The weather has been weird, some days it is hot, and some days it has been cooler, especially in the nights it is much cooler, and long sleeves are still on in the night. It is not soup season, but it is soup season! So confusing, ain’t it? It is also extremely fresh produce season , which means fresh asparagus, peas, green garlic, green onions, leeks all showing up in plentiful bounty at the farmer’s market. I have been getting asparagus every week since my girl loves it. She loves it simply sautéed in olive oil, with some garlic, red chilli flakes, and a squeeze of lemon on the top. She is a foodie, that child! She loves her vegetables, and fruits! I recently bought these sweet peppers from Trader Joes, a whole big bag! And she has been having a couple of them in her lunch box on a daily basis. This makes me very happy to see her enjoying her food. She is open to trying different foods, cuisines too. My little one not so much. I love her zeal to eat good food.
So I brought home all this fresh produce from the market, and I had to make a delicious soup with the asparagus, peas, leek, green garlic. This is as fresh as it can get! I brought these beautiful beets home as well from the farmer’s market, and so I decided to make Roasted Rosemary Beet chips from Minimalist Baker’s beautiful blog. The beet chips are really easy to make, and super delicious to munch on as is! I think I finished half of them once they were baked and set! They are so good by itself.
The soup is super easy to make, and you can omit the heavy cream or milk, and make it completely vegan without the crème fraiche as well. I just the little touches to add a little bit of luxury and silkiness to the soup. I love how fresh and delicious and easy this soup is. And it comes together pretty quickly too. Also, it has all the healthy ingredients, and makes for great next day meals as well. The lemon in the soup, and the lemon in the crème fraiche adds a wonderful freshness to the soup.
If you do make this soup, make sure to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on this blog post!
Asparagus, green peas, leeks and green garlic soup
1 pound of asparagus, end of the stalks trimmed, and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 cups of chopped leeks
¾ cup of fresh green garlic chopped fine
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
3 cups vegetable broth
½ cup heavy cream or milk(if you want to keep it light) Or almond milk to keep it vegan
1 shallot finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh lemon thyme finely chopped
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 tbsp olive oil
2 teaspoons of salt(add more if necessary)
2 teaspoons of pepper(add more if necessary)
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips:
(Recipe from Minimalist Baker)
3 medium-large beets, rinsed and scrubbed(You can get red and yellow variety)
Olive or canola oil
Pinch each sea salt + black pepper
2-3 sprigs rosemary, roughly chopped
½ cup crème fraiche
Pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp lemon juice
Baked Rosemary Beet Chips:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 C) and place oven rack in the center of the oven. Thinly slice beets with a mandolin (or a sharp knife), getting them as consistently thin as possible. They should curl a little when cut. This will ensure even baking and crispiness.
Divide between two baking sheets and spray or very lightly drizzle with olive oil. Add a pinch of salt, pepper, and the rosemary. Toss to coat. Then arrange in a single layer, making sure the slices aren’t touching. Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and slightly brown. Be sure to watch closely past the 15 minute mark as they can burn quickly.
Remove from oven. Let cool. Then serve.
In a large pot, on medium heat, add olive oil. Add in the shallots and green garlic and saute for 2 minutes until it is translucent. Now add in the asparagus, leeks, peas. Add in the salt, pepper, thyme and saute for about 7-10 minutes, until softened. Now add in the vegetable broth and let it simmer on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Switch off the stove. Now add in the ingredients slowly into a high speed blender, and blend until smooth.
Add it back into the pot at medium heat. Add the heavy cream, or almond milk if you do not want to use heavy cream. Stir it in. Let it boil for another 5-7 minutes. Switch off the stove.
In a small bowl, mix the crème fraiche, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
Pour the soups in the bowls. Garnish with the crème fraiche mixture and some roasted rosemary beet chips! Serve with toasted olive oil bread.
