Well, we are almost out of the woods, in regards to the weather, which is absolutely GREAT! Beverly has been so anxious to get the growing started she has been talking about it for the last month and a half, and back then I told her no way, we must wait or we will get burned by a late season snow. I think now, we can definitely move forward and get spring started early. The first sign of spring for me around the farm are the wild purple nettles that will soon be everywhere. A weed in most people’s minds, this edible plant is fun to work with and every year we think of new stuff to do with them. An old school recipe for elderflower fritters gave me the idea to tempura fry them and serve them as snacks with elderberry vinaigrette. So, you can expect to see those fun fritters on our menus until they start to disappear when the weather gets too hot.
I am also very excited about all the special events we have planned for this year. The first one being this month on Friday, March 9. Dena Drews will be bringing in a spectacular lineup of Amalie Robert wines from Oregon. One of my new favorite wines in the Pinot Meunier, but the whole Amalie Robert portfolio is of the highest quality. Please check out the website www.amalierobert.com to learn more. Keep a lookout for our next Loudoun Area Chefs Collaborative, coming soon, hosted by Mark Marrocco of Magnolias at the Mill. Follow me on twitter for updates @patowmackchef and @patowmackfarm.
In the spirit of an early spring, here is a recipe I learned while working in Spain, for white asparagus soup. Since fresh asparagus won’t be available until the end of April, this is a perfect recipe for the warmer weather, using canned asparagus. I recommend using a high quality canned white asparagus, that you can purchase from a specialty market like www.latienda.comThis recipe should hold you over until the fresh stalks of asparagus start popping up in your local farmers market. If you would like to make it a more substantial meal, feel free to enjoy this gazpacho with some toasted bread and sliced Spanish ham.
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Recipe: Gazpacho de Esparragos Blancos
Yields 4 portions
2 cups, canned white asparagus, strained
¼ cup, day old bread
6 toasted almonds
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
½ 1/2 tablespoon pedro ximenex/sweet aged sherry
2-4 tablespoons water
salt to taste
zest of one lemon, for garnish
6 toasted almonds, chopped, for garnish
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil, for garnish
Set aside the lemon, almond and olie oil for garnish. In a blender, puree all the other ingredients into a smooth consistency. Season with salt, to taste. Set puree aside in a refrigerator, or even in a container set in ice to keep cold until ready to serve. When ready to serve, pour soup into small cups or bowls and garnish each portion with a small amount of lemon zest grated with a microplane, some chopped almond and a drizzle of olive oil. Enjoy