Purple Asparagus and Herbs in an Omelette {Recipe}

Ah, asparagus season. There are so many ways to eat them, yet I find the simplest recipes are the most flavorful. Cooking is really about letting the quality of the produce speak for itself, so there isn’t much technique involved. My friends and family think I am a great cook, but I attribute my skills to the high quality ingredients I get at the farmers market. And, I can’t think of much that is easier and tastier than asparagus and good quality eggs together. There are so many ways to combine them- grilled asparagus topped with poached eggs, roasted asparagus frittatasautéed vegetables with a soft-boiled egg.

asparagus eggs

Though, this  recipe is the prettiest. And pretty food is lovely to serve and eat. I make this on a weekday morning for just Satish, and I and over the weekend, when we have friends over. However, instead of making several individual omelettes, I just make one large omelette and put the pan in the middle of the table for friends to serve themselves. The prep and cook time is rather fast, with hardly a minute in between. When making individual omelettes, have two pans going at the same time, to get to the eating part faster. 

herbs

When I do not have spring onions on hand, I use sweet yellow onions. The herbs are arbitrary, as long as they are fresh, you can use whatever you already have or what you where able to find at the farmers market or grocery store. Use one herb or a combination of herbs. Thyme, basil, flat-leafed parsley, and chives work wonderful together and alone. I use chive flowers when I can find them at the market. Flavored salts work well too, but fine grain sea salt is just fine. I was able to find purple asparagus at the farmers market and thought they would make for pretty pictures. They also make for a great wow factor, but taste the same in flavor as green asparagus. Just use the thin ones for this recipe, because they are more tender and sweet. 

Simple Spring Omelette

Serves 2, cook time ~15 minutes

Ingredients
1 tablespoon chives, minced
1 tablespoon parsley, minced
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, divided
1/4 cup spring onions, minced
12-14 spears of thin asparagus
1 teaspoon lavender salt
4 eggs

The vegetables. Mince the chives and parsley. In a small bowl, mix the herbs and black pepper. Set aside.

Heat up a large, heavy bottomed sauté pan on medium heat with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and a little butter. Mince the white part of the spring onion. Add the minced spring onions in the heated pan and stir. Cook until crispy and light brown, about 3-5 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Meanwhile, wash asparagus under cool water. Cut off the woody ends and pat off excess water with a towel. Remove the crispy spring onions from pan and set aside. If they feel greasy, you can put them on a paper towel.

cutting board

Add 2-3 teaspoons of olive oil to the same pan let it heat up for 30 seconds. Add the asparagus to the pan. Make sure they do not overlap.  Stir a couple of times to cook all sides. Add more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle lavender salt over the spears. Cook for about 5-7 minutes. It really depends on how tender you like the spears. The purple asparagus will turn bright green from the heat. Transfer the asparagus to a cool plate once done cooking.

purple asparagus

The eggs. While asparagus are cooking, beat 2 eggs vigorously with a fork, until they are frothy and whites are incorporated with the yolks. Heat a 6″ nonstick pan with 2 teaspoons butter. Coat the entire pan with the butter by swirling it around the pan. Pour the eggs into pan and cook for 45-60 seconds. With a thin silicone spatula, carefully lift the cooked portions and tilt the pan to let the runny portions reach the bottom of pan. Do this again in 30 seconds, until most of the egg is set. 

Sprinkle 1/2 of the herb mixture over the omelette. You don’t need to add sea salt here, since the asparagus is already salted. Carefully slide onto serving plate. Repeat for the remaining omelette.

herb omelette

Now, carefully arrange asparagus spears on top of each omelette. Sprinkle the browned spring onions and herb flowers on top and serve.

asparagus eggs

What are your favorite ways to eat asparagus? Please share recipes!

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Farmers Market Finds: Cusp of Spring

Today was the perfect Spring day. Bright and sunny, without the iconic San Francisco fog. The farmers market was bursting with activity and I feared I was too late for the first crop of the asparagus. Things like asparagus, pasture-raised eggs, and squash blossoms always go super fast at the markets.

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There comes a certain time each quarter of the year when I begin to anticipate the arrival of new crops as I become bored with the current selection. Subtle signs like hearing more birds chirp outside the window and cherry trees blossoming throughout the city, get me thinking about all of the recipes I can revisit. As I walked through the market, I was mesmerized by the subtle changes taking place at each stand.