One of my all-time favorite tarts that I love to make is a nut caramel tart with a chocolate ganache layer on the top. It is seriously the best dessert ever, and you simply need a thin sliver to satisfy your cravings. A little bit goes a long way with the nut caramel tart. I had taken a Pie and Tart class about 3-4 years ago from a famous Pastry School in San Francisco called Tante Marie, which unfortunuately closed down . It was an excellent class and we learnt to make a lot of different kinds of pies and tarts, basic techniques, basic crust recipes, pate sucre etc. This is where I learnt to make the chocolate nut caramel tart.
Couple of weeks ago, I saw Tangelos at the Farmer’s Market. Tangelos are a combination of pomelo and tangerines. They are very sweet, slight tart from the pomelo, very juicy and very delicious! The skin is thin and you can even eat the skin! I actually tried it and I loved the skin by itself. I can only imagine how delicious it would taste if the skin was candied! It would be a perfect addition to any cake! Seeing those tangelos, I really wanted to make a chocolate orange tart! Chocolate and orange is such a classic combination and chocolate and earl grey is also such a classic combination. Few months ago, I bought a loose leaf tea which had earl grey and dried citrus bits in it, that I simply loved sipping on. I had that combination in mind, and using all of these flavors, I brought them into my Chocolate Earl Grey Tangelo Mascarpone Tart.
The crust recipe is adapted from the class that I took. I added dark cocoa powder to it, to give it that beautiful dark chocolatey color! The filling is a luxurious mascarpone cream filling with a lot of tangelo zest and tangelo juice. The tart shell is par baked first to set it. Then it is filled with the mascarpone filling and then baked till goldenish in color and set. Once cooled, it is covered with a chocolate earl grey ganache and left in the fridge to set for a few hours. Then it is upto your whim and fancy how you want to decorate it! I simply piped the leftover whipped ganache on the top and put chocolate pearls to decorate it. You could use some gold leaf if you want to make it more fancy.
I believe any citrus would be great in this tart. I am going gaga over those tangelos, so that is what I used in this tart. This dessert would be a fantastic any time of the year dessert, since citrus is available any time of the year, except for the special varieties ofcourse. It would be a great center piece dessert for a party too.
You have to take the fork through the tart to get a complete bite, to experience all the flavors in one go J. It is seriously divine! The funniest part was how my son was eating the tart! He would take the ganache layer apart. He would then lap up the filling first. Then he would cover the crust with the ganache top, and then eat it like a pizza! It was a sight to remember! I actually have a picture of the deconstructed tart and it is pretty funny! J Moments like these are meant to cherish and what makes making treats for my family so fun!
Hope you all are enjoying the beautiful spring weather wherever you are! It is Birthday Month for my husband and I so we are literally basking and enjoying this month! Funnily enough we are both Taurus, and butt heads all the time, but I could not imagine living my life with any other partner ever! We are so alike yet so different, but we cherish each other and that makes it all worth it! So Happy Birthday Month to us!
If you do get a chance to make this tart, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on the blog post.
In a food processor, add the all purpose flour, almond flour, dark cocoa powder, salt and sugar. Let it incorporate for a minute. Add the cold unsalted butter and pulse again till the butter becomes pea sized. Now add the egg and vanilla extract and pulse again for a minute, till it comes together. It will be a grainy consistency, loose but still bound.
In a rectangular flute pan( about 14x4 inches), pour the contents of the food processor into the crust, and gently press evenly with the palms of your hands, and press it towards the edges to form an even distribution over the entire pan. Once it is even and distributed, put the pan into the fridge for 20 minutes to set. Once set, poke with a fork throughout the base.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
Put a parchment paper on top of the crust, add either a whole pack of kidney beans or pie weights evenly distributed, and par bake the crust in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Once removed from the oven, let the crust cool completely. Remove the parchment paper along with the pie weights.
Tangelo Mascarpone Filling:
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, with a whisk attachment, add the mascarpone cream and heavy cream and beat for 1 minute. Add in the granulated sugar, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract and tangelo zest and whisk for 1-2 minutes until smooth. Pour the mixture into the chocolate tart shell and smoothen out with a flat icing spatula.
Bake for 30 minutes or until top is golden brown in color. It should be jiggly but not liquid like. This means it is set.
