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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Healthy Lunch Bunch ~ Spring Edition

 
 
It's HERE! It's HERE! Flowers a-bloomin', trees a-leafin' warm and sun ......ahhhhh, who am I kidding? We got an inch of snow last night. This makes me feel, well....like this
 
Angry growling smiley face clipart picture.
 
Well, in an effort to combat the winter blues/weight gain/no sun issue, I realized that sometimes, one has to make Spring happen, just for yourself. Whether or not Mother Nature is cooperating. That's about the same time I noticed the first, beautiful bunches of asparagus cropping up (hahahaha! get it?) in yonder emporium of grocery-ness.  I needed no further provocation to make one of my favorite dishes...a lovely grilled asparagus and sun-dried tomato salad. It's from Aaron McCargo, over at the Food Network. Click here for his recipe....this is my adaptation of it. First, let's get our ingredients ready as per usual here in Pixie Land.
 
 

 
Sun dried tomatoes (don't buy those uber-expensive ones in oil! The dried are much cheaper! Plus, we can make our own....another post, another time). Bleu cheese, salt, pepper, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, asparagus, garlic, mushrooms. First, soak a few sun-dried tomatoes in hottest tap water (raisins are a fabulous substitute, by the way)...
 
 
 
 
Not pretty, I know...but, it is their sweet flavor that matters, here! Now, trim off the very ends of the asparagus...this was a nice, tender bunch and did not need a lot taken off..save those ends for vegetable stock!
 
 
Now, I have previously made this with the whole stalk intact, and while pretty, it just does not make it really fork-friendly. That's seriously going to be my new term....fork-friendly...I love it! Anyhoo, where was I? I'm so easily amused...ahem, just um, cut them in half.
 
 
Now, place them in a bowl...
 
 
Then, mince up your garlic...
 
 
Throw that in the bowl, along with the thyme, rosemary, salt & pepper...
 
 
Then, toss the whole kit and caboodle (the official term) with a few Tablespoons of olive oil...
 
 
Now, oil up ye a grill pan...a broiler might work for this, too.
 
 
Now would be a good time to dice those sun-dried tomatoes, and slice your mushrooms up. Note: the recipe called for shittake mushrooms, I just happened to be out..the regular kind work just as well.
 

 
It's also a good time to crumble up that lovely bleu cheese...not a lot, mind you....this is supposed to be healthy, remember?
 

 
Now, get that grill pan just a-blazing hot, and place the asparagus (with the oil, garlic, etc.) on it in a single layer..
 
 
Grill them about five to seven minutes...you don't want them all soft & loopy now, do you? No loopy asparagus! Just sayin'...anyway, once grilled and crisp-tender, place them back into the bowl from whence they came.
 
 
Now, add a bit more olive oil to the grill pan, and grill the mushrooms..
 
 
Turn them after about five minutes, and add a little salt...here are mine at the halfway point.
 
 
Now, toss the asparagus with the diced sun-dried tomato...
 
 
Plate on an attractive platter, and add the mushrooms and crumbled bleu cheese...my results?
 
 
Oh...my. Let's just say that even if the outdoors was not blooming, my lunch certainly brightened up my day! The crisp-tender asparagus, with the meaty mushrooms, sweet sun-dried tomatoes, and creamy bleu cheese....it was just fantastic. I also squeeze a wedge of fresh lemon over the top, right before serving, as it brightens all these deep, rich flavors marvelously. Next time, I'm trying it with dried tarragon instead of the dried rosemary...I'm just not crazy about dried rosemary, it always seems like I'm eating twigs....just my humble Pixie Prerogative. It was fabulous! The moral of the story is that Spring may be more of a state of mind...especially when it is taking it's merry old time. Eat well my friends, and stay tuned tomorrow for what I could POSSIBLY do with the rest of that cheese.......hmmmmm. Love and kindness to all,
 
Pixie
 
 


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