hot while you melt the Earth Balance and go on to the next step.
In a small (2 c.) saucepan or microwave-proof bowl, mix together the first 1/4 c. of soymilk and the cornstarch and tumeric, and whisk together well.
If making in a pot on the stovetop, stir constantly over high heat until thick and translucent, shiny yellow, not a dull yellow — OR:
Microwave option: Use the microwave-proof bowl for the mixture, and microwave on HI 20 seconds. Whisk. Repeat two times, or until thick and translucent, shiny yellow, not a dull yellow.
Scrape the yellow cornstarch mixture into the blender container containing the hot milk mixture, and add the lemon juice. Blend well, adding the melted Earth Balance slowly through the hole in the lid while the machine is running. Blend until the mixture is pale yellow and frothy and emulsified (you can’t see any oil globules).
Serve immediately, or, if it has cooled down too much, heat briefly in the microwave at a low setting, or in a small pot on the stove over low heat, or keep hot on an alcohol burner briefly before using. The cooled mixture may be reheated gently, as well.
Recipe from Bryanna’s Vegan Feast

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Easy Vegetable Tempura


Easiness ***
Greenness lacto-ovo

Tempura seems like it’d be very difficult to make but it’s really not! Most of the time you’ll actually spend in the kitchen will be for the clean up as the battering and frying motion can get a little messy. Still, tempura is a great way to use up whatever spare veggies you have in the fridge that you don’t know what to do with. The downside is you gotta eat it the same day because tempura is best when eaten fresh!

Any of the following can be used to make tempura. Choose one or two, or more!:
Shitake Mushrooms
Sweet potato
Potato
Winter squash
String green beans
Green peppers
Bell Peppers of any color
Button mushrooms
Broccoli
Cauliflower
Yam
Pumpkin
Zucchini
Asparagus
Lotus
Portabella Mushroom

TEMPURA BATTER (You can also buy pre-mixed tempura powder batter at most supermarkets):

1 egg
1 1/4 c. iced water
1 2/3 c. all-purpose flour
Oil for deep frying

TEMPURA DIPPING SAUCE (You can also buy tempura dipping sauce in some supermarkets):

1 3/4 c. dashi stock (fish bouillon)
1/3 c. soy sauce
1/3 c. mirin
Sugar (1 to 3 tbsp.) to taste

1. Cut shitakes mushrooms into halves. Slice sweet potato into thin rounds, squash into quarter rounds, green beans into halves, green peppers into strips.

2. In chilled bowl, mix egg and iced water. Add flour to egg mixture. Fold loosely to keep batter lumpy.

3. Lay out a rack with a bunch of paper towels on it. Heat oil in wok or deep fryer to 340 degrees (you can also use a deep frying pan and a set of tongs). Pat dry all ingredients with paper towel. Dip vegetables in batter. (Be VERY careful with this step. If you are not an experienced cook, please have someone around to help keep an eye on things!) Deep fry until golden (the batter will appear puffy and crisp). Remove using tongs and drain vegetables briefly on paper towel covered rack or tray. Make sure they are cool before serving. 10-15 minutes is usually good.

4. Serve with dipping sauce and rice.

Modified from a recipe at Cooks.com http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,1726,149168-251192,00.html>

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Garlic-Soy Asparagus


Easiness: **
Greenness: vegan

Ingredients:

* 2 bunches asparagus
* 2 Tbsp. sesame oil
* 2 Tbsp. soy sauce
* 1 clove garlic, minced
* 1 tsp. sugar
* 4 Tbsp. sesame seeds

Instructions:

Soak asparagus in cold water (I usually just plug up the sink for this occasion) for a quick rinse.

Bend each spear until it snaps naturally (this is where the asparagus is most tender); discard the tough ends. Trim the “spines” off the asparagus with a carrot peeler to make it more tender (optional). Slice the asparagus diagonally into 1 inch pieces; set aside.

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add sugar and stir for about 30 seconds. Add garlic and sauté for another 30 seconds.

Add asparagus and soy sauce, then sauté for about 4 minutes (it should still be crisp but slightly tender).

Remove from heat. Toss in bowl with sesame seeds, adding additional soy sauce if you see fit.

Tip: Do the prep work ahead of time, but bring the dish together five minutes before the meal.

Recipe from HumbleGourmand.com

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Asparagus Pasta with Mint Pesto


Easiness: **
Greenness: lacto-ovo vegetarian

Ingredients
* large bunch mint (about 80g), leaves stripped
* 250g tub ricotta *can be omitted and substituted with parsley / vegetable oil mixture to make vegan
* 25g parmesan , plus extra to serve *can be omitted and substituted with parsley / vegetable oil mixture to make vegan
* 400g farfalle (pasta bows)
* 200g asparagus tips

1. In a food processor, briefly whizz the mint leaves, ricotta and grated Parmesan until you have a smooth green pesto. Season well.
2. Boil the pasta, dropping in the asparagus tips 2-3 mins before the cooking time is up. When you drain the pasta, keep back a few tbsp of the water, then return the pasta, asparagus and water to the saucepan.
3. Quickly stir in the mint pesto, divide between 4 plates, then shave over the remaining Parmesan to serve.

Recipe from: BBC Good Food Blog

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Vegetable Risotto


Easiness: ****
Greenness: Vegetarian (can be made vegan w/out parmesan cheese or w/ vegan cheese)

Ingredients

4 cups vegetable stock
4 stalk asparagus
1 red bell pepper
4 mushrooms (button, cremini, etc.)
3 TBS Olive Oil
2 cloves garlic minced
4 green onion stalks chopped
1 TBS chopped fresh parsley (*can be omitted)
1 cup Arborio rice
¼ cup white wine (*can be omitted)
salt and pepper to taste
2 TBS parmesan cheese (preferably fresh, grated)

Instructions

Heat the vegetable stock on the stove and keep it on warm. Chop your asparagus into 1 inch pieces, bell pepper into 1 inch slices, and mushrooms into about 8 slices. Heat 1 TBS oil in a frying pan on med-high, add half of garlic and green onions, sauté for one minute but don’t let the garlic burn. Add veggies and sauté for another 3-4 minutes or until they’re slightly softened. Remove veggies to a plate.

Add 2 TBS oil to the frying pan, heat on medium. Add remaining garlic and green onion, add rice. Mix well to get rice completely coated with oil. Add white wine and mix. When it’s nearly evaporated begin adding heated vegetable stock a ladle full at a time. Continually stir the rice and as the stock is nearly all absorbed add some more. Continue this process.

The rice will begin to swell and get creamy. As you approach using the last of the stock, begin testing the rice (you don’t want to use too much stock and make it mushy). As the rice is absorbing the last of the stock return the veggies to the pan and mix them in. Turn off the heat and drizzle with oil and sprinkle with cheese. Mix once more and serve.

Modified from a recipe at: http://dianasaur.blogspot.com/2009/03/vegetarian-risotto-with-asparagus.html *try this version if you are willing to put in the time / cash!

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