Remove it from the oven, and let cool completely for an hour.
Chocolate Earl Grey Ganache:
Simmer on low to medium heat, in a small sauce, the heavy cream and the earl grey tea for about 5 minutes. Switch off the gas. Steep the tea leaves in the heavy cream to infuse it with the tea for about 5 more minutes. Strain the heavy cream through a strainer, to discard the tea leaves.
In a medium bowl, add the chocolate chips and sugar. Add the warm heavy cream and keep it covered for 3 minutes. After 3 minutes, stir to mix all the chocolate. Keep stirring to make the mixture smooth. If there are still chocolate chip pieces, you can use the bain marie method to make the mixture smooth. In the bain marie method, in a small saucepan filled with about 1 cup of water, on medium heat, warm the water for about 3-4 minutes. Add the bowl with the chocolate + heavy cream mixture on the top of the saucepan and keep stirring to melt the chocolate for about 1-2 minutes until it is smooth. Remove off the saucepan.
Add the unsalted butter and mix again until smooth and shiny. Let it cool for a few minutes. Pour the ganache(leave about 1 cup out for the decoration) on the cooled tart. Smoothen it out with a flat icing spatula. Let it set and cool in the fridge for about 3 hours.
In a medium bowl, add the heavy whipping cream. Whisk rigorously with a large whisk for 2 minutes until soft peaks form, or if you want to use a hand mixer to whisk it you can do that as well. With the hand mixer, the soft peaks will form faster in about a minute.
With the hand mixer, in another medium bowl, whisk the chocolate ganache for 20-30 seconds till smooth. Fold in the whisked heavy whipping cream to form a smooth chocolatey mousse texture. Use a pastry bag with a ¼ inch star tip. Fill it with the whipped chocolate ganache, push it down the bag using a bench scraper. Pipe away any design you want on top of the tart. Decorate with the chocolate pearls.
Mother’s day is this weekend. It is indeed a special day. Everyday is mother’s day, but not every day is the mother appreciated, or given the pampering she deserves. Mothers work tirelessly to provide for their family. We are not allowed to fall sick, because if we do, who will do all the chores? Mothers hold the fort together, providing for the family. I do not really like talking much about mother’s day, because it makes me really sad to think of my mom who is no longer there. I feel blessed though to have my own family, and my own children, and to be able to be a mother to my 2 beautiful children.
It was difficult for me to get pregnant, something I have not spoken about at all. I had PCOS, something that is very common amongst a lot of women, preventing women from getting pregnant. It took me more than a year to fix all my issues, with due diligence, and a strong desire to be a mother. I know there are a lot of women in the same boat as me, and it is very hard a process to go through. If you are interested to know more, I will one of these days talk about it a bit more in another post, and my journey to getting pregnant. It is a very sensitive topic. I can just say that I am blessed to be a mother now!
On a more chirpier note, let’s talk about desserts for Mother’s Day! Last year, I made a Rose-Raspberry Lemon Tart with Pink Meringues which turned out so pretty! It was one of my most popular recipes in 2017. This year, I have been wanting to try pate a choux pastry and I finally got rid of my fears and gave it a go! I tried the pate a choux for cream puffs first, my first couple of attempts were pretty good! I was quite happy with the result! I tried a flavor profile which I will reveal sometime end of the year!
Next, I tried the eclairs, I had a failed attempt, my pate a choux did not rise at all. My dough was a bit loose and I know that was the issue. I also opened the oven to turn them around, which deflated the eclairs, so I remembered NOT to open the oven again when the eclairs were baking. I tried it a second time, and this time it was better but not to my satisfactory. The 3rd time is a charm and it worked out perfect! The ridges from the star french pastry tip were perfect, giving it that hard outside, a soft interior inside. The color was perfectly brown, and it was light and hollow to the touch.
Another tip I learnt during my attempts is that you start off baking at a high temperature, so that the choux rises and creates a hollow interior. Then you stabilize and bake at a lower temperature to actually bake it from the inside, and continue to brown the exterior. Finally you bake at a much lower temperature again to finish off the process of baking the eclairs. It is important to cool them completely before filling the eclairs with the pastry cream.
