Carrot Pudding Souffles with Buttered Spring Vegetables

carrotYou can make the souffles a day ahead and refrigerate them, covered, in the ramekins. To reheat, unmold the souffles and place them right side up on a rimmed baking sheet. Pour one-quarter cup heavy cream over top, and heat in a 375-degree oven until heated through and cream is bubbling, about 12 minutes. Or you can microwave them.  Prepare the vegetables while the souffles are in the oven. Adapted from Martha Stewart and demoed in March 2015.

½ C (1 stick) unsalted butter, plus more for ramekins
1 small shallot, thinly sliced (about 1/4 C)
1# carrots, peeled and cut into ½-inch pieces (about 3 C)
1 bay leaf
Coarse salt
1 C heavy cream, plus more if needed for reheating souffles
3 T flour
1½ C whole milk, warmed
1/4 t nutmeg
1/4 t ground ginger
Freshly ground pepper
6 egg yolks
4 egg whites
sugar snap peas, baby asparagus, petite peas
1 T parsley finely chopped

Melt 2 T butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add shallot, chopped carrots, bay leaf, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, 10-15 minutes. (Reduce heat to medium-low and add 1-2 T water if needed to prevent carrots or butter from browning.) Stir in cream. Bring mixture just to a simmer, and immediately remove from heat; discard bay leaf. Puree mixture and transfer to a small bowl; set aside. Melt 4 T butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in flour with a wooden spoon; cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes. Whisk in warm milk gradually. Use a rubber spatula to scrape bottom and corners of pan. Reduce heat to low. Cook, stirring often to prevent lumps from forming, 5 minutes. Whisk in carrot puree, and remove from heat. Stir in nutmeg, ginger, and 1 t salt; season with pepper. Transfer to a large bowl; let cool. Preheat oven to 400. Lightly butter eight 6-ounce ramekins; set aside. Add yolks, one at a time, to carrot mixture, whisking well after each addition. Using a clean whisk or an electric mixer, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Fold into carrot mixture. Ladle mixture into prepared ramekins, filling almost to the rims. Place ramekins in a roasting pan, and transfer to oven. Pour enough boiling water into pan to come about three-quarters of the way up sides of ramekins. Bake until souffles are puffed and set, and tops begin to brown, about 35 minutes. Using tongs, carefully transfer the souffles to a wire rack, and let cool 10 minutes. Before serving, bring a medium pot of water to a boil; add ½ t salt. Add baby vegetables and cook until bright and still firm, about 3 mins. Drain, return to hot pan; add 2 T butter and toss with parlsey. Invert each souffle onto a metal spatula, and then invert again onto a serving plate. Arrange baby vegetables around souffles. Garnish with pea shoots.

 


Chicken Pot Pie Soup

soupAn old favorite, demoed years ago and back by popular demand.

4 puff pastry shells
4 T butter
1 C diced onion
3/4 C diced celery
3/4 C diced carrots
1½ C diced potatoes
1½ t poultry seasoning
1/4 t white pepper
½ salt
1/4 t ground nutmeg
1/4 C flour
4 C chicken broth, preferably home-made
2 T dry sherry
2 C cooked chicken
½ C corn kernels
½ C peas
1/4 C heavy cream
1/4 C chopped fresh parsley

Bake puff pastry shells according to directions; set aside. In a large pot, melt butter and add diced vegetables; cover and sweat 10 minutes. Add seasonings; Whisk in flour, cook 2-3 minutes; slowly add broth, stirring mixture to incormporate and prevent flour from clumping. Add sherry; cook soup 15 minutes until thickened. Add chicken, corn, peas and let these simmer about three minutes until hot. Before serving, stir in heavy cream and parsley. Serve in large bowls, each serving topped with a puff pastry shell.


Asparagus-Stuffed Eggs

asp eggs

 

 

 

We updated this retro recipe – from Julia Child in the 60s – with modern touches like a little hit of curry, cayenne and lemon zest.  These deviled eggs have spring written all over them and with addition of pureed vegetables, they pack a lot more nutrients than more traditional deviled eggs. A variation on this is to replace the asparagus with fresh or frozen peas.  For your flavorings, you’d want to go half mayonnaise and half creme fresh, trade in the curry for chopped fresh mint leaves and skip the lemon zest, but add a teaspoon or so of Marsala and another of Worcestershire for that devil kick. We demoed this at Brookside April 16, 2014. Yield: 24 stuffed egg halves Read More


Salad of Spring Vegetables and Lemon Vinaigrette

salad

 

This elegant salad is made even prettier with the addition of spring blooms — violets, pansies, violas, redbud, chive blossom.  It goes wonderfully with seafood or meat, such as lamb, and is an ideal Easter side dish.  This was another recipe we demoed on “Recipes from the Chef’s Kitchen,” a cooking show hosted by Lindsey Gustin early April 2014.  We made it at the US Botanic Garden April 17, 2014. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More


Spring Vegetables Over Rustic Pasta

pasta primevera

 

 

We demoed this delightful pasta dish last week on “Recipes from the Chef’s Kitchen,” a cooking show hosted by Lindsey Gustin on Fairfax Public Access television.  The ragout takes advantage of early spring vegetables and herbs and burst with flavor.  Baby carrots, turnips and even radishes should be available at farmers markets in the next few weeks.  Sugar snaps and fresh garden peas will start appearing in supermarkets by late April and at area markets by mid-May.   You also can use frozen peas or edamame. If you can’t find baby turnips or carrots, trim down mature versions so they are bite-sized.  Organic carrots and turnips tend to have more flavor.   We made this for the folks at USBG April 3, 2014 and again at Brookside April 16, 2014. The recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking. Read More



Jeweled Quinoa

jewel

Even the quinoa (kee-noo-ah) gleams in this beautiful, mouth-watering jewel of a dish.  If you’ve never had the grain before, this is a great introduction.  If you have, then add this salad to your repertoire.  Quinoa is widely available in the rice and grain aisle of your local supermarket or in the health food section.

1 C quinoa, red, black or white or a combination
2 C water
2 T olive oil
1  T minced fresh ginger
1 clove or 1 t minced fresh garlic
1 small carrot, diced (about ½ cup)
1 celery stalk, diced (about ½ cup)
½ red AND yellow pepper, diced (about 1 cup)
½ C peas, frozen is fine
3 scallions, thinly sliced (discard dark green part)
Juice and zest of 1 lemon
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley, dill, mint or basil for garnish (optional)

For the best flavor and fluffiest texture, dry-toast the quinoa before adding the water: rinse the quinoa according to the package directions, then put it in a medium pot without oil or butter. Let the grains dry out a bit and toast until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Add the water, bring to a boil and cover with a lid. Simmer  10-15 minutes-do not stir the quinoa while it is cooking. This will allow it to cook evenly and steam holes to form. The quinoa is cooked when you see the grains form a little white spiral tail. This is the outer germ of the grain that twists as it cooks, but stays attached to the kernel.

While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the vegetable medley. Heat the olive oil in a non-stick sauté pan, add the garlic and ginger and stir until the ginger is aromatic but not colored, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and sauté another minute; stir in the remaining vegetables and sauté just long enough for the vegetables to heat through, about three minutes. Remove from heat, add the cooked hot quinoa, season with lemon juice and zest, a little more olive oil, salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh herbs.  Serve, hot, warm or at room temperature. Serves 4-6.