No Crust Asparagus Quiche for Spring

Nothing says spring like a lovely asparagus quiche for breakfast, lunch or dinner. This one really cuts down on the calories too, but not the flavor, by omitting the crust. And it’s gluten-free!

Serendipity: the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way. That is pretty much how I feel today! A fab group of fellow Canadian food bloggers and I are sharing Spring recipes with you all today. And for some crazy reason, it is sunny and the temperature is going to climb to an unusual high of 23 C as well.  Pretty great timing and it just makes me want to spring into action and enjoy a slice of this delicious No Crust Asparagus Quiche!

No Crust Asparagus Quiche

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Crab Louie Salad, the healthy San Francisco Treat?

Featured in menus of reputable San Francisco & Portland restaurants since the early 1900s, this crab meat salad is a typical example of a locally sourced West Coast salad.

In Canada we are about to embark on our first long weekend of the summer. Monday is called Victoria Day (or National Patriot Day in Quebec). The weather is looking relatively nice and I will do my first trip to the cottage on Sunday. It’s the perfect time to start eating a bit lighter to for the summer and enjoy lovingly prepared fancy salads. I came across this West Coast classic and just had to give it a try, the Crab Louie Salad.

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

Fiddlehead and Wild Asparagus California Pizza

I recently discovered a monthly challenge group which could not have fallen any closer to my epicurean interests. The International Food Challenge group was created to explore the cuisines of the world, as well as the heritage of those country. A monthly host pics a part of the world and shares with us a few of the local recipes to make on our own.

For my first time participating we were assigned California Cuisine and I chose to go with the California Pizza suggestion with a Fiddlehead and Wild Asparagus California Pizza.

Fiddlehead and Wild Asparagus California Pizza

Tasty reading ahead, KEEP GOING… →

White Asparagus Ice Cream Take 2

As you may remember, the April 5 Star Makeover challenge was white asparagus. I was obsessed with an asparagus ice cream I saw and stubborn (I am a Taurus) to make it no matter what. Well I never found white asparagus anywhere. And I mean anywhere: grocery store, a few farmer’s markets, Asian grocery stores. Nada! Finally all I could get my hands on – only found it in one store too – was jarred white asparagus preserved in a brine.

Stubborn as I was I proceeded to desalt them as best I could. The delicate and almost mushy consistency was not helping either. I made the ice cream, took nice pictures, tasted the ice cream and chucked it in the garbage can. It was gross but I completed my challenge. I was determined to try again.

Take 2 is a total success

Last week my friend Stef invited me over for dinner and he said he saw white asparagus at his local grocery. My immediate response was: Did you by some? I told you if you ever saw theme BUY some! He had not being unsure if I really still meant it but now it meant I would make him detour to this grocery store. I bought 2 pounds. I was FREAKING elated.

And so I set about remaking my white asparagus ice cream the right way. If you have never worked with white asparagus before here is a very important fact you need to know: the stem must be peeled as it is fibrous. Just get a good peeler out and peel it like you would a cucumber but be delicate not to wastes the flesh. Then use as usual. I followed the recipe from the challenge with a few adaptations……

Ξ White Asparagus Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate Ξ

adapted from Jose Garces

Ingredients

  • 1 pounds white asparagus
  • Kosher salt
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 100 gr of dark chocolate chunks

Directions

  1. Cut 2 to 3 inches from the bottom of each asparagus stalk (the hard part). Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus and cook until tender. Drain and plunge into the ice water, then drain well and transfer to a blender; set aside.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just boils. Remove from the heat and gradually add the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spoon and a thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 10 minutes (do not let the custard boil).
  3. Transfer the custard to the blender with the asparagus and puree until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Make the asparagus custard in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the dark chocolate after 10 minutes.

What a success! What a difference. Now this is a truly unusual and so delicious ice cream. You can totally taste the delicate white asparagus but it is sweet ans creamy from the rich custard based ice cream. The dark chocolate chunks are a perfect match too.

I strongly encourage you to give this ice cream flavor a try. It will not be to everyone but with an open mind and a foodie cap on you should fall in love with the flavor.