I used a Rose-Raspberry flavor combination for the whipped pastry cream. Also, I folded heavy whipped cream into the pastry cream to create a lighter airy texture on the inside of the eclair and the outside. I wanted the dessert to be a lighter version and I was very happy with the end result.
The flavors from the rose petals and rose water, and also the raspberry puree were absolutely divine in the pastry cream! It gave it a beautiful depth of flavor, and femininity to this delicate french pastry. I kept the decoration on the top as well, simple and elegant. A beautiful dessert to make for the woman who single handedly manages so many things – MOM.
I have adapted the recipe from the one and only Thomas Keller’s book Bouchon Bakery, based on my attempts with the eclairs. It is a stunning cookbook and one of my favorites. The details in the book are impeccable, and I have made a few recipes from this book, and all have turned out fantastic. The techniques in the book are beautifully described, detailed and there are pictures to go along with the step by step techniques.
I hope you get to try this recipe, cause it is seriously wonderful!
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day to all the mothers celebrating.
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Pate a Choux:
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup water
6 tbsp unsalted butter
¾ tsp salt
4 large eggs
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Raspberry-Rose Whipped Pastry Cream:
4 egg yolks
½ + 2 tbsp cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp vanilla bean paste
2 cups whole milk
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/3 cup culinary dried rose petals
1 tbsp rose water
1 cup raspberries
1 cup heavy whipping cream
small pale pink pearls
Freeze dried raspberry powder
RASPBERRY-ROSE WHIPPED PASTRY CREAM:
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Setup an ice bath. Place a medium bowl in ice water and set a fine mesh strainer over the bowl.
In a high speed blender, puree the raspberries to a pulp. Strain the pulp through a fine mesh strainer, to remove all the seeds.
On medium to low heat, in a small saucepan, add the milk and rose petals, and warm till it reaches about 170 degrees F for about 5 minutes. Let the mixture sit.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the egg yolks. Whisk fast till the egg yolks are slightly frothy. Add in the granulated sugar. Whisk for about 3 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and thick. When the whisk is lifted, the mixture should form a slowly dissolving ribbon.
At this point, strain the milk to remove the rose petals. Press the rose petals against the strainer to extract as much flavor off them. Add in the raspberry puree and whisk to combine.
Reduce the speed to low, and add the all purpose flour and mix for 20 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. With the mixer running on the lowest speed, slowly pour in the milk. Scrap the bowl again and mix on low speed for another minute or until combined.
Pour the mixture into a large saucepan, set over medium heat, and stir gently until it begins to thicken. Switch to a whisk and whisk as the cream comes to a simmer. Once you see the bubbles breaking the surface, cook for about 5 minutes longer, whisking constantly, until the pastry cream has thickened.
Pour the pastry cream through the strainer, pressing gently on it to push the thickened cream through. Whisk for about 1 minute to cool slightly, then whisk in the butter. Now add in the vanilla extract and rose water and whisk again to combine.
Pour into a covered container and press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate for atleast an hour.
When ready to use, transfer to a bowl and stir gently until it has a creamy consistency.
To make it light, whip 1 cup of heavy whipping cream in a stand mixer with a whisk attachment for about 1 ½ minutes. Gently fold the heavy whipped cream into the pastry cream to form a light mixture.
Fill a pastry bag with HALF of the whipped pastry cream(with a ¼ inch plain tip). Fill another pastry bag with the remaining HALF of the whipped pastry cream(with a wave tip for the top of the éclair).
PATE A CHOUX:
Adapted from Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery Cookbook
Combine the flour and sugar in a small bowl. Combine the water, butter and salt in a medium saucepan, place over medium heat, and stir as the butter melts. Once the butter has melted, increase the heat to medium-high and bring ot a summer, then remove the pan from the heat and, with a stiff heatproof or wooden spoon, stir in all of the flour mixture. Continue to stir for about 2 minutes, or untl the mixture has a paste-like consistency, then place over medium heat and stir rapidly for 1 or 2 minutes, until the dough pulls away from the sides of the pan and the bottom of the pan is clean; the dough should be glossy and smooth but not dry.
