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Recipe Swap – for Jun. 2, 2011

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Right now, my crisper is stuffed with asparagus, thanks to a stash fresh from my Mom-in-law’s garden last weekend. She bundled up at least eight pounds of the crisp green spears for us. We’ve been eating asparagus steamed, on toast, in casseroles and enjoyingallof it.

If you don’t have access to garden-grown asparagus, Manitoba grown store bought

ASPARAGUS MUSHROOM BAKE

I tested this recipe after finding it on Peak of the Market’s website. I did find the colour somewhat unappealing with the nutmeg giving it an off-brown colour and I also wondered how well this would bake in such a thick sauce. But the asparagus was tender and done in less than the recommended 45 minutes. This is a tasty dish. I used one lb. of asparagus instead of two and one cup of soft bread crumbs. I would recommend this recipe if you have abundant asparagus and lots of thin spears. Thick spears will take too long to bake. – Lorraine

2 tbsp. butter

4 c. mushrooms, sliced

1 c. onion, chopped

3 tbsp. butter

3 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. chicken bouillon

1/2 tsp. nutmeg

1/4 tsp. salt

Melt two tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Sauté mushrooms and onions until tender; remove from pan. Add three tablespoons butter to pan. Heat to bubbly. Combine flour, bouillon, nutmeg, salt, pepper and stir into butter. Gradually stir in milk. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Boil and stir one minute. Stir in asparagus, mushroom mixture and lemon juice into sauce. Pour into large buttered casserole dish. Combine crumbs and one tablespoon butter. Sprinkle over vegetables. Bake uncovered 325 F until asparagus is tender, about 45 minutes.

Serves 6.

Source: Peak of the Market ( www.peakmarket.com)

1/8 tsp. pepper

1 c. milk

2 lbs. asparagus, trimmed

and cut into thirds

1/2 tsp. lemon juice

1/2 c. soft bread crumbs

1 tbsp. butter

also began reaching retailers last week. The crop belonging to Manitoba’s largest asparagus producer, Doug Connery at Portage la Prairie, often cited in news reports these past weeks, was spared from flooding. It’s now being harvested and shipped to retail outlets across the province.

Asparagus is a short-season, perishable crop, so you’ll only find Manitoba grown on store shelves for the next six weeks or so. The rest of the year those elastic-bundled spears will have travelled thousands of miles to your dinner plate – from as far away as South America.

SCALLOPED ASPARAGUS

This is a quicker version of the above recipe. You can boil the eggs and steam the asparagus at the same time. I used just 1-1/2 c. of milk and made the sauce on the stove-top over medium heat instead of blending butter, milk and flour together as the recipe suggests. This would work with just half the sauce mixture. Otherwise, delicious!

3 c. asparagus

3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced

3 tbsp. butter

4 tbsp. flour

2 c. milk

1/2 c. cheddar cheese,

grated

1/2 c. bread crumbs

Trim and wash asparagus; slice into one-inch lengths. Steam until tender crisp; drain well. In a lightly greased casserole dish; arrange layers of asparagus and eggs. In a small bowl; blend butter, flour and milk. Season lightly with salt and pepper. Pour mixture over asparagus and eggs. Sprinkle with cheese and top with bread crumbs. Bake in preheated 350 F oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until cheese melts and dish is thoroughly heated.

Serves 6.

Source: Peak of the Market ( www.peakmarket.com) recipe

RHUBARB RAISIN SQUARE

A rich, easy-to-make dessert and another version of the meringue-topped tea-time slice so often found in community cookbooks.

Base:

1/2 c. butter

1 c. flour

1 tbsp. sugar

Grease an 8 x 8-inch pan. Blend butter, flour and sugar and press into pan. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes.

Filling:

2 c. chopped rhubarb

3/4 c. sugar

3 egg yolks (reserve

whites for topping)

1/2 c. raisins

2-1/2 tbsp. flour

1 tsp. orange rind

1/2 c. milk

Stir all ingredients together and pour over hot base. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes.

Topping:

3 egg whites

1/4 c. icing sugar

1 tsp. vanilla

1/4 c. flaked coconut

Beat egg whites until foamy. Add icing sugar beating until stiff and glossy. Beat in vanilla. Spread over filling and sprinkle with coconut. Bake at 350 F for 10 minutes until browned.

Source: Manitoba Women’s Institute 1910-2010 commemorative cookbook

STARVIN’ GUY CHICKEN PIE

A guaranteed meal to make them stop long enough for supper!

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 c. reduced-sodium,

low-fat chicken broth

2 potatoes, peeled

and cubed

3 carrots, chopped

1 c. green beans

Prepare a large pot with non-stick spray. Add onion and garlic, cover and heat until tender. Add chicken broth, potatoes, carrots and green beans. Bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 12 minutes. Potatoes should be slightly undercooked.

1 can fat-reduced

mushroom soup

1-1/2 tbsp. flour

2 c. chopped, cooked

chicken breast

1 tbsp. parsley

1/2 tsp. dried basil

1/2 tsp. dried thyme

1/4 tsp. black pepper

In a small bowl, stir together soup and flour. Add to veggies, along with chicken, parsley, basil, thyme and pepper. Stir well and pour into medium casserole.

1 c. flour

2 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. sage

1/4 tsp. salt

2 tbsp. butter or

margarine

1/3 c. milk

To prepare crust, combine flour, baking powder, sage and salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter or margarine until mix resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk. Form a ball with the dough, add extra flour as needed. Roll out dough on floured surface, to fit the top of the casserole. Place over mixture. Prick several times with fork.

Bake at 400 F for 25 minutes.

Source: Manitoba Women’s Institute’s 1910- 2010 commemorative cookbook

About the author

Reporter

Lorraine Stevenson

Lorraine Stevenson is a reporter and photographer for the Manitoba Co-operator with 25 years experience writing news and features. She was previously a reporter with the Farmers Independent Weekly and has also written for community newspapers in Winnipeg and Manitoba's Interlake.

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