Thursday, January 28, 2010

Asparagus Tart

This dish makes me think of Easter. We always ate ham on Easter, and asparagus just goes so nicely with ham. In fact, this could make a lovely entree for an Easter brunch. Well, this dish tasted wonderful, but had a major structural problem. There is an egg custard that gets poured into an already baked pie crust, which leaked out of the crust, and then out of the tart pan. Maybe an actual pie dish would be better suited for next time. Thankfully, Greg had a last minute premonition of egg spillage, and suggested putting tin foil on the oven rack, under the tart pan. Good suggestion =).

Anyway, this was really easy, and really yummy. Next time, I may put poached eggs on top to serve, since the egg custard was fairly thin (but then again, a decent amount of it did spill out).

1 pie crust, rolled to fit your baking dish. I used the Betty Crocker classic, but Cooks Illustrated has a fantastic recipe, using vodka (sadly, we had no vodka on hand).

1 bunch of asparagus. Cut into a bit shorter than the radius of your pie dish (or, short enough to fit into a 9x9 square)
3 red potatoes, boiled and then thinly sliced
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 C. milk
4 lg. eggs
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/8 lbs. ham
1 tsp. rosemary
1 C. Swiss Cheese, grated.

-Steam asparagus over the boiling water with potatoes cooking. Steam the asparagus until bright green and they start to become tender. Dump into cold water, then dry on a towel.

-While the potatoes are cooking, have pie crust baking. Grate black pepper on pie crust before it goes in the oven.

-Mix eggs, milk, nutmeg, 2/3 C. Swiss cheese and salt.

-Once crust is done, layer in: thinly sliced potatoes, ham, asparagus. Then pour egg mixture over the asparagus. Sprinkle with more remaining cheese.

-Bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.


Monday, January 18, 2010

Orzo with Shrimp

Well, hello all. The past 5 months have been hectic, to say the least. Somehow, I convinced myself that it taking the equivalent of anatomy & physiology I & II in 1 semester was a sane thing to do. While I suppressed any creative instincts for the past 5 months, the "right side" of my brain is now ready for a little action. OK, I know, Orzo with Shrimp is not creative, but I didn't really cook for about 5 months, so I need some training wheels again. I actually made this dish the first week after finals to celebrate freedom, and stay warm because we were freezing here in Lexington. This picture is from Greg's re-creation of the meal. After a few quick instructions, he was cooking away when I got home from work last night!

The key for this to turn out well is to actually over cook your orzo. It should be fairly mushy - makes it all the more comforting =). This time, we used frozen pre-cooked shrimp that were just thawed. Next time, I might use fresh frozen so we can spice them up a bit, without turning them into rubber with over cooking them. A dash of fresh nutmeg would also be good for next time. I can't wait for warming weather, because I think grilled shrimp and grilled veggies would be very yummy, too!

1/2 lbs orzo
2 zucchini, sliced into 1/4 inch rounds, then cut again into halves
2 cloves garlic, minced
~2 tbs EVOO
3/4 C. parmesan cheese
shrimp - thawed and prepared to preference
salt and pepper

Boil water for orzo - let cook until very well done.

While water is boiling, turn over to 375 degrees F. Slice zucchini and cut into rounds. Toss with EVOO, minced garlic, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 5-7 minutes, until they start to turn golden brown on the edges.

Thaw and prepare shrimp while veggies are roasting.

When orzo is done, drain off most of the water. In a large bowl, slowly add parmesan cheese & stir until it starts to smell like Alfredo sauce. You may not need the whole 3/4 C. Once cheese is stirred in, add zucchini and shrimp. Toss to coat. Serve warm.