Asparagus and Cauliflower Rice Bowl

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Spring is here, and in North Carolina that means one thing–the return of the dastardly yellow pine pollen. It coats everything in its smothering path. Cars. Sidewalks. Window screens. Our cat. When we finally have rain, the roads feature yellow rivers of stormwater. Lakes start to resemble chemical waste spill sites. Our dog (a hound mix) lives for sniffing everything, so she spends about a quarter of her waking hours sneezing. In my book, there is little to celebrate about this crazy tree sex business. Except aspargus.

Yellow pine pollen season, while annoying, is a visual marker of the seasonal change from winter to spring. It also means fresh, local asparagus is due at the farmer’s markets, and that is definitely something to celebrate. I love fresh asparagus in stir fry, steamed or sauteed. But my favorite way to eat asparagus is to roast the spears with a little olive oil and salt. Simple and easy. If we eat outside on the deck, they also get a slight dusting of pollen, but we won’t complain.

This bowl meal is easy to put together and is really delicious. If you haven’t tried making cauliflower rice, give it a go–it is very easy and a great, grain-free substitute for rice. The eggs give this dish some needed protein, but you could replace them with sautéed tofu for a vegan meal as well. We are hearty eaters, so this recipe fed two of us, but you could add more vegetables and stretch it out to four servings (it could also serve four if you have lighter appetites than we have!).

Spring is here! Clean off the deck furniture, wash off the pollen and enjoy a fresh season of delicious fruits and vegetables!

Asparagus and Cauliflower Rice Bowl
Serves two hungry adults

1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 red bell pepper, seeded and sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 head of cauliflower
2 tablespoons coconut oil (or other vegetable oil)
1/2 onion, peeled and chopped
4 farm eggs
1 tablespoon coconut oil
4 tablespoons homemade vinaigrette dressing
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil.
Trim the asparagus stem ends, removing the tough bottom 2 inches, if necessary. Add asparagus to the baking sheet.
Add the cut bell pepper to the baking sheet.
Toss the asparagus and pepper with the olive oil, salt and pepper and arrange vegetables in an even layer.
Roast vegetables for about 10 minutes or until your desired level of roasting.
While vegetables are roasting, wash the cauliflower and trim the florets of the stem and leaves.
Add cauliflower florets to the bowl of a food processor (you may need to do this in two batches).
Process the florets on low until the cauliflower is in rice-sized pieces (about 30 seconds or so).
Heat he coconut oil in a deep skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the cauliflower is cooked and slightly soft, but not mushy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove from heat and keep warm.
Remove vegetables from the oven and keep warm.
In a small skillet, heat the remaining tablespoon of coconut oil and cook the eggs until your desired doneness (I like the yolks to be a bit runny).
Assemble your bowls by dividing up your cauliflower rice, topping that with the asparagus and peppers, and topping all of that with the eggs.
Drizzle the bowls with the dressing and a bit of grated cheese.
Serve immediately.

Roasted Asparagus and Potato with Egg

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Throughout the spring, this became a favorite quick dish of mine. It is very easy to prepare, absolutely delicious and super clean. I ate it frequently for dinner, but it would make a terrific breakfast as well if you have some time to wait for the vegetables to roast! You can vary the vegetables with what is in season for you and create something new every time!

Roasted Asparagus and Potato with Egg (makes 3 servings)

  • 1 lb. fresh asparagus, washed and trimmed
  • 1 lb. small, red potatoes
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 3 farm eggs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. line a baking sheet with foil.
  2. Scrub your potatoes and chop them into 1-2 ” dice
  3. Toss the potatoes with half the olive oil and distribute on the baking sheet evenly.
  4. Roast the potatoes for approximately 15 minutes.
  5. Toss the asparagus spears with the remaining olive oil and add to the baking sheet.
  6. Roast the vegetables for about 10 minutes more or until the asparagus are done to your liking (I like them just a bit browned).
  7. While the vegetables finish, cook three eggs, sunny side up.
  8. Remove the vegetables from the oven and distribute on three plates. Top each plate with one egg.
  9. Sprinkle with cheese and serve!

 

Polenta with Mushrooms, Kale and Egg

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This dish made a rather unconventional Valentine’s Day supper for us this year. Tired of the usual “let’s grill a steak,” we opted for a simple, but delicious dish of polenta (in our case we used local stone ground grits), winter greens, rich mushrooms and onion, topped with a farm egg and shaved Parmesan cheese. It was a delicious, almost-vegetarian meal that was both warming and nutritious.

Polenta with Mushrooms, Kale and Egg (serves 2)

2 cups water
1/2 cup stone ground grits or polenta
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cream or almond milk
2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
2 cups mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cups kale or Swiss chard, cleaned and chopped
Kosher or sea salt and ground black pepper, to taste

2 fresh farm eggs

Add the water and salt to a saucepan and bring to a boil.
While water is heating, add the olive oil to a skillet and heat to medium high. Add the onion and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until the onion is soft.
Add the garlic and cook 1 minute. Reduce heat to medium.
Add the mushrooms to the skillet, stir well, add some salt and pepper and sauté for about 5-6 minutes.
While mushrooms are cooking, add the grits to the boiling water, stir well and cook according to directions (about 6 minutes). Add the milk and butter. Stir well and keep grits warm.
Add the kale to the skillet, stir well and cook 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted. Correct seasonings, if needed.
Heat a small, non-stick skillet over medium heat and cook the eggs to your desired doneness (I like them to have runny yolks).
Assemble the dish by adding hot grits to two bowls. Top with the mushrooms mixture. Add an egg and some shaved Parmesan cheese to the top of each bowl.
Serve immediately.

