Sunday, April 22, 2012

spring veggie & goat cheese dip

yesterday was beautiful in seattle.
it was sunny and warm and i quite enjoyed myself.

about half way through the day,
i realized it was just too hot for jeans (seriously)
and so, i adventured into my closet to grab a pair of shorts
and planned to continue on with my day.

well, what you probably don't realize, if you don't live in seattle,
is that re-finding your summer clothes after a long and dreary winter is a daunting task.

after looking high and low on every shelf and inside of every drawer
i decided i must have relocated these so as to not take up space
during the 10 other rainy months of the year :)

so FINALLY, i find a large 3 by 4 by 2 foot tupperware container
that literally holds every single summer thing i own.
(slight exaggeration)

in any case.
i pull out the first pair of shorts i see
and as i put them on i realize they still have tags attached. hilarious.
apparently it didn't get warm enough to debut these last summer.

oh the wonders of living in this beautiful city :)

1 cup 3/4-inch pieces asparagus
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 cup chopped leeks (white and pale-green parts only)
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups whole milk
1 cup grated mild white cheddar
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
114-ounce can chopped artichoke hearts in water, drained
1/4 cup fresh (or frozen, thawed) peas
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
4 ounces crumbled fresh goat cheese, divided


1. preheat oven to 450 degrees.

2. cook asparagus in a large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes.
drain; let cool.

3. melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
add leeks and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 10 minutes.
whisk in flour; gradually whisk in milk. bring to a simmer, whisking constantly.
cook, whisking occasionally, until thickened; remove from heat.

(leeks = my new favorite veggie)

4. add cheddar; whisk until cheese is melted and mixture is smooth.
season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.

5. fold in asparagus (reserve tips), artichoke hearts, peas, chives,
mint, flat-leaf parsley, zest and 2 oz. crumbled fresh goat cheese.

6. transfer mixture to a 4–5-cup baking dish;
arrange asparagus tips on top and dot with another 2 oz. goat cheese.

7. bake until golden brown and bubbling, 15–20 minutes.
let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

tips & review
*i actually LOVED the fresh ingredients
the fresh herbs, lemon zest, etc. made it super delicious
*next time i actually would have put in more veggies (maybe 50% more)
*my dish size was not ideal... i think a shorter wider dish would have
allowed the mixture to set up a bit more and have more crispy surface area
*cook your milk mixture slightly longer than you need to
*overall i really enjoyed the flavors in this. perf for a summer party :)
*it was a bit heavy, but still :)


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