Thursday, June 10, 2010

Sliders and Rosemary Mayonnaise

I’m not going to lie….a slider is just a burger only pint size.  That doesn’t change the fact that they are  hot, hot, hot right now!  You’ll see them on menus all over town and their tiny stature makes them perfect for those of us who struggle with commitment.  You see when you have a regular sized burger, well…you’re kind of stuck with only the one set of toppings.  With sliders you can top one with some caramelized onions and hot mustard and another with garlic aioli and balsamic soaked cherry tomatoes and just because my mother raised me right, a good old fashioned ketchup, mustard and relish one for good measure.  When sliders first became popular there was a bit of a glitch…sure restaurants and probably Bobby Flay had access to microscopic burger buns but for the rest of us???  Not so much.  Many of us found ourselves trying to construct small buns out of larger buns or using bread and cutting out smaller shapes.  It was a tragic time in the burgers evolution but the bun makers have righted this terrible wrong and now wee burger buns are available to the masses! 

My father was going to be eating these sliders which meant the burgers were to be ‘au natural’.  Translation….salt and pepper.  Pretty boring in my books but he’s a bit of a purist when it comes to beef and considering his role in the whole, you know…contributing to giving me life thing, I figure the least I can do is throw him a bone every once in a while.  Even if it is served on a wee bun.

In light of my culinary shortcomings with this meal, I figured the only redeeming thing to do was to at least make some homemade rosemary mayo. The possibilities really are endless with sliders and you can fully expect to see a post or two throughout the summer featuring these little darlings, only next time Dad's not invited. Kidding you!

Rosemary Mayonnaise

You can use an immersion blender, food processor or standard blender to make mayo but I find the results vary each time.  The only tried and true method for me is a bowl, whisk and good old fashioned arm action.  I like to use olive oil for the health benefits but you can certainly use another good quality oil like grapeseed.

1 egg yolk at room temperature
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
⅛ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon pepper
1 cup olive oil
1 sprig of rosemary finely chopped

Using any of the methods mentioned above, add the egg yolk, very slowly drizzle in oil whisking vigorously until the egg yolk and oil emulsify (should take 2-3 minutes). Whisk in salt, pepper, lemon juice and rosemary. Remaining mayo can be refrigerated for 2-3 days.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Thatcher Farm and Honey Bran Muffins

As I’ve mentioned before, we’re so lucky to live in the area we do. A short drive into the city but still nestled among some really incredible agriculture. During growing season we busy ourselves visiting the Farmers Market and getting to know local growers but we also like to frequent the actual farms themselves. Not all farms are open to the public but I think you’d be surprised at how many would be happy to show you around their farm and talk ‘shop’ with you if you called and inquired. Farmers are so proud of what they produce and I’ve heard time and time again how they get so much out of talking to the consumer about their products. Although we have our ‘regular’ farms we frequent, I’m always looking to expand our local food network and see what treasures we can find. Well this week we happened to find ourselves a new favorite! Thatcher Farms has shown up on my radar a few times and it’s been on my ‘to do’ list for over a year now. I’m happy to report that we now have an new absolute staple in our farm repertoire. Thatcher Farms is a family owned and operated business that produces beef, pork and lamb as well as Omega 3 eggs and gorgeous golden honey.  Needless to say, we went home with a little of everything that day.

When we pulled in the driveway we were instantly greeted with an ‘egg house’ which just so happens to be one of my favorite things about living in the country. They operate on the honor system and in this day and age it’s a real breath of fresh air. At the end of the driveway was a beautiful farm house and behind it we could see the barns. As we approached the barns we saw two small children playing, some men standing off by a new structure that was being built, a dog sleeping under a pick-up truck and a woman working in the garden. When she spotted our car she stood up, dusted herself off and headed into their ‘Country Market’. The market was rather small but was just full of so many different and amazing cuts of meats, both fresh and frozen. The Thatcher’s raise all their animals on their 140 acre farm and are proud to say that all their animals are raised naturally and hormone free. I also loved the idea that they have a butcher on site! We weren’t able to stay long this visit but we’re planning a trip back there in about a week and I’m really looking forward to using their amazing meat in some upcoming recipes. In the meantime, here’s a quickie recipe for Honey Raisin Bran Muffins.  I absolutely love bran muffins and adding the honey in place of molasses made a significant difference.  They were light and golden and the honey and raisins loved each other!  I'm always on the look-out for great bran muffin recipes so send them my way if you have a favourite!

