It’s the perfect late summer pasta dish although I can already imagine that I will be throwing this together to bring a little sunshine to a cold winter day as well. Make the crumbs whenever you like…they keep wonderfully in a zip lock in the freezer…then put the tomato salad together an hour before you want to serve to give the flavors time to develop. Last minute just boil the pasta, toss, toss, sprinkle, sprinkle and you’re done!
Although I love this simple combination of sweet cherry tomatoes, spicy baby arugula and nutty red quinoa, it is the wonderful miso vinaigrette that needs to be your take-away keeper recipe from this post. Simple to whisk together, this vinaigrette will keep for several days in a jar in the fridge and is positively addictive. I love to use it as a sauce for the veggie sushi that I pick up at Whole Foods, as a marinade for fish and seafood, or just a super tasty salad dressing. Homemade dressings are infinitely better than the store bought variety and they only take seconds to prepare.
This is a great time to try this old favorite of mine..…the blueberries are big and sweet in our stores right now and often on sale too. The recipe comes from Pure Flavor, by Kurt Beecher Dammeier. It is a wonderfully moist coffee cake….perfect for breakfast, brunch or after school snack. Here are 5 steps you can take the night before so that serving it fresh and warm in the morning will be a breeze.
1. Make the topping and store in a zip lock bag in the frig.
2. Wash the blueberries.
3. Mix the dry ingredients together.
4. Prepare the cake pan and store in the frig.
5. Set the butter out to soften.
Otherwise, it keeps well in the frig for 2 days and can be warmed in the microwave (just a few seconds)
For summertime grilling, this is one of the easiest, quickest and tastiest recipes you will find. It only takes 2-3 minutes per side to cook chicken tenders on a hot grill which is one reason why this marinade from The Farm, by Ian Knauer, is so great…the honey caramelizes very quickly so you get a wonderful glazed char before the chicken is overcooked. Most of the heat in a jalapeño is in the seeds so use them to control the spiciness of this dish. I scrape out most of the seeds, letting just a random few into the marinade and that makes for chicken tenders with just a little kick, suitable for kids and adults alike.
A tartine is simply an open-faced sandwich and here is the perfect one for a glorious spring day. Look for big, meaty spears with tightly closed tips that signify freshness. Did you know that the diameter of asparagus spears relates to the maturity of the plant? I takes 2 or 3 years before asparagus plants are well established enough, with spears big enough, to harvest. And so I do imagine that the day the asparagus begins to nudge its way out of the soil must be one of a gardener’s favorite days! Recipe adapted from Cicchetti, and other small Italian Plates to Share, by Lindy Wildsmith and Valentina Sforza.
1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons mayonaise
salt and pepper
1 fresh baguette, or other good, fresh crusty bread, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
2 tablespoons minced fresh chives
Fill a large pot halfway with water and bring to a simmer. Carefully lower the eggs into the water and simmer for 12 minutes. While eggs are cooking, prepare a bowl of ice water. Remove eggs from hot water and immediately place them into the ice bath to cool. Meanwhile, trim the asparagus, bring the water in the pot to a boil, add the asparagus and cook until just tender, about 5 minutes, depending on the size of the spears. Remove the eggs from the ice bath and add more ice so that you can chill the asparagus just as soon as it is ready.
Peel the eggs then chop finely. When the asparagus is cooled, remove from the ice bath and cut the tips and set them aside to use as the garnish. Chop the rest of the spears and add to the chopped eggs. Add the olive oil and mayonnaise and gently stir to combine. Season well with salt and pepper to taste.
Brush the bread slices with olive oil, toast lightly and let cool. Spread each tartine with some of the egg salad, top with the reserved asparagus tips then sprinkle with chives. (The number of servings that this recipe will produce varies greatly based upon the size of the bread you use. You can make around 30 small appetizer servings with a skinny baguette or 6 lunch-sized portions with a larger Italian bread such as the one I used in the photo. Just be sure to save enough asparagus tips to finish your dish.)