Grilled Asparagus with Blue Cheese, Walnuts & Balsamic Reduction

asparagus_

One of my favorite things about selling vegetables at the farmers market is getting to know other local farmers and ranchers. We live in such a beautiful community surrounded by amazing folks who raise and produce quality food.  At the end of every market we trade unsold Tumbleweed produce for local bread, dairy, meat, kraut and even kombucha. It’s awesome!

This past week at the market we headed home with some local blue cheese from Cascadia Creamery and asparagus (grown from a neighbor farmer.) The weather has been beautiful here so we decided an evening spent drinking beers and hanging around the grill was in order.

asparagus 2

I love grilled asparagus when it’s prepared simply with just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of flakey sea salt. It doesn’t get much better than that simple combination. However, this week we amped things up and tossed our asparagus in a little walnut oil and grilled it to perfection. We sprinkled the cooked asparagus with blue cheese, toasted walnuts and a drizzle of balsamic reduction. The result was nothing short of amazing and this simple springtime side dish is going to be a staple throughout the next couple of months.

I picked up a bottle of walnut oil from a local grocery store a few weeks back and have loved it’s mild sweet and nutty flavor. Walnut oil is a little more spendy than other oils but I think it’s totally worth the purchase and have used it on everything from salad dressings to drizzling a little on avocado toast. With that being said, if you don’t have access to a bottle of walnut oil you can substitute with olive oil for this recipe. Regardless, this seasonal side dish is a breeze to prepare and delicious to boot.

Crack open a few beers, fire up the grill and enjoy some tasty food with good company. Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm.

Grilled Asparagus with Blue Cheese & Balsamic Reduction

Appetizer

  • PREP TIME
    5 minutes
  • COOK TIME
    30 minutes

Balsamic Reduction

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon REAL maple syrup

Asparagus Salad

  • 1 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed
  • 2 Tablespoons walnut oil (or olive oil)
  • pinch of fine sea salt
  • 1/2 cup toasted walnuts
  • 1/2 cup blue cheese, crumbled


Serves 4

  1. In a medium saucepan, bring the vinegar and maple syrup to a low boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer the vinegar, stirring often, for 20-25 minutes, until it has reduced by two-thirds. Keep an eye on the vinegar to avoid burning it and reduce heat if necessary. Your should have about 1/3 cup of reduced balsamic vinegar left in the pan.
  2. Preheat the grill to medium. Toss the asparagus with the oil and sprinkle with salt. Grill the asparagus (covered) until grill marks appear, about 4 minutes. Flip and continuing cooking until tender brown, about 4 more minutes. Transfer to a platter.
  3. Sprinkle the warm asparagus with the blue cheese, toasted walnuts and a few tablespoons of balsamic reduction. Season with additional salt and pepper.
*Store leftover balsamic reduction in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month
*Use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary

Fridays At The Farm

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I’m thrilled to announce that this past week on Tumbleweed hasn’t been nearly as stressful as last week. The deer haven’t been making any more appearances (please keep your fingers crossed for us) and we’ve been eating like kings! Honestly, even on the toughest days I have to remember that no matter what happens, we’re going to sit down to a delicious meal and just “chill” for a few moments before getting worked up over farm drama. We love feeding our community but we equally love nourishing ourselves with the fruits of our labor. Food just tastes better when your blood, sweat and tears have gone into the dirt that makes it grow!

We’ve been enjoying the farmers markets and it’s been great catching up with customers that we haven’t seen since last season. You know you have an awesome community when folks give you hugs and high fives after buying their first bundle of greens of the season from your booth. We are so damn lucky to have great supporters at the market every week. If it weren’t for these amazing people we could not make a living doing what we love. And it’s not just our local supporters that make a difference. All of you rad people who follow the blog, cook our recipes and send positive thoughts and energy our way, we feel it! We are so grateful to each and every one of you. You guys rule!

This weekend at the farm will be busy. We are moving into the upper field (which we just tilled and prepped) and are going to get cracking making beds which we’ll cover in black plastic (to keep the soil warm) set up our drip irrigation, and begin the daunting task of planting hundreds of squash, cukes, eggplants, peppers, winter squash and melons. The days will inevitably be long and hot but we’re looking forward to getting these puppies out of the greenhouse and into the ground!

Anyhow, that’s about all the news I have from the farm. I hope wherever this post finds you that you are happy, healthy and ready to have a relaxing weekend surrounded by good food and great company. Cheers from Tumbleweed Farm. xoxo

Parsnip, Lentil & Walnut Salad with Fried Eggs

parsnip lentil salad

Well folks, this is going to be my last spring parsnip recipe of the season. We finally ate the last of the overwintered parsnips and I must say, we enjoyed every last bite! Parsnips hold a special place in my heart and I’m already looking forward to our fall harvest. With that being said, I know I’ll enjoy them a little more after I eat my fair share of summer produce. Tomatoes, eggplants, zucchini and corn cannot get here fast enough!

Anyhow, this salad was a great send off and I’m hoping you all get your hands on some parsnips so you can enjoy this springtime meal too. This is the kind of weeknight dinner that is a breeze to prepare and bursting with simple flavors. The addition of fried eggs bumps this dish up a notch and both Taylor and I were impressed with how simple yet delicious this salad was.

parsnip lentil salad2

We’re still swimming in a sea of pea shoots at the farm and added a few handfuls to our salads. If you cannot find pea shoots you can substitute with arugula or spinach.

Anyhow, I hope you all enjoy this seasonal salad as much as we do. Grab a fork, pour a glass of wine and enjoy a date night in with someone you love. Cheers!

Parsnip, Lentil & Walnut Salad with Fried Eggs

Salad

  • PREP TIME
    15 minutes
  • COOK TIME
    40 minutes

Salad

  • 1 cup french green lentils, rinsed
  • 4 cups vegetable stock
  • 4-5 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into thin wedges (think french fry size)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup walnuts, lightly toasted
  • 2 cups pea shoots (or another spring green)
  • salt + pepper
  • shredded parmesan cheese for serving
  • 1-2 fried eggs per person

Dressing

  • 2 1/2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 3 Tablespoons toasted walnut oil (or good quality walnut oil)
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste


Serves 4

  1. Preheat the oven to 425F.
  2. Bring the vegetable stock to a boil in a saucepan. Add the lentils and simmer until tender. About 25 minutes. Drain the lentils and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, toss the chopped parsnips with the olive oil and place on a prepared baking sheet in the oven. Bake until golden brown and tender. About 25 minutes. Toss the parsnips halfway through cooking.
  4. In a small skillet toast the walnuts until lightly browned. About 3 minutes. Shake the pan a few times throughout toasting. Set aside.
  5. In the same skillet that the walnuts were toasting heat a little oil or butter and fry your eggs.
  6. Combine all the ingredients for the dressing and whisk until well combined. This works great with an immersion blender.
  7. In a large bowl toss the lentils, parsnips, walnuts, pea shoots and dressing. Divide among plates and top each plate with 1-2 fried eggs and a few shavings of freshly grated parmesan cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
*Use this recipe as a guide and adjust measurements and ingredients as necessary
*Always use good quality oils and vinegars when making dressings. The flavors shine and a little bit goes a long way.
*Taste test as you go
*Above all, have fun in the kitchen and make each recipe your own