Honey Raisin Bran Muffins

1½ cups wheat bran
1 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
⅓ cup brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ cup raisins (I prefer to reconstitute the raisins to get them really plump and juicy)

Preheat oven to 375°F

Grease muffin 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners.  Cover raisins with boiling water for 5 minutes, drain and set aside.

Mix together wheat bran and buttermilk and let sit while you beat together oil, egg, sugar, honey and vanilla, add to buttermilk/bran mixture. Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Stir flour mixture into buttermilk mixture, until just blended. Fold in raisins and spoon batter into prepared muffin tins.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.


Sunday, June 6, 2010

Sunday Supper: Roasted 'Beer' Chicken, Smashed Potatoes, Green Beans with Almonds and Rhubarb Upside-Down Mini Cakes

For Sunday Supper this week, six of us gathered around the table and enjoyed some really great food and even better company. I was particularly happy to have my grandmother join us. She has recently been put on an oxygen tank full time and feels rather confined to her home as a result of “being tied to a leash”. Her words, not mine. It was lovely to have her at our table. My grandfather recently passed away and although I have always been very close to my grandparents and have always cherished my time with them, I find the visits with Nanny particularly sweet these days. For dinner this week we sat down to enjoy some Roasted ‘Beer’ Chicken, Smashed Fingerling Potatoes, Green Beans with Almonds and Upside-down Rhubarb Mini-Cakes. Deeelish!

We’ve made ‘Beer Can’ chicken several times and always loved it, but one day while I was admiring our little bird perched on that can sizzling away it occurred to me 'what kind of chemicals are in that beer can that I have shoved up our dinner??'  First of all I know that the paint on the can cannot be good for you and to make matters worse I was using a can of Guinness and for any of you that have ever opened a can of Guinness you’ll know that they have a widget inside which is essentially a plastic ball.  The light bulb had just gone off.  This was one of those moments in ones life when things get quiet…time stands still….you find yourself panic stricken and all you can think about is 'what the he** were you thinking!?!'  I had been using paint and plastic to cook our dinner!  I use glass food storage containers to limit the contact our food has with plastic, I use stainless steele or ceramic beverage containers so the plastic doesn’t leach into our drinks, but cooking with plastic and paint…yeah, that one slipped by me.  So that was the end of Beer Can Chicken for us.   Or so I thought.  I had seen several other ‘roaster’ type contraptions for doing a vertical chicken on the grill but none of them offered a container to hold liquid and really, without that what was the point?  The best part of Beer Can Chicken is how moist the meat ends up as a result of the liquid evaporating into the chicken.  Then one day during one of my regular visits to Williams-Sonoma I found this ingenious product!  A Single Vertical Chicken Roaster (with cup for liquid).  Happy day!  I am able to add the beer (minus the carcinogenic can) as well as herbs, garlic or whatever else your little heart desires into the cup in the center of the pan, slip the chicken over and viola!  A perfectly moist, chemical free bird!  I’m not big on having a million kitchen gadgets or 101 pots and pans but this roaster is a must have for me.

Roasted ‘Beer’ Chicken

1 Roasting Chicken (preferably free range)
1 tablespoon finely chopped thyme, plus 1 small bunch
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary, plus 1 sprig
1 tablespoon sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 tablespoon olive oil
½ cup of beer or wine
2 garlic cloves, gently crushed


Preheat your grill to medium-high.

Rub chicken lightly with oil then rub inside and out with salt, pepper and herbs. Set aside.

Pour the beer in the roaster cup along with the garlic, bunch of thyme and rosemary sprig. Transfer the bird to your grill and place in the center of the grate. Cook the chicken over medium-high, indirect heat (i.e. no coals or burners on directly under the bird), with the grill cover on, for approximately 1 1/4 hours or until the internal temperature registers 165 degrees F in the breast area and 180 degrees F in the thigh, or until the thigh juice runs clear when stabbed with a sharp knife. Remove from grill and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.

The herbs in our garden are in full bloom!  Our chives are already adorned with their fuzzy purple tops and seem to be making their way into almost every meal!

Smashed Fingerling Potatoes

2 lbs fingerling potatoes
2 tablespoons butter
¼ cup chopped chives
½ cup sour cream
¼ cup warm milk
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 heaping tablespoon of garlic puree, * recipe below


Place potatoes in pot. Cover with cold water. Add pinch of salt. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until tender. Drain potatoes and transfer back to pot. Smash with potato masher. Add butter, sour cream and milk.  Stir in chives and season with salt and pepper.

