Counter Intelligence
Asparagus and Carrot Fried Pancake

I’m not totally sure why I thought to make this.  I was trying to think of something different to do with asparagus.  Grill for salads?  Saute for an egg scramble?  Then I remembered one of my breakfasts in California this March, when I had a perfect potato pancake with a sunny-side egg and delicious green mole.  I got out my grater and some veggies.

Last week was my first CSA distribution for the 2012 summer season (!!) so instead of buying groceries I looked to the contents of my full fridge.  One large white carrot and three large stalks of asparagus formed the substance of the mix, with some garlic chives for good measure.  I had some Citrus and Garlic Chive Dressing made earlier this week, which perfectly completed the salad.

Asparagus and Carrot Fried Pancake

Asparagus Carrot Pancake

one large carrot

three large asparagus stalks

a few garlic chives

one egg


2T coconut oil

Grate the carrot and asparagus into a bowl, use kitchen shears to cut in a dice of garlic chives.  Pro-tip: knuckles are not grate-proof.  Add some spices you have lying around.  I think I added cayenne, paprika, CHILI 3000 “The Now Chili” (no joke), and a dash of herbs de provence for no good reason.  A pinch of salt, also.  Whisk egg in a separate bowl and add to the carrot/asparagus mixture.  Heat a nonstick pan and add 1T coconut oil.  I made four palm-sized pancakes, and felt I needed to add a little more oil when I turned them.  My friend and breakfast chef in Cali gave me the tip that coconut oil helps to make a nice crust when you fry.  And it did!

I’m maybe a little too pleased with myself over this one.  You should try it.

Creamy Leek and Asparagus Risotto (Vegan)

When looking over my spread from the Crown Heights CSA, today, the leek and asparagus seemed to be asking for it.  I had a vague image of a future pasta-something with a creamy sauce and those green things, all for face.  The internet suggested I add shiitake, but Crown Heights isn’t into mushrooms (I know, right?) and I’m pretty sure traveling in 90 degree heat is a Vice Don’t, and then the internet said RISOTTO and I said Yes.

Now, I had made rice earlier to go with the spicy beans I made yesterday (with a stout from Butternuts Beer and Ale and several jalapenos, but that’s a different post) and it seemed excessive to prepare two different kinds of rice on the same day, so I kind of faked the ending (certainly not the first time…) and it turned out great!  So I present to you: how I made this dish followed by how a normal person would probably make it.

Creamy Leek and Asparagus Risotto (Vegan-ish)

Creamy Leek and Asparagus Risotto (Veganish)

1 bu. asparagus

1 med leek

olive oil

1/2 c arborio rice

1/2 vegan bouillon cube (or 1 1/2 c whatever broth you have)

1 1/2 T flour

1/2 c soy milk

pepper, salt, duh

shaved parmesan (which probably won’t be vegan)

1 btl Red Wine

Pre-heat oven (or toaster oven) to 450.  Wash and trim asparagus (the bottoms are kind of woody, notwant) and line them up meticulously on a baking sheet.  Brush with olive oil, light salt and pepper.  Open bottle of wine.  Roast for about ten minutes, maybe less (depending on stalk thickness) until fork tender/edible.

Cut off the top and bottom of the leek (all the dark green part that looks like leaves, gross, and the bottom part with the tentacles or whatever, also gross) cut in half the hot dog way, and then rinse well.  They can be dirt-y.  Slice thinly and saute on low/med heat in olive oil for a few minutes, until soft.*  Add a cup or so of broth made from your bouillon and hot water, keep heat on low.

In a separate small saucepan heat 1T of oil or butter, add flour and stir, heating briefly.  No burny!  Whisk in soy milk.  This step is most tricky, as just wishing for not lumps is not usually effective.  Do your best.  NBD.  After a couple minutes of stirring over low heat and “out damn lump”-ing with a spoon or spatula, add the mixture to your leeks and broth.**  At this point I added the rice I had already made, stirred well and basically just re-heated/softened the rice.  

Cut your asparagus into pieces that are appropriately sized for eating and add to the rice, stirring.  If you’re going to take a picture or impress your friend save a couple asparagus tops from being subsumed in the rice, and lay atop the dish.  Plate or bowl your food, pepper if you like (you do) and shave some parmesan on there (I usually just use a steak knife across the surface, you get pretty little cheese curls).

Risotto is ready for face!  Enjoy.

*(If you’re a normal person, you’ll not have made rice in your fridge.  Unless normal people get Chinese take-out?  Regardless: you will here add arborio rice and saute it together with the leek for a few minutes.  The rice should darken a shade or two, but not burn or pop or do anything undesirable.  You’ll add your broth or bouillon dissolved in hot water a half cup at a time, stirring often, til the rice is cooked and everything looks great.)

**(If you’re a normal person, there will also be cooked rice in the pan.  I imagine that adding the “cream” at any stage of cooking the rice would be fine, but maybe the last time you add broth it’s actually a mixture of broth and the cream stuff so that it’s easier to incorporate evenly.)