This forest, right behind my house is a very special place for me. For almost 15 years I’ve been retreating to mothers nature’s magical playground to think, clear my mind and take in the fresh air.
There is no time better in my opinion, to hike these woods than in the Springtime. Little flower buds are popping out of woody dangly branches, the curly fiddleheads of the fern plant begin to slowly emerge and colorful flower blossoms seem to bend your way as you walk by so you can admire their beauty.
Oliver and I set off on a hike the morning before Easter to experience all the beauty that lay in these woods. As we hiked along, I thought about Easter dinner the following evening. The Bennett family was coming over and I always love to cook for them.
Today would be a test run of some of the appetizer and side dishes I had in mind to serve and I could hardly wait to get started. Practice menu runs for me not only give me peace of mind the following day when cooking, it also gives me the opportunity to fine tune and perfect any given recipe.
Before Oliver and I embarked on our hike, in the dark wee hours of the morning, I went downstairs in my house to get a drink of water to discover my beloved workhorse of a dishwasher decided to kick the bucket and grace my floors with a nice flood of water. Standing there, in a sleepy daze trying to wrap my head around what just happened, I slowly realized our Easter dinner weekend would be a challenge. Not only was our dishwasher a goner, but come to find out, our entire plumbing system in the kitchen was unusable.
Great . . .
And then it dawned on me that I have a complete back-up home sitting in my driveway.
My sweet Airstream.
And so, when Oliver and I got back from our hike, we retreated into our silver kitchen to begin recipe testing for Easter dinner. I’ve heard of the latest culinary rage, called whipped ricotta and thought, why not try this with fresh mozzarella and deconstruct the well known caprese salad? I gently spread a luscious layer of the pillowy whipped mozzarella on a plate, while topping it with sliced heirloom baby tomatoes and chopped basil and adding the finishing touches of a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkling of crunchy sea salt. It was incredibly rich, divine and not to mention very simple to make! I don’t want to insult you by posting a recipe of this as for me, it was a “whir and go,” kind of experiment. Simply take fresh mozzarella — how ever much you want and place it into a food processor or stand mixer. To that add a drizzle of olive oil, a pinch of freshly ground black pepper and a splash of full fat milk. Give it a whir and if it is still too “crumbly” looking — add more oil and more milk. Keep on going adding a little at a time until you’ve reached your desired consistency.
Next up was how to prepare the asparagus patiently waiting for me in the fridge. A quintessential staple of Easter — I’ve made this a few different ways in the past but wanted to keep things simple this year bringing it center stage.
How can I possibly make these beautiful asparagus spears decadent? Drool worthy? Why with butter of course :)
A plate of butter poached asparagus. What could be better?
For the butter sauce:
Take a medium sauce pan, add to that two or three tablespoons of water. When the water starts to simmer-sizzle away, from one stick of very cold salted butter, add a few cubes of butter into the pot of simmering/sizzling water while whisking like crazy until the butter and water begin to emulsify together and become one. It will be a hot pot and the butter will sizzle like mad but keep going adding your butter a few cubes at a time until all is gone. At this point, you can keep adding more butter to this or stop. The beauty of this heavenly emulsified butter and water mixture is you can set it aside in your pot and use it later on and it will still be the same consistency — no separation will occur as it does when you melt pure butter. The French call this technique, “Beurre Monte,” but I think “Magic,” is more appropriate.
Now take your asparagus, cut off the woody stems and peel off the skin on two sides — this will help the butter penetrate into the asparagus infusing it with all of its buttery deliciousness. Pour the butter mixture atop, cover and over medium low heat, gently simmer for five minutes (or until the asparagus has reached your desired level of tenderness).
And voila — may I introduce you to butter poached asparagus :) For lunch in the Airstream I couldn’t help but drop a couple eggs into the leftover buttery mixture and poach them to place atop the asparagus. Bacon bits didn’t hurt the dish either :)
Bon appetit :) ♥
And so that was our day — cooking in the Airstream, enjoying the sunny day and warm breeze with the windows open with gentle tunes from the radio playing in the background.
I hope your Easter holiday was a peaceful and enjoyable one ♥
~ Monica XOXO
PS Oh and for the main course I made a smoked brown sugar glazed Coho salmon. It came out delicious. That recipe will be coming soon xoxo For dessert was a carrot cake from Costco. Have you ever tried their carrot cake? Not one crumb was left . . . I’m still dreaming about it!
Instagram shots from Easter weekend. Not sure if you follow me there, but here is a link to my Instagram account ♥ When not blogging here on J5MM you can find me over there snapping away sharing our daily doings be it traveling in our Airstream or home life.