Saturday, March 17, 2018

Asparagus and More Soup #SoupSaturdaySwappers

One of the first tell tale signs of spring, the time you can finally say goodbye to winter is seeing the first asparagus spears showing up.  They poke through the detritus winter left behind in the garden and you sit and watch as they almost literally grow in front of your eyes.  One day, they're just peeking out and the next day they're up a couple of inches and then you can wait another day, or cut those fat little shoots and go inside and eat them, if they even make it to the house. 
I used to have a garden I could do that with, but we moved and left the asparagus behind and now I have to buy it.
And I do, buy it, that is.  At least when I can find nice fat asparagus.  We don't like those thin ones, they resemble grass and taste like it as well.  At least in my humble opinion. 
Sally of Bewitching Kitchen is our hostess this month for Soup Saturday Swappers and she suggested the theme of "Say Goodbye to Winter" for our soups.  BTW, Soup Saturday Swappers are a group of bloggers who get together the third Saturday of the month to share soups with a common theme.  We've had some fun themes, from Copy Cat soups to Quick Weeknight Soups, I made a Hurricane Irma Chicken and Rice soup that was so good that month.  
I think this soup qualifies as a good soup for Say Goodbye to Winter, although with the temps here the past few days, I think winter has overstayed its welcome. 
Asparagus and More Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers
Although my favorite way to eat asparagus is lightly steamed with butter, I also wanted to try my hand at making a soup from it as well.  I googled all kinds of recipes and they all seemed to have the same basic ingredients.   Asparagus, onions, stock and cream. I wanted to make a Cream of Asparagus Soup but I wanted something a little different.
I'm not one for following the herd, and since I had some lovely, well, sorta lovely zucchini that were almost past their use-by date, I decided to go ahead and add them to the soup. 
Am I glad I did.
We've been eating a lot of Asparagus lately and I had a bunch of stems that were left over, and kept stockpiling them.    I peeled them, added them to some lovely homemade chicken stock and let them simmer for about 40 minutes,
Asparagus and More Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers
then I added two small zucchini, let them all simmer an additional 10 minutes.  I grabbed my immersion blender and blended the hot soup.  I may have said this a few times, but I love being able to sip on a mug of soup as I work.  So, it was all blended and lovely and green. I tasted it at this point and decided it needed 'something' and it was also pretty thin.  ( I might have added too much soup stock, oops).
So I added some of my instant Garlic Roasted instant Potato flakes (don't judge, they come in handy for a lot of things) and tasted it again, and it was about perfect.  A dollop of Creme Fraiche on top
Asparagus and More Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers
and some decorations (same camera, but look at the different colors of the soup, but I'm using the pictures anyway)
Asparagus and More Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers
and it was good to go.  I even raided my poor parsley plant as well as the chives, and made them work. 
Here's the recipe and check out the links at the end for more great soups from our fellow Soup Saturday Swappers. 

Yield: 4 servings

Asparagus and More Soup
Asparagus and More Soup for #SoupSaturdaySwappers

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 40 MINStotal time: 50 mins
This is a lovely, quick soup that can be enjoyed by the mug or bowlful.


6 cups Chicken Stock
1 lb. Asparagus stems, peeled
2 small zucchini, chopped
1/2 cup Instant Roasted Garlic Potato flakes
dollop of Creme Fraiche on each bowl
Chopped Chives and Asparagus tips for decorations


Peel and chop the tough part of the stems from the Asparagus, (this is the part you usually throw away). 
Heat 6 cups of Chicken Stock, add the asparagus to it and let it simmer for at least 40 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.  Add 2 small zucchini, chopped and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes.  Using an immersion blender, blend the soup well.  Taste and add 1/2 cup of instant Roasted Potato Flakes to the pot and stir in.  Simmer another 5 minutes. 
Serve by the mug or bowlful with a dollop of Creme Fraiche on each bowl and top with a little chopped chives and Asparagus tips. 
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Friday, March 16, 2018

Crab Cake Spring Rolls for #FishFridayFoodies

Fish Friday Foodies is a group of bloggers who make, blog and share a seafood recipe once a month, on the third Friday of the month.   Wendy is the founder of the group and keeps us sort of on track. Each month we have a different hostess and theme. We're So Crabby is the theme this month for Fish Friday Foodies and is being hosted by P~ of the The Saucy Southerner
Her challenge, make a dish using Crab for this month's reveal.

