My days off are spent a little differently now that we are living in the beach house. We now have a roommate and instead of two furry kitchen helpers, there are six. Yes, I know – six. I have noticed a slight increase in my stress level due the constant barking at things like the mailman. People walking by. A light breeze….
But then there are the rainy days. I love the rainy days.
Hazy days like these bring a strange tranquility to the household, one that is seldom seen when the sun is bright and beaming through the glass windows. They bring a sense of peace. The understanding that we need time to unwind, be still and watch the rain fall seems to be universal between humans and animals. The other day I was practicing camera techniques, and snapped some of the calm in all it’s glory. This blog post will most definitely serve as a remembrance for the next year of what was when the chaos resumes and the sun filled days return. I feel I will be visiting it quite often…which is very fortunate because it also contains one of my newest most favoritest recipes ever: Creamy cashew pasta with spring roasted veggies.
Oh my word. Who ever said you need dairy to make a creamy alfredo type sauce, I challenge you. In addition to the delicious sauce that I could seriously eat out of a bowl, this dish also contains some of my favorite spring veggies, like asparagus, sugar snap peas, and spring onions. Zucchini is beginning to make it’s grand appearance and I needed to try out my new noodle spiraler (which is totally awesome by the way) so this delicious green veggie made it into the mix and it did not disappoint. Let’s not leave out the roasted part. Oh the roasted part…
Top it off with your favorite protein of choice. Sooooo good!
Aren’t warm comfort foods on rainy days the best!
Seasonal Nutritional Highlight: Asparagus
A member of the Lilly family, asparagus is more of a modern vegetable to the US. Due to it’s lengthy time to mature (3 years), it wasn’t grown here until the late 19th century. However, asparagus has been regarded as a delicacy among European countries for centuries, especially the nobility. The shoots have to be harvested by hand which is typically why the price is a little higher than other seasonal veggies. If left alone, the frilly tops will grow into feathery frond flowers. It typically peaks in the spring from March to June. Asparagus bunches should squeak when given a firm squeeze and spears should snap easily when bent to know that it is fresh. Avoid asparagus that is shriveled, slimy, wet or has smelly tips. The shelf life of asparagus can be prolonged by placing the cut end down in 1 inch of water. It should be stored with the tips trimmed 1 inch and wrapped in a wet paper towel, then placed in a plastic bag and in the refrigerator crisper drawer. They usually store well for 2-3 days. Asparagus is a low fat, low sodium and cholesterol free food, known mostly as a diuretic, and for the pungent smell it causes in the urine. A great veggie for detoxification, asparagus is rich in the compound glutathione needed to help rid the body of toxins. It also contains nutrients such as potassium, fiber, vitamin B6, vitamins A and C, and thiamin. Asparagus is one of the highest providers of folic acid, with 60% of the RDA coming from a 5.3 ounce serving in the form of folacin, used to help create healthy blood cell formation and prevent liver disease.
For more on Asparagus, check out these links:
- Cashew Sauce
- 1 cup cashews
- 1 cup white wine
- 2 cloves garlic
- Juice of 1 lemon (approx 2 tbsp)
- 1½ tsp salt
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 spring onion
- 1 cup water plus water for soaking
- Pasta and Veggies
- 1 bunch asparagus, wooded stems trimmed
- 2 cups sugar snap peas
- 3 zucchini
- 1 tbsp High heat oil for roasting (avocado or coconut)
- 1 lb pasta of choice, cooked according to package directions
- Cover cashews and soak in water for at least 20 min to soften
- Heat oven to 450 degrees
- Toss asparagus and sugar snap peas in a small amount of high heat oil (like avocado or coconut) and sprinkle with salt. Place on a greased baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes or until browned. Let cool for a few minutes and then roughly chop to bite sized pieces.
- Spiral zucchini with noodle spiraler and set aside. Make pasta, drain and place in large bowl. While pasta is still hot, stir in zucchini noodles. Add roasted veggies to pasta.
- To make sauce: Drain cashews. Place cashews, white wine, garlic, lemon, and salt in high powered blender, ninja or food processor and puree until smooth, about 2 minutes. Heat a small saucepan to medium heat. Sauté onion in oil for 3 min until tender. Pour cashew puree into onion, add 1 cup water and bring to a simmer. Let simmer for 2-3 minutes (if mixture thickens too much, add a little more water).
- Pour sauce over pasta and veggies. Toss to coat.
- Add you favorite protein or eat vegan style. Enjoy!
What is your house like on rainy days?