Shaved Asparagus and Beet Infused Goat Cheese Salad


The new spring issue of Edible Door Magazine just hit the stand and features my shaved asparagus salad with beet infused goat cheese recipe along with a wild ramp pesto recipe.   I also have a hands on video that shows you how to make this delicious salad step by step!    The video is posted on Edible Door’s site with a direct link below.


 Shaved Asparagus & Spring Green Salad with Beet Infused Goat Cheese

Serves 8

The goat cheese in this beautiful salad is blended with roasted beets to create a lovely pink color.  To make the portions uniform, line a muffin tin with plastic food wrap and form individual servings.    The addition of cream cheese helps the timbales hold their shape.   Garnish the salad with fresh chive blossoms, edible flowers or a fresh herb sprig.  For smaller portions of the goat cheese, simply use a miniature muffin tin.  

Beet infused goat cheese
3 large red beets, tops removed, divided
1 ½ tablespoon olive oil
10 ounces of soft goat cheese
4 ounces of goat cheese

Herb Dijon Vinaigrette
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
A pinch of white pepper
¼ cup extra virgin olive oil

8 cups of fresh mixed greens or arugula
A small bunch of fresh mint leaves, cut in a chiffonade
12 fresh asparagus spears
2 medium to large radishes
mint leaf sprigs or edible flowers for garnish

For the beet goat cheese timbales
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.   Wash the beets, removing the top where the leaves were.   Place the beets in the center of a large piece of aluminum foil.   Drizzle with one tablespoon of olive oil.   Wrap the foil loosely but completely around the beets.   Place beet packet on a cookie sheet and place in the preheated oven.  Roast until the tip of a paring knife goes easily into the beet, about 45 minutes to an hour depending on the size of the beet.

 While beets are roasting, prepare your muffin tin.     Line 8 muffin molds with plastic food wrap.   Spray the wrap lightly with nonstick food spray.   Try to make the plastic as smooth as possible.  Set aside.

Remove beets and let them cool.   Peel the beets.   Dice one of the beets into ¼ inch pieces and reserve for the final salad.   Coarsely chop the two remaining beets and place into the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade.   Pulse to puree the beets, scraping the mixture down several times.   Add the room temperature goat cheese and cream cheese.   Pulse to combine.   The mixture should be a smooth pink color.  Fill the prepared muffin tins evenly with the cheese mixture.   Smooth out the tops so they are flat.  Refrigerate for one day.   Can be made several days ahead.

To prepare the vinaigrette
Place the vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper in a small bowl.  Whisk to combine.   Slowly add the extra virgin olive oil.  

To prepare the final salad
Using a vegetable peeler, shave the asparagus into long strips.   To do this, place the individual asparagus spears on a flat work surface.   Run a vegetable peeler along the asparagus to make strips.  Flip the asparagus and shave the other side.   Set aside.   Any asparagus pieces left over can be used for soup.

 Thinly slice the radishes with a knife or a mandoline.   Slice the mint leaves into a chiffonade by layering 12 nice sized leaves on top of each other.   Roll them tightly long ways, like a cigar.   Take a chef knife and slice into thins strips.

Place the greens into a large bowl.   Add the fresh mint, shaves asparagus and radishes.   Toss with enough vinaigrette.   Divide the salad among 8 large plates.   

Unmold the beet goat cheese.    Place a goat cheese in the center of each salad.    Divide the reserved diced roasted beet evenly among with 8 plates.   Garnish with a sprig of fresh mint or edible flowers.

Posted in Appetizers, Favorite Things, Recipes, Soups & Salads, Vegetarian | Tagged , , ,

Guinness Beef Stew with Puff Pastry Top


20140221_184657000_iOSDon’t just drink Guinness…..cook with it too!   Here is a terrific recipe, perfect for a St. Patrick’s Day celebration or for a day you just need a great heartwarming meal.   Guinness is added to the base of a delicious beef stew that is brimming with fresh vegetables and herbs.   Top the dish off with a puff pastry topping and your set.   Plus, if you buy a six pack, you have plenty of Guinness left to enjoy with the meal!

Serves 8
Serve as a hearty stew with crusty bread, or top with puff pastry to create a Guinness Pot Pie.   Frozen puff pastry usually comes with two sheets per box.   Thaw according to directions.  You will need one sheet for the recipe.  Refreeze the remaining piece for future use.

2 ½ pounds of boneless chuck roast beef, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 ½ teaspoons salt, divided½ teaspoon black pepper
1/3 cup flour
4 tablespoons olive or canola oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped into ¼ inch dice
2 celery stalks only, ¼ inch dice
2 tablespoons brown sugar
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
2 teaspoons dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
One 11.2 ounce bottle of Guinness
3 ½ cups (28 ounces) of beef broth
one 8 ounce can tomato paste
2 ½ cups peeled carrots, ¼ inch dice
2 cups washed unpeeled red potatoes, cut into ½ inch dice
1 cup thawed frozen peas
2 tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1/4 cup water

Puff pastry topping (optional)
1 12 X 8 piece (approximately 8 ounces) of puff pastry, thawed according to instructions
Egg wash – 1 tablespoon heavy cream combined with one egg 

Combine the flour, ½ teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper in a large zip lock bag.  Place the cubed beef in the bag and shake to cover meat with flour.   Remove floured meat and set aside while preparing the Dutch oven.   Discard the remaining flour.

 Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat.    Add half the meat and sear.   Remove and place in a clean bowl.  Add the additional oil as needed and brown the remaining meat.  Place the meat in the bowl with the other half of seared beef. 

Add the onion, celery, garlic and brown sugar to the pot that was used for the beef.   Cook until the onions are translucent, about 4 minutes.  Pour the beer into the pot.    Add the beef, tomato paste, beef broth, thyme, rosemary and remaining salt.   Cover and simmer for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes on medium heat.   Add the carrots and cook until the carrots and potatoes are tender, about 15 more minutes.   Add the thawed green peas.   On medium heat, drizzle stew with the cornstarch and water mixture.   Simmer for 5 minutes until thickened.   Serve or proceed with the puff pastry topping.

To serve with the puff pastry top
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.   Place the finished stew in clean round baking dish or Dutch oven.  The stew should come up to about ½ inch of the top of the baking dish.   Cut out a piece of puff pastry the size of the baking dish.   Place on top of the stew.   Brush the pastry with the egg and cream wash.   If desired, cut out a shamrock from puff pastry scraps and place on top of the stew.  Brush shamrock with egg wash.  Bake for 14 to 16 minutes or until pastry is golden brown.    Serve immediately.

Posted in Entrees, Holiday & Entertaining, Recipes | Tagged , , ,

Lemon Lover’s Tart

Lemon Lovers Tart

Lemon Lovers Tart

Lemon’s are a favorite ingredient of mine for any dessert.    Almost everyone enjoys the tart flavor of lemon to finish off a delicious meal.

My  Lemon Lover’s Tart has a been a “go to” recipe of mine for many years.    Each component of the dessert features lemon…..zest in the shortbread crust and zest and fresh lemon juice in both the custard layer and lemon curd layer of the tart.

The crust is very delicate.  Instead of rolling it out, simply use your fingers to press it into your prepared tart pan.  Remember to freeze the crust for at least one half hour before baking it.  This will help firm the crust and minimize crust shrinkage during baking.   I “blind bake” the crust first then pour in the custard layer.   Blind baking means you are prebaking the crust without a filling in it.  This ensures that the bottom of the crust will be crisp, not soggy.

So pucker up and enjoy!

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter at room temperature1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
1 large egg yolk plus one whole large egg
1 1/4 cups flour
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 to 2 tablespoon cold water (enough to hold the pastry together)

2 teaspoons grated lemon zest

1/2 cup lemon juice
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream

1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar

3 large eggs
1/4 cup lemon juice
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
2 teaspoons unsalted butter, cold, cut into pieces

To make the pastry crust
Spray a 9 inch fluted tart pan with a removable bottom with non-stick food spray.    Line the bottom with a round of parchment the same size as the pan and spray the paper with the nonstick food spray.  This will help remove the finished tart from the bottom of the pan.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a food processor.   Add the yolk and egg and pulse to combine.  Add the remaining ingredients (except the water) and pulse to combine.   Slowly add enough water to make the dough just hold together when put between your fingers.

With your hands, press the dough into the prepared pan.   Chill in the freezer for 1 hour or overnite.

Line the filled tart pan with foil and place either pie weights (these are metal and can be purchased at cooking stores) or dried uncooked beans or rice (You can reuse the beans/rice as pie weights in the future but you don’t want to use them for eating).   Bake the crust for 12 minutes.   Carefully lift off the foil with the pie weights and continue to bake for another 12 minutes.   The shell should be light brown.   Remove and let cool while you prepare the custard filling.

To prepare the custard filling
Decrease the oven temperature to 325 degrees.   Combine all of the custard ingredients in a bowl and whisk to combine.  Place the mixture in a pitcher. (This make it easier to put in the crust.)   Place the baked tart crust (still in the tart pan) on a baking sheet.   Place it in the middle rack of the oven.   Now, pour the custard mix into the shell (the shell is in the oven on a baking sheet)   By doing this, you don’t have to “travel” with the filled tart and perhaps spill it.

Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.   The filling should puff slightly and be just firm to the touch.  Remove from oven.   Let cool while preparing the lemon curd (The tart can be prepared to this point and refrigerated if you like).

To prepare the lemon curd
Combine the egg, sugar and lemon juice in a saucepan.  Place on medium heat and whisk constantly until thickened.   Be careful not to overcook or some of the egg will cook (looking a bit like scrambled eggs).  Take off the heat, whisk in the zest and butter.    Pour onto the cooled custard layer, evening the curd out with an offset spatula or spoon.   Refrigerate until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, remove the tart ring and slide the tart onto a serving tray.   You should be able to put a flat spatula under the tart and the parchment paper to easily slice it.   Garnish with whipped cream and fresh berries





Posted in Desserts, Holiday & Entertaining, Recipes | Tagged , ,