Three Recipes using abundant spring asparagus

Written by contributing writer, Renee

Three Recipes Using Abundant Spring Asparagus  www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com
It started snowing the week of Thanksgiving where I live, and I haven’t seen our grass since. After a long (and I mean LONG!) winter, seeing our farmer’s markets open, and abundant bundles of spring asparagus pop up makes every last ounce of winter blues melt away!

West Michigan is known nation-wide for our abundant asparagus in the late spring, and every April and May I load up our house with green goodies bursting with spring flavor.

We eat pretty seasonal, so after our long winter I can’t tell you how *good* asparagus tastes!!!

Roasted asparagus is a great start. If you have never had asparagus before, I would start here! The flavor is incredible, and the recipe is very easy. Serve it along side beef roast and potatoes, or a roasted chicken and squash!

Three Recipes Using Abundant Spring Asparagus

Roasted Asparagus
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • 1-2 lbs asparagus, coarse ends cut
  • 2-4 TB friendly fat to roast in (butter, coconut oil, lard, bacon grease work great)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (optional but so good!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Toss the asparagus with the friendly fat, garlic, and seasoning on a sheet pan and spread out evenly.
  2. Roast at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes. I love the little tree tops a little “crispy” so sometimes I go a little longer – all in your preference – check them around the 20 minute mark in case you want them less “done”.

Asparagus soup is a great way to take advantage of end of the season “sales”. Right around the end of May when the asparagus season comes to a close, the farmers at the market start selling their asparagus bundles super cheap. As in usually half the cost per pound and even less if you buy them in 10 pound groups. So what do I do with all that asparagus? Soup! This soup freezes up so great. And you can make large batches that you can stash away so that late fall or early winter you can pull it out for something different to have!

Three Recipes Using Abundant Spring Asparagus

Asparagus Soup
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • 3-4 TB friendly fat to cook in (butter, coconut oil, lard, bacon grease)
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic (just coarsely chop – it will all be pureed anyway!)
  • 1 ½ quarts chicken stock (homemade preferable for extra nourishment and to avoid BPA)
  • 4-5 small red or yellow potatoes, coarsely chopped
  • 2 bunches asparagus, hard ends discarded, coarsely chopped
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Garnish with sour cream or coconut milk if you wish

Instructions
  1. Saute the onions in the friendly fat over medium high heat for about 5-10 minutes with a couple pinches of salt to bring out their juices and sweeten.
  2. Add the garlic and cook a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the stock, potatoes, and asparagus and bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the asparagus and potatoes are cooked through.
  5. Use a handheld blender or regular blender to puree the soup smooth. Add salt/pepper to taste.
  6. Garnish with sour cream or coconut milk if you wish.

Asparagus stir frys SO well. The flavor is amazing, and you can pair it with other spring favorites like peas or radishes. If you have those really thick asparagus stalks that have a bit different texture (in my opinion!) you can shave the spears with a peeler and it makes perfect stir fry veggie additions!

Three Recipes Using Abundant Spring Asparagus

Spring Veggie Pasta (Grain Free Option)
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • ½ package of brown rice pasta (if you are grain free you could use chopped potatoes)
  • ½ medium onion, chopped
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch asparagus (about 1lb), coarse ends removed, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas
  • 1 large tomato, seeds and juices scooped out and chopped (could do halved cherry tomatoes!
  • ⅓ cup reserved starchy liquid from cooking the pasta (I cook my pasta in stock for more nourishment and so my liquid is stock too but water works as well)
  • 1 ½ cups cheese, shredded (Raw cheese preferable. Otherwise stick with organic right off the block – shred your own – the pre shredded cheeses have too many unnecessary additives. If you are dairy free – just leave it out! It will be just as good with a drizzle of olive or coconut oil!)
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste
  • Optional extra virgin olive oil to drizzle over top to garnish

Instructions
  1. Cook the pasta to al dente and set aside. Reserve about ⅓ cup of the starchy cooking liquid for the veggie mixture sauce.
  2. Saute the onion in a few TB of butter or coconut oil and a pinch of salt for a few minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook for a minute.
  4. Add the asparagus and another pinch of salt and cook on medium high for a few minutes until bright green and slightly tender.
  5. Add the peas and tomatoes for a minute or two and then add the starchy pasta liquid.
  6. Simmer the mixture about 5-10 minutes and then pour over the cooked pasta.
  7. Stir in the cheese until melted and is combined with the sauce making it creamy.
  8. Serve with a drizzle of olive oil if desired.