Immediately transfer the dough to the mixer bowl and mix on low for about 30 seconds to release some of the moisture. Slowly begin adding the eggs about 3 tbsp at a time, beating until each addition is completely absorbed before adding the next one. Continue adding the eggs, until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl when pulled with the paddle but then grabs back on again.
Increase the speed to medium and mix for 15 seconds to be sure all of the eggs are incorporated. Stop the mixer. When the paddle is lifted, the dough should form a bird’s beak – it should hold its shape and turn down over itself but not break off.
Use a ½ inch French tip in the pastry bag to pipe the eclairs. The lines that the French tip creates a pretty pattern on the éclair and gives it a nice crispy edge too.
Transfer the dough to a pastry bag, use a bench scraper to scrap the dough all the way to the bottom and refrigerate until cold for an hour before using to pipe eclairs.
Position the racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven and preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spray with baking spray on the sheet. You could also use a Silpat mat instead of the parchment paper. You will be able to pipe 6 6-inch eclairs, 2 inches apart. Draw the template of 6 lines on the parchment paper.
PIPE AND BAKE ECLAIRS:
Starting at the side of the Silpat farthest from you, hold the tip of the pastry bag ¾ inch above the Silpat and apply gentle, steady pressure as you pipe the first éclair. When the éclair is about 6 inches long, being to lessen the pressure, and then stop it as you bring the dough back over itself. It will form a curl on the top at the end of the éclair. Pipe 5 more eclairs on the Silpat. Repeat on a second baking sheet with a parchment paper/Silpat. Wet your finger and press down the tip of each éclair, then spray them lightly with water. Place the sheet pans in the oven and bake for 15 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 350 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes. Lower the temperature for 325 degrees and bake for another 15 minutes, until golden brown, and they feel hollow. If you break one open, the center should be completely cooked. Set on a cooling rack and cool completely before filling or freezing.
TO FILL THE ECLAIRS:
With the ¼ inch plain tip, poke 2 holes, 1 ½ inches in from each end, into the bottom of each éclair. Place the tip of the pastry bag into one hole and apply gentle pressure to begin filling the éclair with pastry cream.(You may begin to see the pastry cream through the second hole; this is okay). Pipe cream as needed into the second hole, until the éclair feels heavy. Repeat for all the eclairs.
TO DECORATE THE TOP:
Use a wave pastry tip, to wave a continuous pattern on the top. Add 1-2 raspberries on the top, on one end of the eclair. Dust freeze dried raspberry powder on the top to cover 1/3 of the éclair where the raspberry is placed. You could add a couple of shiny pale pink balls to decorate too.
The weather all over the country has been bizarre! There was no sign of Spring in many parts of the country last week! All I saw on Instagram stories was snowing in Minnesota, raining, hailing in the bay area, temperature of 30-40 degrees in many parts of the country! The weather gods were really mad it seems!
To welcome Spring and thinking of the tropics, I made these fruity delicious Cheesecake bars! I grew up eating a ton of guava in India! It was one of my favorite fruits, even with all the seeds that we ate ! J We got white guavas in India, never really the pink ones. The white ones have a soft texture inside, and they are very sweet as well. Growing up we did not get passion fruit as well. But the first time that I had passion fruit was when I was 10 years old , and I had it on my summer vacation trip to London! We were staying with my grandma and uncles, and they had passion fruit at their home! I loved how tart it was, but it was not sweet as much. Although once you add a sweetener it tastes sooooo good!!
I wanted to do a Tropical Cheesecake Bar, and hence I thought of a lime coconut cookie base, with a passionfruit and cardamom cheesecake layer, and a guava jelly on the top! All 3 layers are very easy to put together and this recipes comes together quite easily. The process takes some time, because you have to wait for the cheesecake bar, to cool completely outside, and then cool it in the fridge next. Then you layer with the guava jelly and it has to set for a few hours. The flavors are just sooo delicious together and it is like a burst of tropics in the mouth! I love the colors together too with the peachy and the yellow hues!
