Thursday, April 2, 2015

Off The Grid Travels Continue and Seasonal Plate

Kasha-Katuwe Tent Rocks National Monument
Kasha-Katuwe means "white cliffs" in the traditional Keresan language of the Pueblo de Cochiti. These cone-shaped tent rock formations are the products of volcanic eruptions that occurred 6-7 million years ago and left pumice, ash and tuff deposits over 1,000 feet thick. This national monument is located on the Pajarito Plateau in north central New Mexico.
So this is the third time in a week I've heard my husband say the hike will only be a couple miles. But then when we get on the trail I find it's rocky, winds around and goes uphill some 680 feet and oh, yes let's factor in heat and wind gusts. 
Lucky we were minus a dog for this trip as the trail was crowded with many families. On some parts of the trail only one person at a time could pass as we climbed upward scaling rocks. We passed young kids and even a pregnant woman which fueled my efforts even more to make it to the top which I eventually did.   
Check out this climb

The rock formations and views were stunning, well worth the climb. It was an experience not to be missed.

The following recipes were submitted for this week's Seasonal Plate. Perhaps one of these asparagus dishes will be perfect for your holiday dinner. 

The snow must give way to the will of the spring.
Pepper Blair, author and poet

As the snow melts and daylight stretches into evening, people who like to eat with the seasons know what's coming, asparagus, a spring vegetable. Take advantage of grocery sales and head to the kitchen for your first taste of spring. Pair any of these asparagus dishes with bright white wines like Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc. Avoid serving red wines with asparagus dishes.

Wrapped Asparagus Spears in Puff Pastry with ham and cheese make a great appetizer or served as a side with soup. Check out March 25, 2015 posting for complete directions with photos.

Warm Asparagus Salad with Dates and Goat Cheese
Cook's notes:
This vegetable salad is filled with a flavorful blend of goat cheese, dates, pecans, and drizzled with a balsamic vinaigrette. Recipe adapted from .

  • ½ lb. fresh asparagus spears 
  • 1 TB. Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil 
  • 1 TB. Balsamic Vinegar or Fig Balsamic Vinegar 
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • One 5-ounce package mixed baby salad greens
  • 1/2 cup snipped pitted whole dates
  • 4 ounces crumbled goat cheese
  • 1/3 cup toasted pecans 
  • 1 cup chopped cherry tomatoes 
  • Line a baking pan with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Discard woody bases from fresh asparagus.
  • Place asparagus spears on baking pan, drizzle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar tossing to coat well. Season asparagus with salt and freshly ground pepper. Roast for 12 minutes. Turn asparagus once during roasting time. Set aside to cool slightly. 
  • To serve salad, arrange greens on 4 large salad plates. On top of the greens sprinkle dates, goat cheese, chopped tomatoes and pecans. Arrange roasted asparagus spears on top of the salad. Drizzle salad with Balsamic Vinaigrette and serve immediately. 
Balsamic Vinaigrette
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar or Blackberry-Ginger, Black Currant or Fig Balsamic Vinegar
  • 2 TB. brown sugar
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. kosher or sea salt and ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • In a food processor or blender, combine balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, garlic, salt, and black pepper. Cover and blend until smooth. 
  • With processor or blender running, gradually add in olive oil and blend. Serve immediately or cover and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week. Shake container vigorously before serving. Makes about ¾-1cup.
Blackberry Brandy Glazed Salmon and Roasted Asparagus
Cook's notes: A rich blackberry brandy sauce served with fresh blackberries compliments the salmon flavors. The cooked salmon can be glazed with the sauce under the broiler right before serving or spooned over the salmon and then topped with fresh blackberries. The Blackberry Brandy Sauce can be made early in the day and reheated in microwave just before serving. Recipe adapted from and serves two. Chicken is a good substitution for the salmon. This dish pairs well with roasted asparagus garnished with chopped nuts.
  • 1- 12 oz. salmon skinless fillet cut in two pieces
  • 3 large lemon slices 
  • 3 sliced onion rings 
  • 1 tsp. parsley flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper 
  • 1/2 cup blackberry jam
  • 2 TB. Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Blood Orange Olive Oil
  • 2 TB. balsamic vinegar or Black Cherry, Blackberry-Ginger or Black Currant Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/4 tsp. cumin
  • 1-2 TB. brandy
  • 1 pint blackberries
Salmon Directions:
  • Grill salmon with lemon, onion slices and parsley flakes or bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 20 minutes covered with foil. Cook until it flakes using a fork.
Blackberry Sauce Directions: 

  • Whisk together jam, olive oil, spices, vinegar and brandy in a saucepan. 
  • Cook over low heat 2 minutes until slightly thickened. Spoon sauce over baked or grilled salmon fillets. Garnish with fresh blackberries.

1 comment:

  1. You're right. That was worth the climb, although I'm not sure I would have done it.