Summer Egg Salad

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Egg salad. Oh yes, summer is here.

When the days are warm and no one feels like cooking (well, not me anyway) and the thought of something cool and creamy for dinner makes everybody happy, it is time for egg salad. This is one of those dishes that is quick, easy, delicious and very budget-friendly–even if you buy farm fresh eggs like we do.

Any dish where eggs are the star deserves farm fresh eggs. We buy our eggs from farmers who pasture raise their chickens–not only do the egg yolks look healthier in color, but the eggs themselves taste noticeably better than grocery store eggs. They are also healthier for you, providing more omega-3 fatty acids than factory eggs and packing more protein as well.

I know people who don’t like to make this dish because they have a hard time peeling their hard boiled eggs. The recipe below details my system and I have never had this go wrong. Yet.

You can make this cold salad up to 24 hours ahead. Keep in the refrigerator with a slightly damp paper towel or piece of plastic wrap covering (touching) the surface of the egg salad to prevent any discoloration. Egg yolks, like avocados or bananas, react quickly to oxygen in the air and can turn brown. This doesn’t mean it’s bad, but it won’t be as appetizing.

We serve our egg salad with locally made sourdough from La Farm bakery or honey whole wheat from Great Harvest Bread Company. Pumpernickle is good, too, if you can persuade your children to eat it (if you can, please send tips). It is also delicious served on a bed of greens. Good sides for egg salad include homemade pickles or pickled okra, celery sticks, carrot sticks or even kale chips!

Egg Salad (makes about 3 cups)

  • 6 farm fresh eggs
  • 2 stalks organic celery, trimmed and diced (optional)
  • 1/3 cup good quality mayonnaise (we used Dukes)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
  1. Gently put the eggs in a stock pot or large saucepan. Add water to cover eggs by 1″ and cover pot with lid.
  2. Heat pot over medium high heat until water starts to boil. Remove from heat, and let sit for 12 minutes.
  3. Unocover pot and remove eggs to a colander. Run cold water over the eggs to stop the cooking process.
  4. One at a time, take each egg and gently tap it all over its surface so that the surface of the egg has small cracks all over it.
  5. Holding the egg under a stream of cold water, gently peel the shell from the egg. The running water helps a lot. If some of the white sticks to the shell, that’s ok. You’re going to mash them up anyway. Put the peeled egg in a medium sized mixing bowl.
  6. Continue with all your eggs until they are all peeled and in the mixing bowl. With the back of a fork, mash the eggs so you have a rough mixture of egg whites and yolks.
  7. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl and mix together with the fork until you have a thick, yellow mixture. Add more mayonnaise if your mixture seems too dry. Taste for seasoning and correct as needed.
  8. Serve on bread, toast or on a bed of greens!

Tomato, Avocado, Bacon, Lettuce and Egg (TABLE) Sandwiches

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The weather has finally turned toward summer, and this week I ramped up my running schedule. I love getting out on the greenways, but a side effect of more exercise is that I am STARVING. Not just a little peckish–I am “I could rip someone’s head off” hungry. Trying not to eat like a linebacker, though, ’cause if I do, I won’t be running anywhere. This version of a spring BLT sandwich (a TABLE sandwich) is more satisfying than the regular variety without being bad for me (like the 5 Guys burger I was contemplating). This is definitely a thick, Dagwood-style sandwich and it makes a meal on its own.

Why TABLE? Well, TABLE sounded like a better acronym for the ingredients than BLEAT, right? All of these ingredients except the avocado came from our local farmer’s market and were locally produced–even the whole grain, multigrain bread from La Farm.

Speaking of bread, if you are watching your carbs, this sandwich could also be served open-faced, if you wanted to eliminate one slice of bread (when the bread is fresh and truly whole, multigrain, I’m up for both slices!).

For supper, I sautéed some fresh asparagus in about 2 tablespoons of the bacon fat until they were just tender, and served that with our sandwiches. The sandwiches were so filling on their own, we didn’t need an extra vegetable, but it was delicious all the same. Yum!

Spring TABLE Sandwich (makes one sandwich)
One sandwich has 560 calories and 23 grams of protein. It is a meal by itself!

  • 2 slices whole, multigrain bread (La Farm)
  • 1/4 organic avocado
  • 1 slice local raw cheddar
  • 1 organic Roma tomato
  • 1 leaf organic lettuce
  • 2 slices cooked local bacon
  • 1 farm egg
  • 1 teaspoon organic mayonnaise
  1. Toast the bread slices and set aside.
  2. Mash the avocado with a fork until it is guacamole texture. Set aside.
  3. Slice the tomato and set aside.
  4. In a small nonstick pan, cook the egg to your desired done-ness. I like lightly fried with a slightly runny yolk.
  5. Assemble your sandwich by spreading the avocado on one slice of bread. Top with cheese, bacon, tomato, egg and lettuce.
  6. Spread mayonnaise on the remaining slice of bread and put that slice, mayo side down, on your sandwich.
  7. Dig in!

 

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