Watercress Pudding with Quail Eggs and Asparagus

P3318737Niether of us celebrate Easter, so tomorrow will be a quiet Sunday afternoon.  No egg hunt or peeps for us, but we have always been a HUGE fan of cadbury mini eggs and therefore this holiday brings a lot of joy.  True and funny story; several years back when cadbury mini eggs were only sold in April, we were desperate so we went online and ordered several bags from London.  Then we found out it was a scam.  There is just something about eating mini eggs…like quail eggs.  Have you ever tried it?  They are really useful to cook with especially in soup when you want the yolk contained.  In celebration of Easter, we made a little sophisticated appetizer that might please your guests, though it may not be something that would be normally served at Easter or even allowed?  We’re thinking on Passover terms here.  Really simple flavor but the pudding texture will please everyone at the table.  Plus, the quail eggs will add a fun accent to the dish.  Happy Easter!
P3318699 P3318701P3318695 P3318721Adapted from Aran Goyoaga
Yields:  4

1 Tbs olive oil
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 cup (40grams) watercress
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut milk
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 eggs
3 quail eggs
1.5 ounces (45 g) asparagus, cut up

1.  Preheat oven to 325° F.  In a medium saute pan, heat olive oil over medium heat and add garlic.  Cook for 1 minute or until it turns golden and then add watercress, salt, pepper, and nutmeg.  Cook for 1 minute or until the watercress is wilted.  Remove from heat.
2.  In a blender, place watercress, coconut milk, and heavy cream.  Puree.  Then, add the regular eggs and blend.
3.  Divide custard among 4 ramekins.  Place ramekins in a deep baking dish.  Pour hot water into the baking dish, enough to go halfway up the sides of the ramekins.  Put the dish into the oven.  Bake for 30-35 minutes.
4.  In the meantime boil the quail eggs.
5.  Blanch the asparagus tips in salted boiling water for 1 minute and then shock them in ice water. Toss the asparagus with salt and olive oil.
6.  When everything is ready, garnish the custard with the asparagus and quail eggs.

Asparagus Avocado Hearty Soup

P1138499P1138481I have to admit cooking sometimes stresses me out for two reasons 1)  The preparation.  I could never be one of those people who plan every meal of the month and buy everything in bulk.  If I could really have it my way I would walk to the marché every evening and cook with all fresh ingredients.  But this is Boston.  2)  My meal has to be served at it’s appropriate temperature.  It’s this strange paranoia I’ve always had and therefore prefer baking.  Feeling the clock ticking while people wait to be served a warm dish makes me sweat and my face turns so serious, which I know is bad and only adds pre-mature wrinkles to my very dry skin (thank you winter).  However, this Asaparagus soup only makes you younger.  It’s made with lots of greens and is a hearty soup that can be served in clear bowls which will brighten up a dull table.  It can be served chilled or warm and during the spring or even the winter.  It’s easy and delicious so no sweat! or wrinkles.

Adapted from Aran Goyoaga
Yields:  4-6 servings

2 Tbs olive oil
1 shallot, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 lb green asparagus, touch bottoms trimmed and diced
1 tsp salt
3 cups vegetable stock
2 cups tightly packed arugula
1 avocado, pitted and peeled
Garnish (optional): Bacon, Croutons, almonds, microgreens, shrimp, crabmeat, etc.

1.  Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat and add shallots, garlic, asparagus, and salt.  Cook the vegetables for 3 minutes or until tender but not browned.
2.  Add vegetable stock and bring to a boil.  Then, turn the heat to low and simmer for 4 minutes or until the asparagus is tender.
3.  Add arugula and cook for 1 additional minute.  Remove the pot from the heat.
4.  Add avocado and puree the soup.  Add seasoning (salt, pepper) if needed.
5.  Serve the soup warm or chilled and top with your favorite ingredient.