Sunday, March 28, 2010

An Affair to Remember

It's true. I am having an affair. I'll admit it.

A love affair with asparagus. Every spring, I feel a momentary twinge of guilt for my wandering eyes as I walk through the produce department at the grocery store. After all, the roasted sweet potatoes, spinach salads, rosemary potatoes and other autumn/winter veggies have been so faithful. Always comforting and filling.

I can't help it, the minute I see those lovely green stalks all bundled together, chilled over ice I just get all tingly inside and my heart goes pitter-patter.

A fairly recent obsession, I have been reflecting on what might be the root of this magnetic draw. The crispness of a perfectly blanched stalk? The sweetness of the majestically roasted bundle? Or the perfection of marrying those green gems with scrambled eggs and cheese?

Actually, who cares?! This may just be the greatest spring vegetable on the planet (in my humble opinion).

Here's what I had for dinner tonight:

Baked sole fillets with a garlic lemon peppercorn rub, cucumber salad (another fave) and roasted asparagus with parmesan cheese.

My favorite way to cook asparagus: roast it. Super easy. Super yummy. Try it.

Roasted Asparagus:

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Rinse and wash the asparagus. Trim off the flat ends of the stalks (they are tough). Place the stalks in a row on a jelly roll pan and coat with cooking spray (or olive oil), salt and pepper. Roast for 10-12 minutes, until asparagus is bright green and still crisp.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Getting Ready for Spring

Is it really the day before St. Patrick's Day? Where the heck have the first three months of 2010 gone? Don't get me wrong...I'm certainly not complaining since we're that much closer to sunshine and tulips (my favorite flower)! And I live in the South - geesh. This winter weather has been for the birds!

In my quest for an early spring, I decided to make a batch of my favorite chicken salad to get me in the mood. I adore chicken salad. In fact, I actually have quite a few recipes, but I keep coming back to this one as the old standby. You can't go wrong.

It draws rave reviews from crowds, is great as a snack or a meal, pleases even the heartiest of meat-eaters (it passed my Dad test!) and it's just plain yummy. The best part is that it takes less than 15 minutes to pull together. First, you start by chopping and dicing a bunch of red grapes, red apples and celery.

Next, heat up some frozen, diced chicken that's been precooked. Add it to the bowl.

Toss everything together with poppyseed salad dressing and a spoonful of mayo and you are good to go. You could add nuts or dried berries if you like.

Pure bliss, I'm telling you. You'll never go back (to whatever pre-made chicken salad you just bought at the grocery store).

The Best Chicken Salad Ever

1 red apple, diced
1 bunch of red grapes, halved
2-3 celery stalks, sliced thinly
1/2 bag of frozen, diced chicken (precooked, such as Tyson)
1/3 Cup (or so) of poppyseed salad dressing
1 Tablespoon of mayo

Heat chicken according to directions. Dump everything in a bowl and toss until fruit, celery and chicken are coated with dressing. (Start with a small amount of dressing and add more as needed; the dressing will settle to the bottom of the bowl.)