Monday, July 12, 2010

Days Eighty-Nine and Ninety-Eight

She Said:

Well, we have definitely slowed the pace on our own Julie/Julia Project. Maybe we need to rewatch the movie to get reinspired. We have just been so ridiculously busy that we haven't been wanting to cook much. We've been filling in with other things, things we already know how to make and the like. But we do have two recipes to share from Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman and they both count. So here we go.

This recipe (for Day 89) couldn't decide what it wanted to be when it grew up so it actually tasted like two meals in one. We won't be making this again.

Thai-Style Asparagus and Crab Salad

1½ pounds asparagus (about 30 medium-thick spears), trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1½-inch lengths
1 package (3.75 ounces) bean threads or cellophane noodles
1 pound crabmeat, picked over
1 carrot, grated
2 scallions, white and tender green parts, trimmed and chopped
4 cups arugula leaves or watercress
4 cups mesclun or baby lettuce
½ cup cilantro leaves
½ cup mint leaves
⅓ cup chopped peanuts, toasted

¾ cup fresh lime juice (approximately 6 limes)
½ cup fish sauce
⅓ cup sugar
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 jalapeƱo chilies, minced
1 tablespoons minced peeled ginger
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Steam the asparagus over boiling water until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. Drain; plunge into cold water to stop the cooking; drain.

2. Soak the noodles in hot tap water to cover for about 5 minutes. Drain.

3. To make the dressing, combine the lime juice, fish sauce, and sugar in a medium bowl, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Mix in the garlic, chile, ginger, and pepper to taste.

4. Pour about ½ cup of the dressing over the noodles. Toss to mix and set aside.

5. In a large bowl, combine the crab, carrot, and scallions. Add about ½ cup of the dressing. Toss to mix. Set aside to allow the flavors to blend, at least 15 minutes, or longer in the refrigerator.

6. Just before serving, toss the arugula, mesclun, cilantro, and mint in a large bowl. Add a few tablespoons of the remaining dressing and toss to mix. Add more dressing if desired.

7. To serve, line a platter or individual plates with the greens mix. Top with the noodles, then the crab mixture, and finally the asparagus. Sprinkle on the peanuts and serve, passing the remaining dressing at the table.

This could have been a good noodle salad or a good greens salad, but not both. The crab got completely lost in the noise of the dish. The dressing was tasty, though.

This was a better recipe (for Day 98). It was really a snack and we made a meal of this plus some grilled shrimp cocktail. That was a nice summer meal.

Breaded Asparagus Sticks

2 eggs
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
¾ cup freshly ground Parmesan
¾ cup panko or other dried bread crumbs
1 lemon, cut into wedges
1-1½ pounds asparagus (20-30 medium-thick spears), bottoms trimmed

1. Preheat the oven to 400℉. Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil.

2. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs with the mustard. Season with a generous pinch of salt and a few grinds of pepper. In a second bowl, combine the Parmesan and panko and mix well. Dip each asparagus spear first in the eggs to coat, then in the crumb mixture. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Continue until all the asparagus is coated.

3. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes, until golden on the bottom. Turn the asparagus over and bake for another 12 to 15 minutes, until golden brown.

4. Arrange on a platter with the lemon wedges. Serve hot or at room temperature.

We liked this but I doubt that we'll make it again. It's hard to come up with a time to make appetizers for ourselves and I didn't like them enough for company.

Days 89 and 98/365:Recipes 39 and 40/175

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