The Ardent Epicure

An Ode to the Pleasures of Food

 Shaved Spring Vegetables with Feta Cream

Although I did not make it out to Farmers Market this week, I did
have a lovely organic veggie spree at a local health food store. The
only goodies from the garden today are the mint leaves. I was looking
for the a pure fresh flavors of ginger tea and meyer lemon on this one.
Combined with the creamy feta we have created, we have a lovely
marriage of flavors to highlight our fresh vegetable selection.

What you will need:
Per entrée sized serving

For the vegetables 
3 fresh baby zucchini, shaved
5 fresh baby rainbow carrots, shaved
4-5 medium fresh asparagus, shaved
1 ounce fresh haricots verts, split lengthwise
(French green beans)
1/2 bell pepper, shaved
(red, orange or yellow)
1 heaping tablespoon loose ginger tea
(or one tea bag)
1/8th cup sunflower oil
(or other light oil)
1 1/2 small meyer lemons
(1 juice, 1/2 for garnish)
1 handful of baby spinach
Small bunch of sunflower greens
2-3 leaves fresh mint, chopped

For the feta cream
5 ounces greek yogurt, plain
2 ounces sheep's milk feta
1 ounce half and half (more or less
depending on desired consistency)
Juice of 1/2 meyer lemon
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparing your vegetables:

*Note: because we are blanching our vegetables we are not "thinly shaving" them,
this is delightful as a raw vegetable salad and I suggest a thinner shave for this...

For the majority of your vegetables here I suggest a mandolin. This will allow for
an easy uniformity in thickness as well as the wonderful "shaved look". As we are
looking to slice our vegetables thinly I used the #2 setting on the mandolin. I used
this too for all of our sliced vegetables here with the exception of the haricots verts
and the asparagus. For these two I used a small sharp pairing knife. This is optional
and depends on your comfort with a pairing knife.

For the asparagus, I first trimmed of the bottom third or so, then using a vegetable
peeler I trimmed the stem bellow the head on all sides. For the haricots verts I
sliced in thirds lengthwise, or if using a larger green bean you may prefer the mandolin .

Let's get cooking:

For the vegetables
Start by bringing a medium sauce pan filled with water along with you ginger tea
to a boil. Once this is boiling add your carrots and cook until firm but just tender,
about 10-12 minutes. Strain and set aside in a small bowl. Next place your asparagus
and haricots verts (or green beans) in the boiling tea water, and remove your tea bag.
Continue to cook at a boil until asparagus starts to tender, about 8-10 minutes. Again,
strain and set aside in a separate bowl. Last we add the baby zucchini to the boiling
tea and cook until just becoming tender, about 5 minutes, drain and set aside.
*Note: All vegetables should be just cooked to a firm but slightly
tender state, do not over cook.

In the meantime, take a small mixing bowl and add your oil and lemon juice.
Whisk mixture until incorporated. Gently toss each section of your vegetables
one at a time. Return vegetables to separate bowls and repair to layer.

For the feta cream
Place yogurt and feta in blender with a small amount of cream or half and half.
Blend until smooth add juice of 1/2 meyer lemon and continue to blend until
creamy, adding more cream if needed.

Get this look:

Begin with a layer of trimmed baby spinach, then add layers of vegetables as follows-
Baby zucchini, baby rainbow carrots, asparagus and  haricots verts, bell peppers
and arrange sunflower greens around vegetables. Top with feta cream with
additional salt and pepper if desired. Garnish with chopped mint :)

Alisha~Magic of Spice

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