Kathy Maister's Start Cooking

Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Sauce

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces by Kathy Maister
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Leslie Arthur is today’s guest blogger. Her recipe for Roasted Asparagus with Garlic Mayo can be served as an easy and healthy appetizer or finger-friendly side dish.

Thanks, Leslie, for a great recipe!
*****

Asparagus (which is high in folic acid, potassium, fiber and vitamin B6) has only 4 calories per spear! With all that going for this delicious vegetable, its no wonder asparagus has landed itself on menus everywhere.

Start by rinsing off a pound of asparagus in a colander.

After a thorough washing, pat the spears dry with paper towels to get off any excess moisture. Now, break one stalk where it is naturally the weakest. This will separate the tender top part of the asparagus from its tough and fibrous stem. You will end up discarding about one third of the stalk. (Kathy shows how to peel asparagus here )

You can now use the new shorter “broken” asparagus as a guide to cut the rest of the bunch.

Spread the spears evenly on a baking sheet. For easy clean up, you can cover the sheet with a layer of tin foil before baking.

Drizzle 2 tablespoons of olive oil over the asparagus. Top with a few turns of freshly cracked pepper, and one half teaspoon of coarse salt.

Bake in a 425-degree preheated oven for about 10 minutes.

While the asparagus are roasting, take a moment to make this simple and delicious dipping sauce. Just two ingredients are needed to make this sauce – garlic and mayonnaise. (The lemon is for garnishing the roasted asparagus.)

Start by peeling and grating one small clove of garlic.

Then add the garlic to 1/3 cup of your favorite mayonnaise. I used low-calorie mayo and didn’t miss a thing!

Stir until well blended and transfer to a decorative serving dish.

After 10 minutes in the oven, check the asparagus to see if it’s done. Look for slightly browned and caramelized stems, and a fresh bright-green color. Don’t overcook the spears, or they will become an unattractive, dull shade of pea-green.

Next, transfer the asparagus to a serving platter and sprinkle it with about a tablespoon of fresh squeezed lemon juice.

Garnish the sauce with a bit of lemon zest (optional). You can serve Roasted Asparagus as an easy and healthy appetizer or finger-friendly side dish.

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Split Pea Soup Recipe

print recipe card posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces by Kathy Maister
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Split pea soup is a “stick to your ribs”, hearty soup. I make it with turkey kielbasa (Polish sausage), which turns it into a great winter’s meal.

(In Adelaide, Australia they serve green split pea soup with a meat pie floating in it. You buy it from street vendors and, as odd as it sounds, it’s actually delicious!)

Split pea soup, like all soups, has a flexible ingredient list. For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 pound of green split peas
  • 4 medium leeks
  • 2 Tablespoons of olive oil
  • 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock
  • 1 pound of Polish Turkey Kielbasa
  • 2 Tablespoons of Fresh chopped lemon thyme
  • Zest from one lemon
  • Juice from one lemon
  • Salt and Pepper


Leeks, a tasty vegetable, are a part of the onion family, but have a much milder flavor than their cousins. Trim the ends off and slice them into about ¼ inch slices. Be sure to wash them well!

Heat 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in large pot. Add the dry leeks and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes.

As the leeks are cooking, “sort” the dried split peas. That means to look through them to make sure no tiny stone ended up in the bag. (Many dry beans need to be soaked for several hours or overnight before you can cook them. YOU DO NOT NEED TO SOAK THE SPLIT PEAS FOR THIS RECIPE, or any recipe for that matter.)

Then rinse them under cool, running water.

Add them to the pot, along with 6 cups of chicken or vegetable stock. You can use the bouillon cubes to make the stock, or buy stock in a can.

Bring the pot to a boil and then turn it down to simmer. Cover the pot and simmer it for about 1 hour, giving it an occasional stir.

The peas are going to get totally soft and mushy, and the leeks are going to cook down completely. The soup is going to get really (really) thick.

Cut the turkey kielbasa into bite size pieces and add it to the pot.

Simmer the soup for about another 10 minutes. The sausage is already cooked so we are mostly just heating it through.

While the soup is simmering, chop the fresh lemon thyme. This has a wonderful, fresh, lemony flavor that adds such a lift to this soup! Pull the tiny leaves off the stem. Discard the stem and chop the leaves up.

I also like to add the juice of one lemon along with the zest.

Turn off the stove and add the lemon zest, juice, and lemon thyme. Give it a taste to see if it needs some salt and pepper. If the soup is too thick, add some more chicken or vegetable stock to thin it down a bit.

The soup is ready to serve!

Enjoy!

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8 Winter Soups to Warm Your Belly

posted in Soups, Salads, Sides and Sauces by Kathy Maister

minestrone soup

A hearty bowl of hot soup is great on a cold, winter’s day. Here is a selection that will satisfy both the hearty and the finicky eaters in your family.

  1. Baked Potato Soup This recipe is fantastic! It is so thick you could use a fork to eat it!
  2. Split Pea Soup with turkey sausage is really hearty and healthy at the same time.
  3. Tomato Soup never tasted this good from the can. (A grilled cheese sandwich on the side is a must!)
  4. Mixed Bean and Vegetable Soup, made with lots of root vegetables, has just a hint of curry powder to give it a slightly exotic flavor.
  5. Pumpkin Soup: This no-fuss soup, made with canned pumpkin, is ready in a pinch if you don’t have hours to spend in the kitchen.
  6. Tuscan Bean Soup Fresh herbs are a must for this flavorful, aromatic, and easy to make soup.
  7. Chicken Noodle Soup If you’ve got leftover chicken, some pasta in the pantry and a variety of vegetables in the fridge, you’ve got the makings for a soup that’s hearty and is made in less than 30 minutes.
  8. French Onion Soup Crusty bread and melted cheese make this soup not only delicious but fun to eat as well!

PS.
For those of you lucky enough to be surrounded by sunshine and warm weather, this cold Gazpacho is perfect for dinner tonight.

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