It’s almost the end of asparagus season here in Toronto and I need to share this recipe with you before it’s too late! This has become my go to appetizer – so if you happen to come to my house for dinner this savoury tart may just be on the menu otherwise you will have to make it for yourself!
I also love and make a tomato version of this tart. You can find the recipe in the summer 2013 issue of Edible Toronto, the beautiful food magazine that is all about food and everything that celebrates food.
While other veggies are still growing in the soil and soaking up the sun, asparagus is one of the first vegetables harvested in spring.
Serves: 6 as an appetizer
- 1 sheet (from 450 g pkg) frozen butter puff pastry, thawed
- 1 lb fresh asparagus
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
- 1/2 cup goat cheese
- 2 tsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 tsp chopped fresh thyme
- Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper; set aside.
- On lightly floured surface, roll out pastry to 10-inch square; transfer to prepared pan. Using fork, prick pastry all over; refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Bake pastry in centre of 400°F (200°C) oven until light golden and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes. Let cool slightly.
- Brush pastry all over with some of the egg; sprinkle with cheeses, leaving 1-inch border. Arranges the asparagus on top of the cheese. Drizzle with some olive oil. Scatter the fresh basil and thyme over the asparagus.
- Return to oven and bake until golden and puffed, 12 to 15 minutes.
- Let cool for 5 minutes; cut into long rectangles or squares. Serve warm or at room temperature.
- (Make-ahead: Let cool completely; cover and refrigerate for up to 24 hours. Reheat in 350°F oven for 5 minutes.)
I have made vegetarian burgers before but never thought to make them mini and since Gordy loves anything burger I thought I could pass these mini burger off without questions. Boy was I wrong. Before he even tasted one the competition was on. Gordy made his with wagu beef, American cheese, ketchup and pickles. Mine are made with black beans, oatmeal, organic ketchup and a dollop of dijon. Surprise, surprise, Gordy told me he really liked the black bean burgers, but ate all the the wagu burgers! I tried.
Mini anything is fun! You just need to know when to stop eating them!
My mini black bean burgers.
This is Gordy’s mini made with wagu beef.
This recipe make about 12 mini burgers.
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 medium carrot, shredded
- 1 to 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 10 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained
- 1 -1/2 cups quick-cooking oats
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon organic ketchup
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 8 mini hamburger buns (optional)
- 8 lettuce leaves (optional)
- In a large saute pan and a bit of oil and saute onions in oil for 2 minutes. Add garlic; cook for 1 minute. Stir in the carrot, chili powder and cumin; cook 2 minutes longer or until carrot is tender. Remove from the heat; set aside.
- In a food processor add the black beans, oats, mustard, soy sauce, ketchup, pepper and carrot mixture; process until all ingredients are well blended.
- Shape into mini patties.
- Add a bit of oil to your saute pan and add patties and cook of each side until lightly browned.
- Then place on cookies sheet and heat in the oven for 10 to 15 minutes or until they are slightly crispy on the outside and soft in the inside.
- Serve on buns with lettuce and dijon mustard or whatever topping you enjoy.
Last Saturday, my friend Deborah invited me to come with her to a Nia class. It was a special class with live music. I danced free style and felt free. After class we had lunch at my house and I put together this salad with fresh Ontario asparagus, strawberries, quinoa and some seeds on top for crunch. Kind of like dancing, but in a bowl!
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 leek, sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 bunch asparagus, chopped into 1-inch pieces (cut off the tough ends)
- 1 cup strawberries sliced in half or quarters depending on size
- 3/4 cup fresh or frozen peas
- 1 cup fresh parsley, or fresh mint, or a combination, chopped
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds for garnish (optional)
For the dressing:
- 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, you may need more
- 3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 tbsp pure maple syrup or honey
- 1/4 tsp sea salt & lots of pepper, to taste
1. Rinse quinoa in a strainer and place into a medium pot. Add 1.5 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and cover with lid, and cook for 15-17 minutes, or until fluffy and all the water is absorbed. Remove from heat, and let sit covered for 5 minutes.