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The cusp of a seasonal change is the best time at the farmers market. Vegetables such as rainbow chard and broccolini are still available as the pea shoots and asparagus become abundant. This kind of availability can really kick up the creativity in the kitchen and lend to more variety in your meals.

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Nevertheless, I was able to get a few of the remaning stalks and texted my friends to come over for brunch. I made grilled asparagus topped with sautéed onions and fried eggs. We also had a salad made out of roasted watermelon radish, arugula, walnuts, and feta cheese. My husband did the honors of pouring freshly squeezed Cara Cara orange juice.

Photo Mar 15, 3 40 20 PM
Real eggs are supposed to be this rich in hue. Pale, neon yellow eggs are the biggest signs of low-quality, factory-farmed eggs. Eat vibrantly!

What are you anticipating for the Spring season?

Farmer’s Market Find: Ranunculus, Purple Tulips, and Asparagus

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If there is anything more than desserts that I love photographing, it’s flowers. And flowers are everywhere. I really wasn’t expecting to find a flower stall at the FM today, but there it was, all bright and pretty. It was the most crowded booth also. “Mommy, I want the purple ones.” “Oh, these will be great for dinner tonight.” “I am going to buy myself flowers.” Everyone was buzzing around the flowers like bees. I actually had to step away and come back when it was a little less crowded and I could snap a few pictures without getting in someone’s way. Then I bought myself a bunch of pretty yellow ranunculus with hints of purple in it.

These flowers are organic and local, which is especially important for all of the same reasons organic, local produce is. Non-organic flowers are laden with harmful pesticides, which you do not want to bring into your environment. Also, pesticides from floral agriculture has as much negative impact on the land and farm workers as non-organic produce does.

My 11th grade English teacher asked us to look for the “color purple” in nature after reading the book “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker. At that time, all of us concluded that the color purple is a rare find. Ever since that assignment, I have always kept an eye out for the color purple. In the last year, I’ve changed my mind about it being rare. Purple flowers, radishes, carrots, lettuce, fruit, asparagus, artichokes it’s all over the market!

I didn’t notice a whole lot of change or new additions at the market this week. I did get two bunches of asparagus from the Fort Mason Farmer’s Market for winning an asparagus recipe contest on their Facebook page. Asparagus are one of my favorite vegetables. I didn’t grow up eating them, because they are not part of the normal Indian diet. Also, due to asparagus’ high Vata quality, it wasn’t suitable to my parent’s Doshas. Anyway, I love eating asparagus with eggs, in salads, with quinoa, and in almost anyway possible. The simplest way is of course by just grilling them, sprinkled with sea salt and black pepper, with a drizzle of really good extra-virgin olive oil.

I bought Pink Cara Cara Oranges (Hamadas Farms), Broccoli (Swank Farms), Cauliflower and Fingerling Potatoes (Rio de Parros Organics), and 1 bunch organic ranunculus (Thomas Farms) Total= $16

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Farmer’s Market Find: Fava Greens, Snow Peas, Pea Tendrils

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This weeks farmer’s market was definite evidence that Spring has arrived. Aside from all of the great new fruit and produce, everyone was out! The last couple of weekends were a stormy nightmare. It was cold, wet, and gray. It seemed like Spring would never arrive. It was making me depressed. I even contemplated moving back to Santa Monica (only being dramatic). Then all of the sudden we had a mini heat-wave. The ladies dusted off their bright dresses, the guys got out their aviators, and with an extra bounce in each step, everyone was out and about. I love seeing people all dressed up, strolling on streets lined with shops and cafes, or lingering over brunch. Also, the active ones were out on Crissy Field, jogging, playing soccer, walking their dogs, or going for a bicycle ride across the Golden Gate Bridge. This morning, I put on my gym shorts and ran to the market, only stopping to take a couple of pictures. It felt so great to take in the fresh Spring air.

I’m grateful to call this my backyard!

Red and Green Lettuce from Rio de Parros Organics. Continue reading

Farmers Market Find: Spring Flowers and Radishes

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Tatsoi flowers or baby bok choy flowers- Heirloom Organics They taste incredible lightly sauteed in olive oil and served with a poached egg on top. They also taste great sauteed with ginger, garlic, and a bit of soy sauce. These little flowers just might be the best find of the season!

