Throughout the 2010 growing season I will be sharing recipe ideas and cooking tips from foodie mother of four Nikki Graham. Nikki is a great resource, not along because of her culinary skills, but also for her aspiring photographer daughter and her famous cookbook blogging friend. Enjoy the first "note from Nikki" :
For those of you who haven't had the opportunity to check out my dear friend Heidi's website, 101cookbooks.com, I strongly suggest you visit today (while you're there, you can sign up to receive email updates via RSS, twitter, or Facebook).
It just so happened that one of Heidi's most recent recipes included asparagus, which I had just picked up from Inverbrook this past Monday. Perfect!
Here you'll find the original recipe:
I modified things a bit (as I often do with recipes... it's the rebel in me ;-)) and practically tripled the recipe to feed my tribe of six. The leftovers were perfect with a bit of Martha's Highland Farm, crumbled sheep's feta on top. I served the original meal with one of Claire's chickens, cut up and grilled to perfection. Delightful. My daughter, Azia, photographed her plate before she dug in. :-)
Below you'll find my version of Heidi's Carrot Almond Salad. Enjoy!
Extra virgin olive oil
3 bunches of baby carrots, scrubbed, tops removed, and sliced in half (or quarters if they're on the thicker side) lengthwise
3 bunches of asparagus (the thinner the better), stalks snapped at the bottom and cut into thirds
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
A couple handfuls toasted, sliced almonds
One bunch of cilantro (any stem below the bottom set of leaves removed)
I large jalapeno pepper, seeded and deveined (leave a few seeds if you want extra kick)
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 TBL agave (Admittedly, I have a bit of a sweet tooth and was generous with the agave. I strongly suggest starting with 1 TBL and then adjusting from there. It also depends on the size and tartness of your lemon.)
1/4-1/3 C extra virgin olive oil (Again, adjust to taste. Start with 1/4 C, and go from there.)
Sea salt to taste
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
Toss the carrots with a generous drizzle of olive oil and half of the garlic, spread out onto a baking sheet, and sprinkle with the salt and pepper.
Do the same with the asparagus.
Load both baking sheets into the oven, placing the carrots below the asparagus (they take longer to cook).
Roast until firm tender, about 10 minutes for the asparagus, and 15 for the carrots, give or take. Keep checking every 5 minutes, shaking the pans, until they are cooked to your desired tenderness. I like mine pretty firm.
While the carrots and asparagus are roasting, prepare the dressing. Using a food processor, process the cilantro, lemon, jalapeno, agave, sea salt, and olive oil. Taste and adjust to your liking. Set aside.
Once the carrots and asparagus are done roasting, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes.
Toss the veggies with the dressing and top with the sliced almonds. (I used all of dressing, but if you want your veggies less "dressed up", use as much as desired and save the rest in an airtight container in the fridge. It should keep for at least a few days.)
Serve and enjoy!
Serves 6-8 generously
Nikki Graham (Faithful Inverbrook CSA member)