It is not easy to get passion fruit and Guava here, so I used the frozen passion fruit and guava puree that you can find at any Mexican grocery store. These purees are great for dessert and I am already thinking of my next dessert to make! These beautiful cheesecake bars take me to the tropics, and I can imagine sitting on the beach and eating these delicious bars, ofcourse with a drink in hand ;).
I hope you get a chance to try these bars cause they are divine! If you do get a chance to make them, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment below on my blog post!
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, add in the all purpose flour, almond flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt and whisk to blend. In a large bowl of an artisan mixer, cream butter and sugar together for 2 minutes. Add an egg and beat well for a minute. Add lime juice, lime zest, vanilla extract and mix for a few seconds.
Spray a 13x9 inch deep baking pan with vegetable spray. Lay out parchment paper fitted to size with flaps overlapping on both the sides so that it is easy to lift the entire slab once baking completed and cooled. Press dough evenly into it with the palm of your hand and even it out smoothly.
Passion Fruit Cheesecake Layer:
Preheat the oven at 350 degrees.
In a food processor, add the cream cheese, and crème fraiche. Mix it for 15 seconds to soften and blend. Add in the granulated sugar and mix again for 10 seconds. Add in the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla extract, passion fruit, cardamom powder, drop of food coloring and mix again for 40 seconds to a minute until well blended. With a spatula, pour the content into the baking tray, evening out with the spatula.
Now with the baking pan in the middle or lower rack, bake the cheesecake bar for about 45 minutes, until top is slightly golden brown in color. Once baked, switch off the oven, open the oven door and let the heat out slightly, and close it again and let it sit for about 10 minutes.
Gently remove the baking pan and let cool completely for an hour. Let it set in the fridge for an hour.
Guava Jelly Layer:
Warm up 1 cup of the guava puree along with the water. Mix the 2 gelatin envelopes with 1/2 cup of the guava puree and mix with the warm juice. Add in the sugar and whisk until combined and sugar is dissolved. Remove the baking pan from the fridge and pour jelly, gently onto the passion fruit layer. Using a small cake spatula even out the layer.
Let it set in the fridge for about 4-6 hours. Once jelly is set, remove the baking pan from the fridge. Gently using the parchment paper over flaps, lift the entire slab onto a large cutting board. Using a sharp chefs knife, cut clean layers of the cheesecake into squares. Whip on a paper towel after each cut. To get clean lines, I used a small cake spatula to gently swipe around the edge of each square to make it look clean.
Store in the fridge in an air tight container for a week.
My husband and I love making cocktails come Friday! Mostly I love to use fresh fruit in my cocktails. Since blood oranges were in season these past couple of months, we were on a Paloma roll! This blog post is short, cause I just want to showcase the recipe mostly! It is a 5 minute recipe using fresh blood orange juice, lime juice, mescal or tequila, grapefruit soda and blood orange and rosemary simply syrup!
I made candied blood oranges a few times, and every time I make it, I get a beautiful blood orange and rosemary infused simple syrup from the candied blood oranges that I make, and that I keep in the fridge for my cocktails! No wastage at all!
I hope you enjoy this recipe and get a chance to make it with any other citrus since blood orange season is over now! I bet Tangelos would be fantastic in this drink! Happy almost weekend!!
Spring signifies the onset of beautiful spring green produce in the market like asparagus, fresh peas, broccolini, artichokes, lemons! ALL GORGEOUS RIGHT?! My family loves grilled asparagus sauteed in some olive oil, with garlic, red pepper flakes, and drizzle of lemon juice on the top with lemon zest on the top. Simple preparation but oh so delicious!
