So this past weekend was the Stockton Asparagus Festival. Did you go?
When I first moved to Stockton, 6 years (!) ago, I remember googling the city from the East Coast trying to decide if this was the job move from me.
The claim to fame in lil old Stockton? (Besides #1 in auto thefts & a crumbling housing market?)
…An annual Asparagus Festival! Ah, if only I wasn’t so blinded by food.
While I have since high-tailed it out of Stockton, I am happy that I ended up making the decision to live there for a period of time. Besides being able to meet my darling, BL, I also enjoy eating my body weight in Asparagus every April.
Thank goodness Sacramento isn’t that far away.
While I’ve never actually been to the Asparagus festival, I like to imagine that this is the kind of dish I would make there.
Lightly steamed, dressed in a light lemon-tarragon dressing. I’ll skip the festivities and enjoy this in the comfort of my own home. Perfect as a side, or as a light lunch or dinner. The below photo is about how many spears were left after I finished taking my photos. A bite here, a bite there… whoops. Thank goodness for the rule of thirds
What’s your favorite way of eating Asparagus? Looking for a a little more indulgent way to enjoy this green vegetable? Why not try my Spring Asparagus tart?
Lemon Tarragon Asparagus
1 lb. asparagus
3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 large lemon, zested and juiced
2 tsp. chopped tarragon
1/2 tsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. minced garlic
Steam the asparagus until just tender. You want a little bite left.
Whisk together the lemon juice, garlic, dijon mustard. Add the olive oil and whisk until smooth. Stir in the tarragon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle over the steamed asparagus.
Sweet potatoes, combined with a buttery maple sauce, are one of my favorite side dishes. I could eat these sweet little gems every day and not get tired of them. Sweet potatoes are chock- full of vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and fiber. With only 100 calories per baked cup, it’s like enjoying dessert with health benefits!
Maple Roasted Sweet-Potatoes
- 2 pounds sweet potatoes, peeled and cut
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons butter (Earth Balance)
- salt/freshly cracked-pepper
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Preheat oven to 400°F. In a small microwavable bowl, combine butter & maple syrup. Microwave until butter is melted, stir together and add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Toss with chopped sweet potatoes. Arrange potatoes in an even layer in a 9X13″ baking dish.
Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Uncover, and continue to cook, stirring every 15 minutes, until tender and golden brown, 45 minutes more.
Leftovers? Toss with cooked quinoa, spinach, and lemon juice!
Sometimes one of my favorite dinners is a bunch of side dishes. Couscous salad, green beans, beet salad are some of my favorite winter items. Beets have recently become one of my favorite winter vegetables, something that I never really liked until a few years ago. We used to get a lot of beets in our CSA and I finally started learning how to cook them. I prefer them roasted like this or salads.
Whole wheat couscous is one of BL’s favorite side dishes. Whenever I make it for cooking demos, I have to make extra to keep in the fridge for him. He seriously can’t get enough! This is a pretty simple salad highlighting fresh oranges. Enjoy this as is or paired with your favorite protein. We had it with a garbanzo-lentil salad for dinner.
2-way Couscous Salad
1 cup uncooked whole wheat couscous
1/2 cup Israeli couscous
1 english cucumber, peeled and finely diced
1/4 cup roasted red/yellow peppers, finely diced
1 bunch parsley, chopped
2 tbsp. Kalamata olives, chopped
1 large lemon
1/4 cup olive oil
Cook the couscous according to directions. The two couscous varieties do take different cooking time so you can either start the Israeli and then add the whole wheat kind or cook them separately. You can also just use 1 variety.
Place the cooled couscous into a mixing bowl. Add the cucumber, roasted peppers, parsley, and olives. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon and olive oil. Pour onto the couscous and stir. Season with salt and pepper.
Winter Beet Salad
3 large golden beets
3 large red beets
3 tbsp. olive oil, divided
1 tbsp. water
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the beets on a roasting pan and drizzle with 1 tbsp. olive oil and 1 tbsp. water. Sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. Cook for 50-60 minutes until tender.
Remove from oven, cool and peel. Toss into large chunks and place into a bowl.
Peel the oranges and separate the membranes from the pith. Place into the beet bowl. Squeeze the remaining orange juice from the leftover peel and piths into the bowl. Add the olive oil and a small pinch of salt/pepper. Toss together and serve.
*The leftover beet salad taste great over salad greens the next morning
Whenever I do cooking demonstrations or talks on whole grains, I try to push quinoa as much as I can. I LOVE this grain. I made this and the tempeh salad cups for fun Sunday lunch with friends. Nothing fancy, just a yummy herb dressing tossed with quinoa. I used red because I liked the color contrast, but any variety of quinoa will do. Remember to wash it before you cook it, otherwise it might taste bitter.
Red Quinoa with Herb Dressing
1 cup quinoa
Handful basil leaves, minced
Handful parsley, minced
4 springs thyme, minced
1 tsp. dried sage
1/8 cup red wine vinegar
1/8 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients together except quinoa. Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add rinsed quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 10-13 minutes. Add warm quinoa to dressing and toss to combine. Good warm or cold!
Easy and Delicious!