I sold my home last fall, put most of my belongings into storage, and moved into a small cottage in a historic downtown area. I don’t miss the mortgage, the yard work or the cleaning, but I do miss my garage and my big kitchen! I went from a kitchen with all of the “conveniences” (e.g., garbage disposal and dishwasher) to a kitchen “wall”!
But, size is no excuse not to cook and eat well! I’ve got my box of recipes, a couple of favorite cookbooks, Kitchen Aid mixer and food processor, Rival Crockpot, and a bread maker. I’ve made big pots of soup, breakfast casseroles, and even made a small ham for Easter (actually cooked it on Saturday so I could get a head start on the sandwiches!) and stollen at Christmas. I try to spend a bit of time every weekend doing some cooking so that every dinner during the work week is NOT a bowl of cereal!
April is almost over! Here in NW Florida spring is in full swing (not so much for Jen who is expecting snow early next week). I made my first trip of the season to the Farmers’ Market downtown. It is still a bit early for most vegetables but there was asparagus, fresh herbs, honey, strawberries, fresh eggs, and many baked goods.
I adapted this salad recipe from something I cut out of a magazine several years ago. You can take advantage of the relatively lower price on asparagus this time of the year, and this salad is a nice meatless alternative with the pine nuts and beans contributing some protein. And, best of all – it tasted great!!
Two cups cooked white beans (I used two cans of Great Northern Beans)
2 cups orzo
½ cups cooked asparagus
½ cup pine nuts (raw or toasted)
¼ sweet onion, thinly sliced
¼ cup fresh basil, chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 cloves garlic, chopped
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾ olive oil
Steam the asparagus for about six minutes (cooked but still bright green and crisp). Rinse in cold water to stop cooking process. Prepare the orzo per package directions (I used the water leftover from steaming the asparagus). Rinse and drain beans. Combine all in a large bowl with pine nuts, onion and basil.
Combine dressing ingredients and mix well. Add to salad and toss. Refrigerate.