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On a separate note I just wanted to thank again the NDG Food Depot and Azar (5899 Sherbrook St. West) for a lovely night out. Azar is a Lebanese restaurant that took part in the Dine for the Depot fundraiser, a week where several restaurants in my neighborhood donated 10% of their sales of a specific night to the NDG Food Depot. This is the non profit organization I will be working with as well for my 1st annual Cheap Ethnic Eatz food film marathon and pot luck.

The menu was fixed: we enjoyed a delicious fattoush salad and oh so amazing grilled meats and chicken with large dollops of hummus and baba ganoush. Sorry cell phone did not take the best pics that night.

And if it is not too late and you want to get your sweet tooth all excited go a few doors down to Briimstone and Grumblenott at 5879 Sherbrooke St.West, a truly magical candy store. Patricia is the owner and she makes a lot of the products herself. Her store has an old school homelike feel to it with actual dishes filled with candies everywhere, and I mean everywhere. It is jam packed with goodies. Behind the glass counter is a great selection of sophisticated handmade chocolates. I particularly loved this sign behind the counter.

5 Star Makeover White Asparagus

I cannot tell you how excited and honored I am to present you with my first ever contribution to the monthly 5 Star Makeover. This relatively new cooking club is run by Natasha at Five Star Foodie and Lazaro of Lazaro Cooks. I was really attracted to their club because you get a theme or ingredient and then you let your imagination run wild. It feeds my need for creativity.

But I almost had a heart attack when I saw the ingredient for this month: White Asparagus. Am I going to find some? I know I have seen some in the past but the season is very short. That is the season in the US which is usually the last 2 weeks of April. In Canada specific food in season are usually behind on the agricultural schedule. And my fears were confirmed. I never found fresh white asparagus. I did grocery stores, ethnic stores, fruits and veggie stores, farmer’s markets. Zilch, nada, zero. I had my recipe all planned out after some online research and food pairing suggestions, I just needed my star ingredient! The recipe: White Asparagus Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Rooibos Tea

I fortunately found in one Asian grocery store jarred white asparagus, unfortunately. At least there was no vinegar in there…just salt. I bathed the wimpy limp stalks and drained several times to remove as much salt as possible. Not finding fresh ones sucks but at least I got to participate with my find.

The white asparagus is nicknamed white gold in northern Europe. They are cultivated by denying the plants light while they are being grown. Soil is continuously ‘hilled” to deny any contact with the sun. The result in taste is a little sweeter and much more tender, but it must be peeled before consumption. Germany is known for week long festivals dedicated to this vegetable called Spargel, they crown a Spargel Queen and there is even Spargel etiquette rules. I am sure deciding to make a dessert out of my challenge breaks those rules, oh well!

White Asparagus Ice Cream with Dark Chocolate and Rooibos Tea

adapted from Jose Garces

Ingredients

 

  • 2 pounds asparagus (or 1 pound jarred)
  • Kosher salt
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/3 cups whole milk
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 200 gr of dark chocolate chunks
  • 1 pouch of Roobios tea

Directions

Fresh: Cut the top 2 to 3 inches from each asparagus stalk; reserve the bottoms for another use. Fill a large bowl with ice water. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the asparagus tops and cook until bright green, 2 to 3 minutes. Drain and plunge into the ice water, then drain well and transfer to a blender; set aside.

Jarred: Gently place in a shallow dish and bathe several times, draining, in water. Cut in sections 2 to 3 inches long using the whole length.

Whisk the egg yolks and sugar in a medium bowl. Heat the milk and cream in a saucepan over medium heat until it just boils. Remove from the heat and gradually add the yolk mixture, whisking constantly. Return the pan to the heat and cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the custard is thick enough to coat the spoon and a thermometer registers 170 degrees F, about 10 minutes (do not let the custard boil).

Transfer the custard to the blender with the asparagus and puree until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes. Cool completely in the refrigerator. Add the dark chocolate and Rooibos Tea. Freeze the asparagus custard in an ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

The result, visually, was stunning. taste wise I am afraid to say it was not such a success. I believe that was do to the jarred asparagus. I think fresh ones would have made a huge difference. The pairing with dark chocolate and Rooibos tea (a red tea from Africa, was a lovely choice. I’ll try it again perhaps with fresh ones and bit more sugar (which I have already adjusted above, originally it was 1/4 to 1/2 cup.)