* Garlic Oil & Garlic Puree

This is a great recipe two fold!  One you get some outstanding garlic oil which is incredible over just about anything and you get the softest, creamiest, juiciest garlic which you can whiz into a puree.   Below is a recipe for a really small batch, however if you’re like me and like to slather the garlic puree on everything then you can do a large batch like I did.  Simply take as much garlic as you like, place the garlic in a saucepan, cover  with grapeseed oil (olive oil with burn) and simmer it on low for 45 minutes.  Once done, remove the garlic from the oil and whiz it about in a food processor.  The puree will last several weeks in the fridge.  Reserve the oil.

1 head garlic, peeled
½ cup grapeseed oil

Place garlic and olive oil in pot on the stove and bring to a simmer.  Once done, remove the garlic from the oil and puree.  Pour the oil into a container for storage.

There was good news and bad news when shopping for this meal.  The good news was that we were able to get our hands on some of the areas first green beans!  Bridget absolutely loves green beans prepared this way so she was thrilled to see her old friends back again.  The bad news however is that although we are welcoming the first green beans of the season we are now saying goodbye to rhubarb for the year.  I had my heart set on a rhubarb dessert and I actually had to go to three different markets to find the last bit of rhubarb to be found.  Bitter sweet I suppose.

Green Beans with Almonds

1 lb. green beans, trimmed
½ cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons butter
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste


Fill a large pot three-fourths full of water and bring to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans and cook until tender, about 5 minutes. Drain in a colander, rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process (The beans can be prepared up to this point 1 day in advance, covered tightly and refrigerated until ready to use.)

In a large fry pan over medium heat, toast the almonds, stirring continuously, until golden brown, about 3 minutes. You really can’t take your eyes off them, they’ll start to burn before you know it.  Once slightly toasted set aside.

In the same pan over medium heat, melt the butter.  Add the beans, stirring continuously, until heated through about 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and stir in the almonds. Transfer to a warmed serving bowl and serve immediately.

This is a wonderful recipe that really allows the rhubarb to be the star of the show.  It’s super simple and was such a lovely way to end the rhubarb season.

Rhubarb Mini-Cakes
By: Dee Gibson, Gibson & Lyle, Caterer, LCBO

These cute cakes are baked in a muffin tin to create individual desserts for your guests. You may substitute the rhubarb for peach or apple with the same great results.

½ cup (125 mL) unsalted butter
¾ cup (175 mL) white sugar
2 large eggs
1 tbsp (15 mL) vanilla
1 cup (250 mL) all-purpose flour
1 tbsp (15 mL) baking powder
Pinch of salt
2 cups (500 mL) chopped rhubarb
1¼ cups (300 mL) brown sugar


Preheat oven to 350°F

Beat butter and sugar until creamed (pale white color), about 2 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time until well blended, add vanilla. Beat in flour, baking powder and salt and beat until combined.

Butter a 12-cup muffin tin.

In each muffin tin distribute evenly the chopped rhubarb and 1½ tbsp (22 mL) brown sugar. Place 1 heaping tbsp (15 mL) of the batter in each tin. Place in oven and bake about 40 minutes, or until light golden on top. Cool and turn out.

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Asparagus Soup and Chive Biscuits

Although it’s been hotter than Vegas in July here lately (hottest May on record actually), it cooled down a bit and the skies opened up today.  As I type this, the rain is pelting the window panes and the trees look like they're all competing on So You Think You Can Dance.  Cooler weather instantly gets me thinking about soup and what better way to spend a rainy night than curled up with something warm?  So, what to make when it’s spring and you’re craving something cozy?  Asparagus soup of course.

This soup is a little lighter in flavour than many of the creamier versions which I actually really like but today I was looking for something a little lighter.  I had to save room for the biscuits of course. 

Asparagus Soup

1 ½ lb. asparagus, tough ends discarded, roughly chopped (reserve the tips)
1 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of leek, washed well
2 tablespoons (or a good glug) of good quality olive oil
2 good sized shallots, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
¼ cup dry white wine
2 cups chicken stock, plus more as needed
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
⅓ cup sour cream


Snap off the tough stem ends from the asparagus spears. Roughly chop stems, set the tips aside.

In a heavy soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil.  Add the shallots, garlic and leeks, stirring occasionally, until tender and translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add the wine and cook until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add the chopped asparagus and the stock.  Cover and cook until the asparagus is tender, about 20 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Blitz the soup with either a hand-held or standard blender until smooth.  If using a standard blender, blend soup in two batches to avoid any spill over.  Return soup to pot, add more stock if needed to reach the desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Add the reserved tips and set pot over medium heat until the tips are tender, about 10 minutes.

