Sunday, March 15, 2009

How do you Pi?

Yesterday was π day for those who missed it.

We celebrate 3.14159265358979323846264338327950288419716939937510... on 3/14 (or 3.14 if you prefer)

And how else to celebrate, but make Pie!

I rarely make anything resembling dessert at this point in my life. Dessert is a huge indulgence both in terms of calories and time to bake and so my pie was also my dinner, and also a favorite thing:

Spinach Pie

It isn't round, so π isn't really needed, but it was time to eat so pie was. Or something like that. I haven't made this recipe in years, but ran across it in my binder the other day and I love spinach. and cheese. and pie. And with the date coming up I knew I had to celebrate.
So here is my recipe. At least I'm pretty sure that's what this scrap of paper is. The notes in black are newer, scribbled hastily, just like the recipe...

(my "real" writing is much neater. My recipe scribble? I can't explain)
I gathered & stemmed my pile of spinach
Unfortunately, at first read, I thought the recipe said only a pound, instead of 1 1/4 pound. I also thought I had a pound, but it must have been weighed in its little plastic container so I only had 12 oz. So my big pile, was cooked and shrunk down to this

After a little lookey at some other random recipes, I decided to add some extra onion. I had a HUGE shallot so that was chopped, and these lovely sweet green onions along with my lovely little green onions They were sauteed first, then mixed together with the spinach and then the cheeses and parsley & eggs

Next was the laying of the Phyllo. You lay a layer then butter it, then another then more butter. that + next to the 1/2 cup? it probably should say + another 1/2 cup! ( I may have been able to get away with only 3/4 cup, but once I melted it, I figured I should use it) and besides I have to go with the Noble Cathy on this one!
And, I had help. (you'll see in a minute)
So after 5 or 6 layers of trying not to tear the phyllo, and making sure it wasn't too dry, or too wet, or too cold... I finally got to dump the bowl of filling in. (Yay) and then it was more phyllo wrestling. But Bob was having a good time. Have ya met Bob? He's the one mooning ya!
Well, after a bake for 40-45 minutes, we had a lovely spanakopita, or spinach pie if you will.

From spin pie

Yes, I still think it needs more spinach. And maybe I should have chopped it a little better. But the overall review? 2 Yums up!

And tonight? Ahhh, I am wary. The Ides of March are upon us. We will be having Caesar Salad!


Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Putting the Ha in Haiku

I have discovered
Haiku Circus comic strip
It makes me giggle


Friday, March 6, 2009

Tastes Like Spring

Last year in the first week of March, I spotted this

This year, in the first week of March, it looked more like this.

(no, those aren't fresh stalks of anything peeking through the snow. Just dead stuff from last year)

The end of winter is a tricky thing in Pennsylvania. Winter just wants to stay a little longer than we want. Like a house guest you can't get rid of.

So, while I can't see the signs of spring yet. If I try, I can find the tastes.

At the farmer's market there was a lovely bunch of asparagus tips (That means it is spring somewhere, right?). They called to me. I responded. HP has been back from CA for about a week, & he brought with him some lovely lemons from his father's tree. So, I had lovely asparagus and bright lemon in the house, there was only one thing to do with it: I put together a risotto that I developed a few years ago.

Shrimp Scampi Asparagus

The basics of the risotto remain the same as all risottos, but the flavors are a knock out.

  • The Stuff
  • 4 cups Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 small Onion finely chopped (about ½ of a cup)
  • 2 Shallots finely chopped (about 1/3 of a cup)
  • 5 cloves Garlic, finely chopped-divided (about ¼ of a cup)
  • Coarse Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper
  • 1 cup Arborio Rice
  • ½ cup dry white wine, such as a Pinot Gris (Grigio)
  • ½ lb. Asparagus, chopped— ½ the tips reserved
  • ¾ lb. Small (50-60's) Shrimp
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • ¼ cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • Thin slice of Lemon & fresh grated Parmesan Cheese for Serving

What to do with it

  • In a medium saucepan, bring broth just barely to a simmer; then keep warm over low heat.
  • In a large saucepan, melt butter over medium/medium low heat. Add onion; season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion has softened and is starting to become translucent, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Add Shallots & ½ the garlic. Sauté until soft.
  • Add rice; cook, stirring until well coated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add Wine; cook, stirring until absorbed, about 1 minute.
  • Add about 1 ½ cups broth to rice; simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until absorbed, 4 to 5 minutes. Continue adding broth, about 1 cup at a time, waiting for one cup to be absorbed before adding the next, stirring occasionally, until rice is creamy and just tender, about 25 minutes total (you may not have to use all the liquid).
  • Lower the heat. Season Shrimp with salt & pepper, then add to rice. Add a little more broth if needed, stir cook about a minute until shrimp begin to turn pink. Add Lemon Juice, remaining Garlic and Asparagus, stir cook about a minute until Asparagus starts to turn bright green. Add Parmesan, season with salt and pepper and stir some more. When cheese is incorporated, add Asparagus Tips to top of rice. Put lid on and steam for a minute or two to barely cook the tips. Serve with thin slice of lemon & fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

This is very pretty with pink shrimp & bright green asparagus and the thin slice of bright yellow lemon in the center. I guess you would know that if I had my act together & got the camera down to the kitchen instead of the third floor.

After the first bite, HP smile and said, "MMMmmmmmm, this tastes like spring"

That was the idea.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

No Thank You

I always found that presentation is a large part of the dining experience.
This has no appeal to me. And the idea of cocktails in beakers and test tubes hasn't had appeal since I graduated college. (scroll through all the pictures)


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