The Odessa Record -

Welcome to my Kitchen

Veggie delights and more


Washington-grown asparagus is in season, and available at markets and road side stands. Steamed and seasoned with a bit of butter, salt and pepper or prepared in your favorite main dish, nothing beats the flavor of fresh-from-the- field asparagus.

Precious Frittata Prima-vera, a recipe from the Precious dairy products company, is a savory main course for breakfast, luncheons or dinner. Preparation time is less than 20 minutes, and the nearly 1 hour baking time makes it ideal for serving company, as you can have the kitchen cleaned up and the delicious aroma filling your home as guests arrive.

Precious Frittata Primavera

3 Tbsp butter

1 cup potato, peeled and diced

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup sliced mushrooms

12 ounces asparagus, trimmed, cooked and cut into 1/2-inch pieces; reserve tips

1 cup diced cooked ham

12 large eggs, beaten

1 1/2 cups half and half cream

2 1/2 cups Precious mozzarella, shredded

1 cup Precious whole milk ricotta cheese

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley

Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with baking spray and set aside.

Melt butter in nonstick skillet. Cook potatoes, onions and mushrooms over medium heat until tender. Add asparagus pieces and ham. Season with salt and pepper. Spread mixture in prepared pan. In a large mixing bowl, stir cheeses, cream, parsley and additional salt and pepper into beaten eggs. Pour egg mixture into baking dish. Top with asparagus tips. Bake 45 to 55 minutes until set in the middle. Cool 10 minutes before cutting into squares. Yield: 10-12 servings.

Note: Bacon may be substituted for the ham and well drained, canned mushrooms may be substituted for fresh.

Pickled asparagus is a popular item in many Odessa households. Marilyn Fink shared her recipe with me in 1987, and though it has been featured in this column several times, it bears repeating as new cooks venture into food preserving.

Pickled Asparagus

6 cups water

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

6 tsp un-iodized salt

1 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

6 cups vinegar

1 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

Dried dill weed

Approximately 15-20 pounds fresh asparagus

Garlic cloves (6-8)

Wash asparagus and trim to fit jars. Place 1/2 to 1 tsp dill weed and 1/2 garlic clove in each jar. Pack asparagus, stem end down, tightly into jars.

Combine remaining ingredients in a large, non-reactive kettle and bring to a boil. Pour or ladle hot mixture over asparagus in jars. Tip jars to let any trapped air escape. Place canning lid and ring on jars. Process in boiling water bath 5 minutes. Yield: 6 quarts or 12 pints, varies with jar style.

Macaroni and cheese can create culinary controversy. Homemade, or from a box? In reality, they are two different things. Some claim only homemade is real food. Others claim homemade is...yucky, awful, disgusting – just a few of the terms I have heard used to describe various cheese pasta dishes. The boxed varieties have their controversies as well. Brand allegiance is fierce, especially among the youth.

Danielle Hardung shared her recipe for Mac N Cheese in the first Friends of the Odessa Pool Cookbook. This stovetop version has the creaminess of the boxed varieties, and mustard and Tabasco give a rich color as well as a spicy flavor kick.

Mac N Cheese

2 cups Macaroni noodles

Salt and pepper

2 large eggs

1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk

2 tsp Dijon mustard

1/2 tsp Tabasco sauce

4 Tbsp butter

2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

2 cups shredded Colby Jack cheese

Cook macaroni in salted water according to package directions. Meanwhile, mix eggs, half the evaporated milk, mustard, Tabasco, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper.

Drain macaroni and return to pan. Over low heat stir in butter until melted. Stir in egg mixture and half of the cheese. Continue to cook over low heat, gradually stirring in the rest of the milk and cheese until hot and creamy (about 5 minutes). Yield: 4-6 servings.

Area rhubarb patches are beginning to produce abundantly. Lise Ott shared her recipe for Rhubarb Crisp in the same Friends of the Odessa Pool Cookbook. This easy, rich, tart recipe is yummy served warm or cold.

Rhubarb Crisp

6 cups rhubarb, cut 1/2 inch thick

1 cup granulated sugar

1 cup firmly packed brown sugar

1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

1 egg

1/2 cup melted butter

1 1/2 cups oatmeal

Place prepared rhubarb in a 9x13 inch baking pan. In a large mixing bowl, combine sugars, flour, salt, egg and melted butter, stirring until mixture is smooth. Pour over rhubarb, then sprinkle with oatmeal. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Yield: 8-10 servings. Delicious topped with whipped cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Note: Rhubarb is easy to freeze for using in recipes year-round. Simply trim, wash and dry stalks, then cut in 1/2 inch slices. Place in single layer on cookie sheets, and place in freezer overnight. Package frozen rhubarb in zip closure bags and store in freezer. No need to thaw before adding to most recipes.

Share your favorite asparagus and rhubarb recipes, along with any other springtime favorites by sending them to: Welcome to My Kitchen, c/o The Odessa Record, P.O. Box 458, Odessa, WA 99159 or to, or drop them in the Welcome to My Kitchen mail tin in The Odessa Record office.

It should be warm enough to set out tender plants without fear of frost. Trim back early blooming plants. Some varieties will re-bloom as dead flowers are trimmed away.


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