Female Date Palm/Flowers

Tulips

Spring is also radish season. I didn’t know there was more than one type of radish until I stopped shopping at the grocery store. The black variety is a bit spicier. -Heirloom Organics

I also had the pleasure of eating a variety of radishes, including black radishes, prepared in Soul Cocina’s famous arancini dish last Tuesday. Roger is serving up his dishes every Tuesday at the weekly pop-up at the Corner. I really wish I had my camera for that meal; this picture was taken with my iPhone.

Aren’t these really cute? They are Lions Mane mushrooms. I have no idea how they taste, but will try it out this week.-Far West Fungi

Citron Etrog– Hamadas Farm. This lemon is super huge.

I honestly did not buy a whole lot for this week. My mom made us a whole lot of Indian food (Chana Daal, Idlies, Sambar, Parathas) to last us for the entire week.

Chana Daal Muthyia is a specialty dish from Gujarat. Otherwise known as veggie balls.

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Farmer’s Market Find: Strawberries and Asparagus!

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We got the first crop of strawberries and asparagus already! Subtle signs that Spring isn’t too far away.  I am not entirely sure, but I think the two strawberry vendors at today’s market were from Southern California, where the weather is much warmer than here. Strawberries are just lovely, but they have a really thin, delicate outer and absorbs the pesticides and is listed number 1 in EWG’s Dirty Dozen list. The Dirty Dozen lists fruit and vegetables exposed to the most pesticides. I will have a lot more on the strawberry issue soon enough- California did silently pass the use of methyl iodide, scientifically proven to be very dangerous.

The take home message here is that buy organic strawberries and ask the farmer questions about their farming technique. I remember seeing one of the strawberry farmer’s last summer and spring at this market but I never talked to them. I wanted to ask them a lot more questions, because I am conflicted on  eating non-organic strawberries, but I got shy! It happens. Though, I did taste the pesticide-free strawberries and it was so good.

Smoked Salmon from Montery Bay’s Blue Ocean Smoke House

I splurged a little and got smoked salmon today ($10/6 ounces). We started eating smoked salmon much more after hiking the Kalalau trail in Kauai.  We packed smoked salmon, hard goat cheese, nuts, and grass-feed roast beef deli meat to sustain us on the two-day, 12 mile hike. Now we eat it for breakfast, a quick snack, or topped on a bed of different vegetables. Of course, we only eat wild Alaskan salmon from sustainable resources. If you are not sure about which fish are safe or sustainable check out the Monterey Bay’s Seafood Watch.

Celery Root- Swank Farms

We recently had celery root dessert at Ubuntu- I had no idea it looks like this in its original form.

Cheddar Cauliflower- Swank Hill Farms

No, they don’t taste like cheddar cheese! They are higher in vitamin A (the color) and taste like white cauliflower.

Tat Soi flowers- Happy Boy Farms

The tatsoi flowers are related to broccoli family and have a really nice taste to them. They are not as delicate as they look and taste wonderful sauteed with garlic, ginger, and little soy sauce.

I was at the Ferry Building for breakfast with a friend on Tuesday morning and the Tuesday market was going on. I bought a few oranges, asparagus, and ranunculus. There were tulips too, but I just adore ranunculus. The farmer gave me an awesome tip of just putting a spoonful of sugar in the water to help them bloom. They are still blooming!

Other purchases:

Spinach (Serendipity), Meyer lemons (Hamadas), Cara Cara oranges (Ken’s Top Notch Produce), Leeks (Happy Boy Farms), Button mushrooms (Far West Fungi), and Roma tomatoes (Swank Farms). I spent a total of $32 this week at the farmers market.

 

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Farmer’s Market Find: Snow or Spring?

Last week, San Franciscans were in a frenzy about the weather forecast. Supposedly, it has not snowed in SF in 35 years and it was supposed to snow this weekend! I, like many others, was very skeptical about this prediction. We did have a bad rainstorm, but the last few days have been really sunny. And hardly a cloud in the sky. It did snow for like a second on Twin Peaks. Anyway, you would never know it by looking at all of the things available at the market. I returned to the Fort Mason FM after a three week hiatus and was so delighted to see all of the changes in the produce.

Cara Cara Pink Naval Orange- Kens Top Notch Produce

The citrus season is going strong. I bought a bag full of Cara Cara Pink Naval Oranges and Blood Oranges from Hamadas Farm. The Cara Caras are my new favorite citrus, next to the blood oranges of course!

Leeks- Happy Boy Farms

Leeks were one my  best Farmer’s Markets finds last year. I like sauteing them will a little olive oil and add them in eggs, soups, rice dishes– in everything basically.