2. In a large skillet sauté the leeks and garlic in the oil for about 5 minutes over medium heat. Season with lots of salt and pepper. Add in the asparagus and sauté for another 5-10 minutes or until the asparagus is just tender, but still a bit crisp. Stir in the peas and heat for a few minutes and then remove from heat. Let cool slightly before adding the dressing.
3. Whisk together the dressing ingredients and adjust to taste. Pour dressing into the cooked quinoa and veggies. Add the sliced strawberries, parsley and mint. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Just before serving sprinkle with pumpkin seeds or any seed or nut you like.
Deborah and I just before the class.
We are almost done our house renovation and have been living at my mother-in-law Florence Hertzman’s apartment. We have a stellar view of the city, beautiful watercolour paintings by Flo on the walls and lots of family photos of grand-kids and our great grand-parents to look at over and over. But what I like best is opening up the cabinets and looking at the fine assortment of china, cutlery, serving pieces and delicate dessert plates. There is also the prettiest collection of tea cups, I find them a bit too small to drink my morning tea but I thought the would make the perfect holders for these raw crackers and guacamole. Thank you Grandma Flo for sharing your home with us. xo
The Mango Pomegranate Guacamole
The Buckwheat, Sunflower & Almond raw crackers.
This raw cracker recipe was inspired from the cookbook Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish.
You will need an electric food dehydrator for these crackers.
- 2 cups whole raw almonds, soaked for one hour
- 4 cups buckwheat groats, soaked for one hour
- 2 1/2 cups raw sesame seeds, soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 1/2 cups sunflower seeds, soaked for 3o minutes
- 1 cup whole flax seeds, soak for 30 minutes
- 1/2 cup chia sees, soaked for 30 minutes
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds, soaked for 30 minutes
- 3 cups red bell pepper, chopped
- 1 cup nutritional yeast
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 7 cloves garlic
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1 cup ground golden flax seed
- To soak the nuts and seeds place in bowl and cover with water. Drain when ready to use.
- In a food processor fitted with a metal blade, process red peppers, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, garlic, salt, and spices until smooth.
- Add soaked almonds and buckwheat and process until smooth.
- Transfer to a large bowl. Add soaked sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, flax seeds and the ground flax seeds, mix well with a wooden spoon.
- Divide batter in your nonstick dehydrator sheets.
- Dehydrate at 105 degrees for 18 to 20 hours or until completely dry and crispy.
- Cool and store in an airtight container.
- Store at room temperature.
Mango Pomegranate Guacamole
- 4 ripe avocados (2 pounds total)
- 1 cup finely chopped white onion
- 2 fresh Serrano chiles, finely chopped (2 tablespoons), including seeds
- 1/4 cup fresh lime juice, or to taste
- 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds (from 1 pomegranate)
- 3/4 cup diced peeled mango
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
- Halve, pit, and peel avocados.
- Coarsely mash in a bowl.
- Stir in onion, chiles, 1/4 cup lime juice, and 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, then fold in pomegranate seeds, mango, and cilantro.
Season with salt and additional lime juice.
- Garnish with lime wedges.
I know this is really good because right now Gordy is eating this on his gluten-free waffle!
Have a Happy Passover.
1 1/2 cups unsalted natural pistachios
1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
1/2 cup chopped dried cherries or dried cranberries
1.2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped dried apricots
1/4 cup sweet passover wine
1/4 cup pure pomegranate juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon finely grated orange peel
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
- Stir pistachios in heavy medium skillet over medium heat until lightly toasted and fragrant, 4 to 5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
- Combine dates, cherries or cranberries, raisins, apricots, wine, and juice in medium bowl. Let stand 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Mix in honey, lemon juice, orange peel, and spices.
- Chop pistachios; mix into haroset.
- Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and chil