 

What are your favorite ways to use up your spring asparagus?



Make-Your-Own Gummy Vitamins

Make Your Own Gummy Vitamins

I really like gummy vitamins. Well, let me rephrase that: I really like fruit snacks, chewy candies, and even gummy vitamins. It’s a terrible weakness of mine. I think I picked it up when I was a pre-school teacher and we kept fruit snacks in the classroom as treats instead of candy.

Regardless, when I decided to try taking Chaste Tree Berry extract as part of an herbal treatment last year, I realized that guzzling down the bitter liquid in a glass of water was actually not my “cup-of-tea.”

Unfortunately, for several months I just didn’t take my daily supplement (I could only work up the nerve to drink it about once a week) and herbal treatments are usually only effective if taken regularly for at least three months.

So I regrouped and formed a new plan. All those gummy vitamins that are filling up the store shelves? Why couldn’t I make some? I did some research and realized that they could be made easily with what I had in my cupboard! I did buy a candy mold (just to make taking my vitamins more fun…) but they can easily be made in a shallow dish and sliced into small squares.

The main herb that I’m trying now is Chaste Tree Berry, so this recipe is using just that extract. However, it can easily be changed to (or combined with) whatever extract you are looking to take.

For this recipe, I take 2 gummies, 2x a day, but do your own research to decide what dosage you require.

Any type of juice can be used, but my favorite is pineapple.

Gummy Vitamins
 

Ingredients
  • ⅔ cup juice
  • 4 Tablespoons honey
  • 10 teaspoons gelatin
  • 6-8 t herbal extract

Instructions
  1. Pour juice in a small pan.
  2. Sprinkle gelatin over juice.
  3. Let stand 2-3 minutes.
  4. Slowly heat until gelatin is dissolved, 2-3 minutes.
  5. Let cool until just slightly warm, mix in honey and extract.
  6. Pour into candy molds or a shallow dish and cool until hardened.

 

Have you ever made your own gummy vitamins?



Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin With Roasted Root Veggies & Apples

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Root Veggies and Apples. (www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com)

I think my family totally gets me.

You know. Like they know how to make my hippie real foodie heart smile!

My in-laws gifted us with some beautiful food from our local farmer for my birthday this past November, and I couldn’t have been happier!

One of the gifts was some beautiful pork tenderloin that I just couldn’t wait to get my hands on.

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Root Veggies and Apples. (www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com)

Well in my deep freezer it sat. Partly because I just wanted to know it was there (we don’t usually splurge on such beautiful meat on our budget!), and partly because I had no idea what I wanted to do with it.

Most of the pork I grew up on was either Shake N Baked (for real – look at the ingredient list on that one!), or barbecued.

I had settled on doing something barbecued (comfort zone), when my husband encouraged me to try something new. I told him I didn’t want to mess up such a great piece of meat and he kept encouraging me to try something different!

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Root Veggies and Apples. (www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com)

I’m so glad he did!

Here is what I came up with! Change up the root veggies to what you have lying around. And since I grew up on pork chops and applesauce, I figured roasting some apple slices alongside might just work – and it *so* did!

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin With Roasted Root Veggies & Apples
Author: 
 