Mixed salad greens- Happy Boy Farms

A healthy looking mix of salad greens caught my eye and I couldn’t resist. At that moment, I could taste the crispness and freshness of the leaves. I am definitely going to add in the arugula, watermelon radish, and blood oranges with a drizzle of olive oil for a satisfying snack.

Watermelon radish- Happy Boy Farms

Don't these Romanesco Cauliflowers remind you of dinasours? -Rio de Parros Organics

Arugula with its Blossoms- Serendipity Farms

Tomatoes! Not the the greatest looking, but I could use these in a warming curry dish. - Swank Hill Farms

Truthfully, we were kind of getting tired of chard and kale. I am so glad to have stocked my fridge with Meyer lemons, turnips, mixed greens, arugula, leeks, and watermelon radish instead. I left my wallet at home and only had $27 with me, yet I came home with $6!

Meal Plan for the week*:
Monday: Vegetable pizza (Romanesco Cauliflower, Arugula, Ricotta), Lentil Stew
Tuesday: Butternut Squash + Turnip soup, mixed citrus and greens salad
Wednesday: Roasted leeks and soft-boiled eggs**, roasted watermelon radish+ mixed green salad, leftover lentil stew
Thursday: Baked romanesco, Crab cakes and blood orange salad***, Leftover squash soup
Friday: Leftovers or out with friends
Saturday: PancakesWarm Chickpea Salad with Arugula

*Most of the meals laid out here are recipes I have not published on the website yet. If you are interested, just leave a comment and I will share!
**From the cookbook, “Cooking With Italian Grandmothers” by Jessica Theroux
***From the cookbook, “Organic Marin: Recipes from Land to Table,” by Tim Porter and Farina Wong Kingsley

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The Farmers Market Find: The Good Food Awards

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There was an extra bounce in my step on Friday, because for the first time in months I felt the strong rays of the sun invigorating every cell of my being. The air even smelled like Spring was right around the corner and I couldn’t help but rejoice. I am not much of a Winter person and am really done with the below 50 degree temperatures.   It felt like spring and I couldn’t help but advise everyone to go out and enjoy it.  Waking up at 7AM on a Saturday morning is not as bad when the sun is out and the birds are chirping.  I made my way over to the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market early to avoid the good weather crowd and freely sample and talk to the winners of the Good Food Awards. I can’t even express the thrill I got when I was face to face with real food crafters from around the country selling tasty and sustainable food. Each winner was sampling and selling their prize winning food, much to a foodie’s contentment.

 

It truly seemed like a Spring's morning.

Leeks are one of my staple vegetables that I always try to keep in my fridge. They are versatile and make almost any dish flavorful. -Capay Organic

Do you know anything about Chickweed? - Marin Root Farms

Since I am getting into eating more legumes and whole grains, I bought heirloom garbanzo beans and crimson popping corn from Rancho Gordo.

These baby beets were so cute and irresistable. -Marin Root Farms

I was introduced to Black Trumpet mushrooms last weekend at brunch at Gather in Berkeley.

I bought Calendula to brighten up our living room a bit more.

The Good Food Award Winners:

 

Noble Coffee's Kenyan Kiaora was really, really silky and smooth. It was perfect.

The preserves were too tempting to not buy any of the jars. Though, I should restraint.

Xocolatl de David's Salted Caramel stood out the most. They are from Portland, OR.

I bought brine for the first time. I would love recipes! Pictured: Joe Mclure

No surprise that Cow Girl's Creamery's Red Hawk won!

This has to be one of the best cheeses I've ever had! Cellars at Jasper Hill – Cabot Clothbound Cheddar from Greensboro, VT.

Unique spotting:
-Pea tendrils and snow peas- Spring vegetables
-Watermelon radish- radish are generally Spring vegetables
-Chickweed- never seen or heard of these before!
-Wild watercress- I didn’t know this variety existed.
-Sugar cane- native to warmer, tropical climates. The ones I found are grown in a green house in Fresno. I bought one shoot to surprise Satish. Coincidentally, Saturday was a huge festival in Southern India, celebrating the sugar cane harvest.

I also bought a ton of vegetables, herbs, and fruit: broccoli, spinach, potatoes,  carrots, tomatoes, Natural raisins, Italian oregano, marjoram , Delicata squash, onions, garlic, Meyer lemons, and blood oranges. Let’s see what I cook up this week!

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