cooking for your boyfriend

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Spring Menu

Menu


Appetizer
Asparagus Soup

Entree
Pesto Pasta

Dessert
Mini Pavlova




Prep

Make Pavlovas and Strawberry Sauce
While Pavlovas are baking, make pesto and soup

Asparagus Soup

Ingredients
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium shallots, 1 diced and 1 sliced into rings
  • 1 medium yukon gold potato, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 10 basil leaves, torn
  • 2 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • salt/pepper
  • 12 ounces asparagus, woody ends removed and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 12 ounces low sodium vegetable stock
Directions
1.  Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a dutch oven over medium-high heat.  Saute diced shallot, potato, oregano, and basil for 5 minutes.  Add garlic, red pepper flakes and season with salt/pepper; saute 1 more minute.  Add water and stock.  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for 10 minutes.  Add asparagus, bring to a simmer and cover.  Simmer for another 7 minutes, until vegetables are soft.  Allow to cool for 5 minutes.  

2.  Meanwhile make shallot rings:  Heat 1-2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.  Cook shallot rings 1 minute per side.  Transfer to paper towel removing excess grease.

3.  Transfer soup mixture to blender or food processor (fitted with steel blade); blend until smooth.  Season with salt/pepper.  Sprinkle shallot rings over soup.  

Pesto Pasta

Ingredients

Nonna's Pesto (makes 1 1/4 cups, freeze leftovers)
  • 2 large garlic cloves
  • 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 cup olive oil
  • salt/pepper if needed
8 ounces medium sized pasta

Directions
1.  In food processor mince garlic, basil, and parsley.  Add cheese and process until homogenous.  With machine running add pine nuts until well incorporated.  Add olive oil in a stream with the machine running until all is used.  Taste for salt and add if needed.

2.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Mix with pesto.

Mini Pavlovas

Ingredients
Mini Pavlovas
  • 3 egg whites, room temp*(see tip)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
Strawberry Sauce:
  • 8 ounces strawberries, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Whipped Cream:
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup sugar
Directions
1.  Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper.  In a standing mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whisk egg whites, vanilla, and cream of tartar on high speed.  Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.  Whisk until glossy and stiff peaks form, about 5 minutes.  

2.  Carefully transfer meringue to piping bag fitted with star attachment (a large ziplock back with a small cut corner will work).  Be careful not to deflate egg whites.  Starting in the center, pipe a 3 inch diameter spiral then work up the sides to 2 inches in height.  Makes about 6 mini pavlova shells.  Bake for 1 hour.  Then turn off the oven and allow to sit for 1 more hour (do not open the oven!).

Strawberry Sauce:
3.  In a small sauce pan, boil all ingredients for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until syrupy.  

Whipped Cream:
4.   In a standing mixture fitted with whisk attachment, whip up cream gradually raising speed to high (every 15 seconds).  Add vanilla and sugar 1 tablespoon at a time.  Whisk for 5 minutes, until soft peaks form.

*Run eggs under warm water for five minutes before you crack and separate.    

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