Fresh asparagus is the truest sign that spring has sprung. These edible spears have been cultivated throughout the ages by Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans. Rich in dietary fibre, folic acid, and potassium while low in calories and containing no fat or cholesterol, these young shoots are now prepared nearly worldwide in countless ways and an be easily pickled for keeping.
3/4 tsp (4 mL) curry powder
1 Tbsp (15 mL) sea salt
1/4 cup (60 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
30 pieces asparagus spears, medium-sized (bottom inch peeled)
1/4 cup (60 mL) grainy seed mustard
1 Tbsp (15 mL) hot water
1/3 cup (80 mL) maple vinegar (available at fine grocers or substitute sherry vinegar)
1/3 cup (80 mL) extra-virgin olive oil
Salt and white pepper, to taste
Heat barbecue or inside-grill to medium-high heat. Blend curry powder and salt together. Drizzle oil on asparagus, then season with the curry-salt mixture.
Grill asparagus in batches if necessary so as not to crowd the grill and avoid flames. Cook until golden and lightly charred on both sides.
Place mustard in a stainless steel bowl; slowly whisk in hot water and maple vinegar, then slowly whisk in oil. Taste and lightly season with salt and pepper.
Toss asparagus with your favourite salad greens–bitter lettuces work well–and serve with maple mustard vinaigrette.
source: "Celebrating Spring with Araxi", alive #306, April 2008
Inspired by the flavours of Vietnamese-style summer rolls, this satisfying dinner is built around a marinated flank steak that will stretch to feed a crowd. Marinating flank steak over several hours tenderizes a cut that starts out tougher than some others but can’t be beat for flavour. The marinade flavours of lemon grass, lime, mint, cilantro, and red chilies shine through and are topped off with a spicy mango dressing. Those enjoying this board can choose to eat salad-style or make lettuce wraps filled with slices of beef and a host of crunchy vegetables. Party perfect If you don’t have a board big enough to accommodate everything, split items between two smaller boards. If you’re serving over a few hours, you can also keep some of the ingredients back from the board, in the refrigerator. This will help you keep the board replenished and looking good as stocks are depleted. Leftover sauce makes a great marinade for coleslaw.
Give veggies and dip a punch of protein with this savoury white bean dip. Roasted garlic gives this dip a mellow but rich flavour. The vegetables can be changed up according to the season, but don’t skip the beautiful Belgian endives. Their slightly bitter flavour makes an excellent contrast to the slightly sweet dip, and they work as a built-in scoop. Make-ahead dip This is a great dip for making in advance. It can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. However, before serving, allow it to come up to room temperature. This will accentuate the rich flavour.
Arranging salads on a board is a great way to let people choose what they like and build their own bowls according to their tastes. Family and friends can arrange a super hearty grain bowl salad using the protein-packed, iron- and vitamin D-rich ingredients on this board. This salad board takes its cues from a classic Niçoise salad but leans on Asian ingredients and flavour inspirations. Jammy eggs For perfect “jammy” eggs, bring a pot of water to boil. Using slotted spoon, gently submerge eggs, cover, and set timer for 6 1/2 minutes. While eggs are boiling, fill medium-sized bowl with cold water and ice. The minute the time has elapsed, using slotted spoon, remove eggs and place in ice bath. Allow to cool for 3 minutes before serving.
This sweet and savoury brunch board has something for everyone and is tied together by go-anywhere, do-anything buckwheat pancakes flavoured with caraway seeds. These hearty little beauties make a great base for smoked salmon and a creamy caper and chive sauce. Those who fall firmly on the sweet side of things will be equally delighted when their pancakes are piled high with berries or bananas. Serving up Provide plenty of utensils for serving and plates and cutlery for eating to encourage guests to make up their own plates—forks or small tongs for pancakes or smoked salmon, spoons for serving up berries, and small dishes or ramekins (with spoons) for sauce and smaller items such as hempseeds.