I partnered with Sequoia Grove Wines from Napa Valley, to create a wine pairing with a springy dish! I decided to use all the beautiful spring produce to create a Spring Pasta with a Grilled Artichoke, Fresh Peas and Mint Pesto. I used farfalle for the pasta, and grilled asparagus, broccolini, shitake mushrooms in the pasta as well, along with pine nuts, lemon zest and lemon thyme! I finish off the pasta with some shaved pecorino romano, which adds an amazing saltiness to the pasta! I paired this beautiful dish with the Chardonnay from Sequoia Grove Wines, and it is so light, airy and goes perfect with this dish! This wine would pair wonderfully with a lovely spring salad as well.
There is an awesome Giveaway that will be live on my Instagram feed on Tuesday March 27th, going on till March 31st , so please do check it out and enter! You do not want to miss this!
For the pesto, I used canned grilled artichokes, fresh peas, and mint from my garden, along with parmesan cheese, lemon zest, olive oil and garlic. The pesto is really tasty and can be used in so many wonderful ways! The spring veggies like asparagus, broccolini, shitake mushrooms are sauteed in a pan with olive oil, shallots, and charred slightly. I top it off with some lemon zest. Simply add the veggies into the pasta tossed with the pesto, top it off with pine nuts and lemon thyme! My daughter loved the pasta so much, she took the leftovers for lunch to school for the next 3 days!
While we are talking about fresh produce, I want to tell you a little story, about an experience that I recently encountered. I got strawberries from Trader Joe’s two weeks ago, I had some with my breakfast the next morning and then they went at the back of the fridge and I forgot all about it. The only reason I got strawberries was because we were all craving them, since they are NOT in season. I was cleaning the fridge after two weeks, and I found these strawberries sitting at the back of the fridge and the strawberries were still red and looked good!!!! I was shocked!! How can strawberries stay fresh even after 2 weeks?! They should have perished and gone bad but instead they still looked fresh! They were probably GMO strawberries. The moral of the story is : 1.) Do not buy produce that is NOT in season. 2.) Go get some fresh produce from the local farmer’s market, support your local farmers and get the produce from farm to table.
Well, I hope you get to try this recipe, and if you do, please do not forget to tag #thejamlab on Instagram and/or leave a comment on my blog post below!
Spring Pasta with a Grilled Artichoke, Fresh Peas and Mint Pesto
1 cup grilled artichokes in a bottle
1 cup fresh peas
½ cup fresh mint
1/3 cup pine nuts
½ cup grated parmesan cheese
3 garlic cloves
1 ½ tsp salt
1 ½ tsp black pepper
1 ½ cup olive oil
1 lb. any kind of pasta you prefer
15 asparagus stocks, with the bottom chopped off.
About 10 broccolinis
About 10 shitake mushrooms chopped in half or left whole
2 tbsp olive oil
1 shallot finely chopped
1 tbsp lemon thyme
1 tsp black pepper
¾ tsp salt
Shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
¾ cup of freshly toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp lemon thyme leaves
In a small pot of boiling water, on medium heat, add the fresh peas and let it cook for 2 minutes to soften. After 2 minutes, remove it off the stove, drain out the water, and wash the peas with cold water in a strainer.
In a food processor, add the grilled artichokes, the cooked fresh peas, mint, garlic cloves, salt and pepper and process till smooth. Add in the pine nuts, parmesan cheese and process again till smooth. Add in the 1 cup of olive oil slowly while processor is running until it is blended. Remove it in a container, and add the remaining olive oil and gently mix.
In a pot of boiling water with salt, on medium to high heat, cook the pasta as per the direction on the pasta package.
Drain the pasta, once cooked, and put it in a large bowl. Immediately add in the pesto, and mix well. Let it sit and soak up all the flavors.
Cut each asparagus into 3 pieces. Cut the broccolini into 2 or 3 pieces. Now in a large saucepan, on medium heat, add in the olive oil. Add in the shallots and saute for a minute. Add in the asparagus, broccolini, mushrooms and saute for 2 minutes. Add in the salt, pepper and lemon thyme, and let it brown on medium to high heat for 4-5 minutes, stirring to get the charred marks on the vegetables. Switch off the gas. Add the veggies to the pasta, and mix. Garnish with the shaved pecorino romano, pine nuts, and some lemon thyme.