Bonjour! It is SO nice to be back writing again! My deepest and sincerest thanks to all of you who have sent me notes of encouragement over the last 11 (yikes!) months. For those of you who are new readers, or who have wondered why I dropped off the face of the earth last summer, here’s a little re-cap:
Last year I embarked on the most rewarding and challenging adventure of my life- homeschooling my two beautiful daughters. After a year, we’ve all agreed it’s been the best thing we’ve ever done as a family; but the Kitchen Divas in Training were not the only ones to learn. I learned too…. a lot! I’ve had the hardest lesson ever in the realization that I cannot do it all. I’ve had to prioritize, take on, let go of, develop a sense of humor about, look the other way, worry about, and not worry about pretty much every aspect of my life.
Through it all, food has been the constant. We’re obviously still eating. And quite well, I might add. It was this realization that led me back to writing again: I cannot be the only Gluten-Free Food obsessed foodie who struggles with balancing all the demands of parenting, self-care, house-care, significant other-care, career-care (whatever that looks like), with food discovery, styling, photography and recipe development. However, just looking at that list gives me an anxiety attack!
- Recipe development, which I love, pretty much flew out the window. Most of my creative time and energy now goes into teaching, although I do have the occasional flash of creative kitchen inspiration.
- Food styling- I no longer have time for hours of styling and photo editing. I want to get a big flood light for my kitchen- light boxes and I do not do well.
- The crock-pot and leftovers have become my best friends.
- The Kitchen Divas in Training, and my awesome husband have cooked more this year, and come up with some delicious originals on their own.
- We have eaten more simply, using herbs and spices over techniques, and eaten more locally/seasonally than ever.
I think, in my efforts to maintain a creative and original blog- and because I had lots of time on my hands, I’d forgotten that many folks eat simply prepared fare as a matter of necessity. Simple food in no way equals ‘blah’ food, and in fact, it is often the simplest preparations that highlight the inherent beauty and flavor of the food presented.
So, moving forward, most of the recipes featured here will be simple, delicious, easy to prepare, and ideal for families who, like us, find themselves scrambling for dinner at 6:30pm. I also plan to highlight many of the wonderful new gluten-free eating opportunities that have sprung up around Kansas City, and in other areas across the Continent as we travel regionally and nationally in the coming months.
I’d like to claim I’ll be regular about blogging- but I refuse to make an empty promise. However, I will state it’s my goal to post something at least monthly, if not more frequently. For now, it’s good to be back. Please do stop by and say hello, or share what easy fare is simmering on your stove-top or growing in your garden. Life is a celebration and meant to be enjoyed around a table!
Easy Asparagus & Spring Parsleyed Potatoes
Spring arrived early here in Kansas City, after a non-existent winter. The farmer’s markets never closed this year, and thanks to the hoop houses, we’re already seeing early summer fare . My May and June flowers started blooming before Easter, and we’ve already had one 90-degree day! We even pulled out the patio furniture in March this year- a first. Easter took me by surprise this year. The week before Easter was filled with filming a music video for my daughter’s robotics team (more to come on that front!), planning a surprise party for my husband (more to come on that front too!) and a multitude of Holy Week rehearsals and services to sing.
By the time I staggered home after my last service on Easter Sunday, I was greeted with a mimosa and the smell of locally raised and cured ham in the oven! While the ham was finishing, we whipped up a batch of asparagus, and spring potatoes with parsley- all locally grown, and a fabulous al-fresco Easter feast was borne in less than 30 minutes!
This new way of cooking asparagus happened quite by accident several weeks ago when I turned on the burner, but forgot to watch the heat in the pan, and made it too hot. I threw in the butter which sizzled and browned, tossed in the asparagus, covered it, and immediately pulled it off the heat. I shook the pan a few times to coat the asparagus, and when we were ready to eat, discovered perfectly cooked, al-dente asparagus inside! Yes, necessity is the mother of invention!
Slice (or snap) the woody ends of 1 or 2 bunches of asparagus, and set aside. Place a medium saute pan that has a lid on a burner and turn the heat to medium. When the pan is good and hot, add 2 tbs butter and one tbs extra virgin olive oil -this is not an exact science- just add a blob of butter that is sized to your liking, and a swish of olive oil. The olive oil helps prevent the butter from burning.
Add the asparagus, cover and turn off the burner. Shake the pan vigorously to help coat the asparagus. Remove the pan from the burner after 2-3 minutes.If you have a gas burner, you can leave the pan in its place.When you are ready to eat, plate the asparagus and season with truffle salt, fleur de sel, lemon pepper, or a squeeze of lemon.
Spring Parsleyed Potatoes
These aren’t really mashed potatoes, they are more rustic, and some of the pieces are larger. The point is to taste the fresh flavor of the new potatoes and the parsley, not to drown them in butter and salt.
1 cup chopped parsley – more or less if you prefer
2 tbs butter- or more to taste
salt to taste
Boil potatoes until the skins split-about 20 minutes. Drain, remove to a bowl. Break the potatoes apart with a large fork. Add parsley and stir to incorporate. Add butter. Season with your favorite salt. We used truffle salt.