Share our Strength Holiday Table

December 13, 2010

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The holidays are upon us and in full force.  Christmas music can be heard in almost any store I walk into, holiday lights adorn many of the houses in my neighborhood, my kids are gearing up for our our annual cruise down Santa Clause Lane (more on that later), and I am near the finish line on making and completing all my holiday gifts.  We have been invited to several parties, been to friends for intimate dinners, my boys have created and decorated cookies with our neighbors and we have done our own fair share of entertaining.  Yet, while me, my family and my community share all the joys that the holidays bring, many children are not afforded the same good fortune.  Many kids go to bed hungry, wake up hungry and go to school hungry.

We, as Americans, are fully aware of the poverty and famine in surrounding, third world countries.  However, not much has been said about the nearly 17 million(about 1 in 4) children that go hungry each year.  Until now!  Share our Strenght, a non-profit, is working tirelessly to end childhood hunger in America by 2015.  I first became aware of SOS last April when I participated in a “bloggers bake sale” organized by my pal, Gaby. I was immediately in love with the organization and wanted to do whatever I could to help.

So, when SOS asked me to participate, with a group of my friends and fellow bloggers, in a virtual, progressive, potluck fundraising dinner, I was both honored and humbled. Traditional progressive dinners last one night.  This progressive dinner will last 9 nights, which started on December 6th and ends on December 14th.  Friends of mine, like  Deliciously Organic, Devour the WorldFamily Fresh CookingFood Woolf, Ladles and Jellyspoons, Three Many Cooks, The Italian Dish, and What’s Gaby Cooking are all creating dishes for a 7 course meal to raise awareness and money for this fabulous cause.

We were all given the choice to pick our category.  I didn’t pick the obvious(dessert), I went with another favorite; side dishes.  I love sides.  When ordering my main course in a restaurant, my decision usually hinges on what sides are served with it.  I am in the process of reading several cookbooks.  I wanted to draw my inspiration from one of these books.  I choose a very simple, vegetable side dish from Ad Hoc at Home.

I choose to make the asparagus and tomato-bacon stew (pg.193) because I wanted something light and I wanted something that would compliment a traditional, Italian-style Christmas Eve dinner.  Every year, we spend Christmas Eve with our friends and their three kids.  My friends mom is oh-so very Italian and boy can she cook.  Big vats of marinara sauce bubbles on the stove, the meatballs are the size of tennis balls, big trays of baked ziti bake in the oven,  and the smell of the garlic bread permeates throughout the house.  They usually give me free reign on what to make.  This year I will bring this delicious side and some Grandma Rose’s Butter Cookies with red and green m & m’s.

This is one of those dishes that can be eaten all year around.  The sauce could for this dish would work with almost any green veggie and it only took minutes to prep.

To donate to Share our Strength, go here.

 

asparagas and tomato-bacon stew
adapted from Ad Hoc at Home
yield: 4 servings

ingredients:
3 oz. thick cut bacon, cut into 1″ x 1/4″ lardons
2 Tbls. coarsley chopped leeks, white part only
2 Tbls. onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
kosher salt + pepper
one 14-oz can San Marzano whole tomatoes
canola oil
2 1/2 lbs. large asparagas, trimmed and peeled
1/4 cup  plus 2 Tbls. chicken stock
olive oil
instructions:
• prepare all your ingredients
• pour 2 tablespoons water into a medium saucepan and set over medium heat. add the bacon and reduce heat and let bacon render for 30 minutes.  transfer bacon to paper towels using a slotted spoon.  save bacon fat.
• keep 2 tablespoons in pan, reserve the rest of the bacon fat, and add the leeks, onions, garlic and stir to coat.  add salt and pepper to taste. cook for 5-7 minutes or until the veggies are soft. add the tomatoes with their juices and simmer for 45 minutes.
• transfer half the mixture to a mini chopper and process until puree. add back into pan. cook for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened. stir in the bacon and reduce the heat to low.
• heat a large frying pan, that could hold half the asparagas in a single layer over medium low heat. pour a film of the reserved bacon fat or some canola oil into the pan and lay the asparagus over the fat.  add 3 tablespoons of stock and some salt.  cook until tender, about 7 minutes. repeat with the other half of the asparagus.
• lay a layer of sauce on a your platter.  layer your asparagus over the sauce and top with remaining sauce.  sprinkle with a little fresh parm and some good olive oil.

Loving Asaparagus | @Susan Salzman | www.theurbanbaker.com

To view the whole meal, click here

December 13: Sides

Gourmet

Heather Christo
We like to Cook, and Eat
Plum Pie

Family Friendly

What’s Cooking
Dine and Dish
The Evolving Cook
Katrina Runs for Food

Vegetarian

My Kitchen Addiction
Taste as You Go
Flamingo Musings

Gluten Free

The Whole Gang
Jenn Cuisine – A mostly Gluten Free cooking Blog
Creative Cooking Gluten Free


{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kristen December 13, 2010 at 7:28 am

Wonderful appetizer!

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2 marla {family fresh cooking} December 13, 2010 at 9:25 am

The tomato bacon stew sounds amazing – especially over the asparagus. I am so happy that we can generate awareness to support this VERY important cause. XO

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3 The Italian Dish December 13, 2010 at 10:18 am

Wow, Susan, this sounds great! I’m going to have to try it. Love Ad Hoc. And this is such a great cause.

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4 Jenn December 13, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Beautiful looking asparagus! So happy to participate with you in today’s SOS course!

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5 Amanda December 13, 2010 at 1:15 pm

Did you really crate a tomato and bacon stew that can be used on virtually any veggie?? You ROCK!!!

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6 Jen @ My Kitchen Addiction December 13, 2010 at 5:14 pm

What a fun dish! That tomato bacon stew sounds fabulous, and now I am dreaming up all kinds of dishes to serve it with. Love the photos of the asparagus, too. Lovely! Glad to share today’s course with you and help to support SOS!

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7 Michelle (What's Cooking with Kids) December 13, 2010 at 6:56 pm

I love that cookbook! Thank you for participating in our efforts to end childhood hunger – it so wonderful to meet so many wonderful bloggers :-) ps. Love the texture of your asparagus in the cup!

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8 Gluten Free Diva December 14, 2010 at 9:21 pm

Been dying to try those San Marzano tomatoes. Your sidedish looks yum. Anytime I eat asparagus in the winter, it always conjures up images of summer.

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9 Mariko December 14, 2010 at 9:37 pm

Wow. That is so creative and beautiful. I want to make it for sure. I don’t know enough ways to serve asparagus and I’d love to have this in my repertoire.
Followed you over from Dianne J’s blog– you DO have a great blog. I know you know it, but it’s good to hear it. A lot. :)

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10 Alison @ Ingredients, Inc. October 3, 2011 at 1:30 pm

These look delish!

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