For the biscuits I used Ina Gartens Chive Biscuit recipe.  When I’m feelig a little cheeky, I like to add some aged chedder and a whole whack of freshly ground pepper to kick it up a bit.

Chive Biscuits

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon sugar
¼ pound (1 stick) cold unsalted butter, diced
¾ cup half-and-half
½ cup chopped fresh chives or fresh parsley leaves
1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water, for egg wash


Combine the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Add the butter and mix on low speed until the butter is the size of peas. With the mixer on low, add the half-and-half and beat until just mixed. Add the chives and mix until just combined.

Dump the dough out on a well-floured board and knead lightly into a rectangle 3/4-inch thick. Cut out rounds with a 2 1/2-inch round cutter and place on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Brush with the egg wash.

Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until the tops are browned and the insides are firm. Serve warm.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Roasted Vegetable Salad with Cherry Tomatoes

Ok guys, it doesn’t get any easier than this.  This past Sunday I made Roasted Fingerling, Carrot and Green Beans as part of our Sunday supper and I deliberately made extra so I would have leftovers to make this killer salad for lunch this week.  All you need to do is take these leftovers……

Cut them into bite size pieces, half some cherry tomatoes and mix together 2 tablespoons of whatever vinegar you like (I used red wine vinegar) with 7 tablespoons of good quality olive oil, 1 teaspoon good French mustard and combine everything.  The roasted veg are already incredibly seasoned so you literally just add the tomatoes and vinaigrette and you turn those leftovers into this….


Sunday, May 30, 2010

Sunday Suppers

Ok, so I’ve decided that since the tradition of having Sunday suppers with my family was such a huge part of my upbringing and since it was said upbringing that shaped me into the super fantastic individual (pipe down little brother, no one asked you) that I turned out to be and since I’m making Sunday supper every week anyway…well, I said to myself “self, me thinks we need to do a weekly ‘Sunday Supper’ post”.  Sunday suppers bring together family, friends and good food and those things combined are pretty much the holy trinity in my books. So here it is, my first Sunday Supper post.  Enjoy!

Herb & Garlic Grilled Lamb Chops with Roasted Fingerlings, Carrots & Green Beans and for dessert Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream

The weather has been pretty spectacular here these days and although we grill all year round, come this time of year we really start looking for grilled meals more often than not. One, because there’s nothing quite like a BBQ and two because quite frankly it’s nice not to have to crank the oven on when it’s blazing hot outside.

So for dinner this week we enjoyed some incredible garlic herbed lamb chops and some roasted (on the grill) veg. We finished the evening off with an outstanding recipe from Martha Stewart’s Cupcake book, rhubarb and whipped cream cupcakes. * swoon*

I prepared the lamb first thing in the morning so it had lots of time to sit in the marinade. I roasted the veg on the grill and during the last 10 minutes I added the green beans and slid the tray off to the side when it was time to put the chops on. If your grill doesn’t have enough space to hold the veg and the chops at the same time just do the veg in your oven and save the grill for the chops.

Roasted Fingerlings, Carrots & Green Beans

1 ½ lb fingerling potatoes, halved (I used both red and white)
1 bunch young carrots, peeled but with tops left on
½ pound French green beans, trimmed
⅛ cup good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
4 cloves of garlic, minced
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the grill to high or 400ºF.

Preheat the oven to 400ºF.

Line a baking sheet with foil

Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and place in a bowl with the olive oil, carrots, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and thyme; toss until everything is well coated. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Place baking sheet on the grill and close the lid and roast, stirring and turning occasionally. After 35 minutes add the green beans* and toss to ensure they are coated with the oil. Roast for 10 minutes more or until green beans are cooked but firm.

Note, this recipe makes quite a bit of veg but I wanted extra so that I could make a Roasted Veggie Salad this week.  Stay tuned for that recipe.

* At this point, move your baking sheet off to the side and add your lamb chops to the grill.

Herb & Garlic Grilled Lamb Chops

4 lamb chops, preferably grass fed organic and/or free range
¼ cup good quality olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons dry white wine
liberally season with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


Season lamb chops with salt & pepper. Combine olive oil, wine, thyme, rosemary, and garlic and coat the chops in the marinade. Place the chops in a tight fitting dish and pour remaining marinade on the chops. Cover and refrigerate for at minimum of 30 minutes (several hours or overnight preferred). Preheat grill. Place lamb chops on grill over a medium high heat. Grill about 5 minutes per side for medium chops.

Rhubarb Cupcakes with Whipped Cream

1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon coarse salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup sour cream, room temperature
¾ pound rhubarb, stalks trimmed and cut into ¼ - inch dice (3 cups)
1 vanilla bean, halved lengthwise
1 cup water


Preheat over to 350ºF. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.