Well, gee, I've been struggling in the kitchen lately, get these great ideas, can picture it in my mind but something gets lost in translation.  sigh. The concept is great but it fails in the execution. 
So my first effort became an offering to the kitchen goddess (she's doing well this month, food wise), and I ended up looking for more crab in my freezer.
Well, there was no crab to be found, apart from some leftover crab cakes from a month or so ago.
The thinking cap went on, it lit up and I came up with a really tasty substitution.
At least I think so.
So much so, I'm thinking it may be making an appearance at one of our Tapas Nights, maybe even in my next cookbook.

I had to taste test...

BTW, there's no more Sambal Kagang sauce.  It disappeared, rapidly.
For more great Fish Friday Foodies recipes check out the links at the end.

Yield: 4 servings

Crab Cake Spring Rolls

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 40 MINStotal time: 50 mins
Spring Rolls are so much fun to make and eat and this is a great way to celebrate Crabs and Spring


2 Crab Cakes, used my own Lighthouse Crab Cakes  ( or your favorite Crab Cake Recipe)
1/2 lb. Asparagus, shaved
2 tablespoons Chopped Chives
1 teaspoon EVOO
4 Spring Roll Wrappers
1 recipe Sambal Kagang Sauce or Limey Sauce

Sambal Kagang Sauce
2 tablespoons chunky peanut butter
2 tablespoons Sweet Soy Sauce
1 heaping teaspoonful Sambal Oelek paste
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/3 cup water. 
Mix all together and use as a dipping sauce for the spring rolls.
Limey Sauce
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons Lime Juice
1 teaspoon Sambal Oelek


Remove the breading from the outside of the Crab, discard.  Chop up the crab cake.  Shave or slice the asparagus very thin.   Chop the chives up.
Heat the olive oil in a pan over medium heat and add the sliced Asparagus, stir it around for a couple of minutes, then add the chives.  Take the pan off of the heat and add the crab cake.  Stir it together and let sit while you prepare the dipping sauce. Recipes follow.
Soften a spring roll wrapper in hot water, then take a 1/4 of the crab cake mixture and place just off center on the wrapper, fold the sides in and then roll it as tightly as you can.  Continue until all are done and the filling is gone.  Serve with one or the other of the dipping sauces.     
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Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Truffle Cake Bites

You might have heard that I do a little baking from time to time.
I do, every couple of weeks or when someone asks me to, or just because.
Although I'm not really a big cake eater, I just like baking and decorating and playing with my food.
Which brings me to this.
I had some cake hanging around in the freezer, it was some I'd cut off of the top of the Lemon Chiffon Cake and I just couldn't throw it away, so I put it in the freezer, thinking of trifles and such. 
But then I got this idea and ran with it, and fell.
Cause my brilliant idea of adding some white chocolate ganache to the cake, just didn't work out the way I'd planned.
I'd added too much cream to the white chocolate and it would not set up.  I'd planned on enrobing the cake balls with it.
So I mixed some into the cake crumbs but it still wasn't right. sigh

I didn't want to throw it away so I added some melted milk chocolate to some of  the white chocolate cake balls and life was good again. ( I put the rest in the freezer and am planning to use it in some frosting, later on).
I rolled some of the cake truffle bites in some coconut and some I draped with a dark chocolate Ganache.

I also did something similar with some chocolate cake a couple of weeks ago, and brought them to a dinner party as a gift to the hostess and those were eaten and enjoyed as well.
What can I say, I like having my cake and eating it too.

Yield: 12-18 small truffle bites

Cake Truffle Bites

prep time: 10 MINScook time: 2 hourtotal time: 2 hours and 10 mins
You can use any kind of leftover cake for this yummy Cake Truffle Bites.


3-4 cups crumbled baked cake -
1 cup chocolate Ganache
Chopped nuts

1/2 cup heavy cream heated
8 oz good dark chocolate, either chips or baking chocolate


Crumble up the cake, and add about 1/2 cup of the warm ganache to it, mix together.  Using a mini scoop or a melon baller, make one inch balls, and place half of them on a piece of parchment paper and into the fridge to set up.  With the other half, roll them in some toasted coconut or chopped hazelnuts and then place them in the fridge to set.  I like to cut them in half after they've cooled and set.  That way they're just a nice little mouthful.       
The ganache can be left at room temp until cool, and starting to set up.  You can also place it in the fridge to set up faster, but you want it fluid enough to dip the cake balls into. 
I use a very small spoon and dip the cake ball into the cooled ganache, roll it around very gently until fully covered,  and then place them on a piece of parchment.  When finished, place in the fridge for an hour or two to finish setting up. 
Serve in mini cupcake liners.   


You can use pretty much any kind of cake for this, but of course using chocolate cake will make these even more chocolatey.
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