Local Treats on CHIN TV-Rhubarb and Asparagus

 Grilled Asparagus Panzanella Salad

This combination of tomatoes and bread is enhanced by crisp grilled spears of asparagus. Feel free to grill up the whole bunch of asparagus for more color and flavor and add it to the salad.

4 slices crusty bread (see tip) 

1/4 cup (60 mL) extra virgin olive oil, divided

Half a bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed

3 cups (750 mL) grape tomatoes, halved

3 tbsp (45 mL) red wine vinegar 

1 garlic clove, minced 

1 tsp (5 mL) dried oregano 

1/2 tsp (2 mL) salt 

Pinch black pepper 

Brush bread with some of the oil. Toss asparagus with a little of the oil. Place both on greased grill over medium-high heat and grill, turning occasionally, for 4 minutes or until toast is golden and asparagus is tender but still crisp. Let cool slightly.

Chop bread into bite-size pieces to make about 3 cups (750 mL); chop asparagus.

Toss tomatoes with remaining oil, vinegar, garlic and oregano. Stir in chopped bread and asparagus and season to taste with salt and pepper. Let sit 10 minutes before serving for flavors to marry. Serves 4 to 6.

Tip: Taste the salad after letting it sit for 10 minutes and reseason if necessary. 

Tip: Use a rustic crusty oval bread loaf and slice it yourself. Make the slices about 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick. Try olive bread for added flavor.

Fresh Herb Addition: Stir in 1/4 cup (60 mL) chopped fresh basil or parsley to heighten that summer-fresh flavor.

Rhubarb Blondies

These sweet treats are perfect served up with a scoop of ice cream for an after dinner treat, or cut up into squares and packed away for a lunch or afternoon treat for work or school. Local rhubarb is a spring treat no one should live without!

3/4 cup (175 mL) packed light brown sugar

1/3 cup (75 mL) butter

1 egg

2 tsp (10 mL) vanilla

1 cup (250 mL) all purpose flour

1 tsp (5 mL) baking powder

1/4 tsp (1 mL) salt

3/4 cup (175 mL) diced fresh rhubarb

1/4 cup (60 mL) white chocolate chips 

Vanilla ice cream or whipped cream

Preheat oven to 350 F (180 C) and line an 8 inch (20 cm) round baking pan with parchment paper.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

In a saucepan, combine sugar and butter over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and smooth. Remove from heat and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in egg and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture, rhubarb and white chocolate until blended. Spread into prepared pan and bake for about 20 minutes or until edges are pale golden and just starting to pull away from sides of pan. Let cool completely in pan on rack. Cut into squares and serve with a scoop of ice cream. Serves 8.

Tip: Substitute diced tart apple for the rhubarb in the recipe. Or for a brighter red colour use raspberries or cranberries. 

Tip: Use an 8 inch (20 cm) square baking pan if you want to cut them into squares.


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