With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Beat in vanilla extract. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beating until combined after each. Stir in 2 cups diced rhubarb.

Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored up to 3 days at room temperature in airtight containers; remove liners before topping.

To make rhubarb topping, use the tip of a pairing knife to scrape vanilla bean seeds into a saucepan, reserving pod for another use (such as vanilla sugar). Add the water and remaining 1 cup sugar and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Remove from heat and stir in remaining 1 cup rhubarb. Let cool completely. Remove rhubarb with a slotted spoon and reserve. Return liquid to a simmer and cook until reduced by half, 5 to 8 minutes. Let cool slightly, then return rhubarb to syrup. Once cool, rhubarb can be refrigerated in syrup up to 1 week in an airtight container; bring to room temperature before using.

To finish, dollop a generous amount of whipped cream onto each cupcake and top with rhubarb and some syrup. Serve immediately.

Makes 16

Whipped Cream

2 cups heavy cream
¼ cup confectioners’ sugar, sifted


Whisk heavy cream until soft peaks form. Add confectioners’ sugar and whisk until combined. If not using immediately, whipped cream can be refrigerated, covered tightly, up to 3 hours in an airtight container.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Here’s to new beginnings!

Well I finally did it, I started a blog! After years of loitering around everyone else’s food blogs I decided it was time I became an active participant in this electronic food world. The fact that my name (April) represents spring and the fact that spring by definition represents new life and new beginnings and the fact that spring is in fact upon us…well it just seemed like the perfect time to launch myself into this new adventure. It has nice symmetry and I’m just not one to argue with symmetry.

Did I mention it was spring? Well it is and we all know what that means..the air is warmer, the sun is with us longer and we can smell the farm fields all coming back to life. Our farmers market isn’t open yet but our local farms are certainly well on their way to their growing season. This past weekend we decided to venture out to Andrew’s Scenic Acres, a local ‘pick your own’ farm. I’d like to tell you that our first farm visit of the year was picture perfect with bright blue skies and the smell of the earth being warmed by the sun but I’d be lying. We were there to pick asparagus and rhubarb but I had pumpkin pie on the brain and Bridget thought we should be picking out a Christmas tree. Although the air was cool (ok fine, freezing) we were still thrilled to head out into the fields and catch the first signs of what’s to come. Asparagus standing tall like little soldiers in their beautiful green and purple uniforms and rhubarb with its gorgeous ruby colored stems and leaves the size of pillows. As a result of the rather chilly weather we decided to make quick work of our harvesting and head for home to see what treats we could conjure up with our little treasures.

I think asparagus is in it’s glory when it’s really prepared in the most simple ways. A little olive oil, a little sea salt and some freshly ground pepper and on the grill, that’s my absolute favourite way to enjoy them. That’s what I had in mind on the way home from the farm but I think the cooler weather got the better of me and I was really looking for something a little more ‘cozy’ than something from the grill. Risotto…oh yeah. Traditionally I go to my stand-by lemon and asparagus risotto but again, today I was looking for something a little more cozy, a little more savoury. This recipe is virtually the same as my lemon one but instead of adding fresh lemon zest near the end, I just added some fresh thyme at the beginning when I was sweating the shallots. The end result was outstanding and it has now moved to the top of my list as my new favourite risotto recipe!

Grilled Asparagus and Thyme Risotto

3 tablespoons good quality olive oil
4 good sized shallots, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 ½ cups Arborio rice
½ cup dry white wine
4 ¼ cups chicken broth, warmed (preferably organic and/or homemade)
1 ½ lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed
½ cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 tablespoons cold unsalted butter


Coat the asparagus with 1 tablespoon olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Preheat the grill to medium-high heat. Grill the asparagus, turning occasionally, until tender, 4 to 5 minutes. When they start to look bright green they are probably done. Do not overcook. Cut the asparagus on the bias into 2-inch lengths.

In a saucepan bring your broth to a simmer.

In a large pan over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme and salt and cook for 1 minute. Add the rice, stirring constantly, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Keep things moving, you don’t want anything sticking to the bottom. Add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the stock a ladle full at a time, stirring constantly and waiting until it has been fully. Continue adding stock as needed, until the rice is tender but firm, 20 to 25 minutes.

Remove from heat and stir in the butter and cheese until combined. Stir in asparagus. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Don’t forget to bring the block of cheese and the grater to the table for those who enjoy a little extra!

Makes 4 good size servings