Ingredients
  • 2-3 lbs pastured pork tenderloin
  • 4-5 carrots, cut to serve
  • 4-5 potatoes, cut to serve
  • 4-5 small apples, cut to serve
  • ½ large onion, sliced long
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2-ish TB all purpose season or herbs de province
  • 1-2 cups white wine for the bottom of the pan
  • Sea salt/pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Rinse and pat dry your tenderloin.
  2. In a large skillet or electric fry pan, melt 3-4 TB butter, coconut oil, or lard.
  3. Saute the carrots and potatoes with a couple pinches of sea salt for about 10 minutes. Transfer them to your roasting pan.
  4. Saute the apples and onions with a couple pinches of season for about 5-7 minutes. Transfer them to your roasting pan.
  5. Add more butter to your skillet or pan and sear all sides of the pork tenderloin. About 2-3 minutes on each side – you are looking for a nice brown sear but it won’t be cooked all the way through.
  6. Lay the seared pork on top of the veggies in the pan and pour the drippings from your skillet over the meat.
  7. Pour the wine into the bottom of the pan, smear the garlic on the pork, and sprinkle the seasonings over the veggies and meat. Be generous with the season on the pork so it will crust.
  8. Roast at 425 degrees for 20 minutes without a lid.
  9. Let the meat rest 5-7 minutes before transferring to a cutting board to slice.
  10. Serve the pork medallions with the veggies and apples and drizzle the wine sauce over top.

Kitchen Tips:

  • This is really not as fussy as it looks – I was cleaning up, changing diapers, etc while things were sautéing and searing. And then it was into the oven – and really everything was all in one pan!
  • Read THIS about why pastured pork is superior to conventionally raised pork. If you are unsure of where to find a good source, try asking around at your farmers markets, or find a local WAPF chapter near you – they will be happy point you in the right direction!
  • I used my large electric skillet for sautéing and searing – plenty of room!
  • I used a roasting pan with a lid for the roasting, but nice enamel dutch oven would work too.

Herb Crusted Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Root Veggies and Apples. (www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com)

Let me know how it turns out if you try it!



How to make croutons

I went years and years without ever attempting to make my own croutons, most of the time going without because I stay away from boxed foods whenever possible. Sometimes I’d purchase them if I really, really wanted them on my soup but then we went gluten-free at home and I’d have to take out a loan from the bank to buy GF croutons.

For realz, they are crazy expensive.

Then one day it hit me, why not make my own! Surely I was the first person to ever think of this right?

Alas, the interwebs abound with recipes on croutons, and I may just be a bit slow when it comes to ideas in the kitchen.

croutons_02_112911

 

It’s so simple I can’t even begin to call it a recipe. But they are also so good on homemade soups that I just must tell you how to make them.

Good bread makes good croutons! I like to use my basic GF bread when we don’t use it all in a day or two and I’ve also used my GF sourdough bread with great results as well.

How to make croutons
Author: 
Recipe type: Soups
 

Ingredients
  • 2 cups day old bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • salt and pepper

Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
  2. Place bread cubes and butter into a large bowl and stir to coat.
  3. Spread bread cubes in a single layer on a cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for about 20 minutes, stirring two to three times during baking to make sure they don’t burn.
  4. Let cool and use sprinkled over soup or salad

Notes
You may also prepare these in a skillet on the stovetop, just pour the coated bread crumbs into a medium hot skillet and stir occasionally until golden brown.

 

croutons_05_112911



Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

One of the reasons I’m such a fan of soups is because they are, more often than not, a one pot meal. They also reheat well and it’s super easy to make a double batch to have some always at the ready in your freezer for quick dinners or super easy lunches.

Adding rice to our soups has also been a great way to keep them gluten-free, but also giving us the bit of grains that we desire. I know there are a lot of paleo folks out there who would argue with me, but over the years, and after trying a strict paleo diet in which I did everything “right”, I find that my body does best with a bit of grains here and there. And the wild rice mix in this soup is super pleasing to the eye as well.

chickenwildrice

Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
Author: 
Recipe type: Soup
 

Ingredients
  • 3 cups shredded roast chicken
  • 1 cup wild rice mix
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 cups chopped leeks (about 3)
  • 1-2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions
  1. Saute onion, leeks, and carrots in butter until onions are transparent.
  2. Add in minced garlic and saute for one minute.
  3. Add the chicken, wild rice, and broth to the pot, bring to a boil and then let simmer, covered, for 20 minutes or until rice is tender.
  4. Slowly add in the milk and season with salt and pepper to taste, letting it simmer for an additional 10 minutes to thicken slightly.
  5. Remove from heat and serve.

 

I’ve also been known to add spinach or kale into the pot during the last few minutes of cooking. The greens are not only great for you, but add extra color to your bowl!

Creamy chicken and wild rice soup   (www.naturalfertilityandwellness.com)



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