Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A is for Asparagus with Vanilla-Lavender Aïoli {Random Recipe, Alphabakes}

February was my first month participating in a fun event - Random Recipes - that I discovered on Belleau Kitchen. Dominic had teamed up with the We Should Cocoa event and I made a Chocolate Truffle Tart.

We took last month off. But we're back with a vengeance!

Here's Dominic's invitation for April's Event: A is for Alphabakesco-hosted this month by Ros of The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline of Caroline Makes. And here's how the boys and I picked our recipe.

So, for this month's Random Recipes, we are cooking from The Artful Vegan: Fresh Flavors from the Millennium Restaurant.

Have you ever been to Millennium? It's a vegan restaurant in San Francisco dedicated to supporting organic food production, small farms, sustainable agriculture, recycling and composting.

I'm not a vegan. Not even close. Neither were the people we took with us, but the dinner was blow-your-mind-amazing. Click to read about our meal at Millennium.

The recipe we picked, randomly: Roasted Asparagus with Vanilla-Lavender Aïoli. I adapted slightly because the aioli wasn't thickening. I looked up a few different vegan aïoli recipes and found that I could thicken it with ground nuts. So, we added in almonds. It was perfect.

Roasted Asparagus with Vanilla-Lavender Aïoli

For the Asparagus

  • 12 spears of green asparagus
  • 12 spears of purple asparagus
  • fleur de sel
  • freshly ground pepper
  • olive oil

For the Aïoli 

  • 1 t minced garlic
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 vanilla bean, caviar scraped and reserved
  • 1/2 t pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t organic maple-agave syrup
  • 1/2 t organic coconut sugar
  • 1/2 t fleur de sel
  • 1 t dried lavender
  • freshly ground pepper, about 12 grinds
  • 2 t mustard
  • 2/3 C olive oil
  • 1/2 C ground almonds

My Enthusiastic Kitchen Elf helped me with this dish.

For the aïoli, place all of the ingredients - except for the olive oil and ground almonds - in a blender. Blend until smooth. With the blender running, slowly add the oil, Blend for at least a minute. We blended for longer, hoping it would thicken; it never did. So, we whirled in the ground almonds for a thicker sauce. Refrigerate while you roast the asparagus.

For the asparagus, preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Snap off the last inch of the stem and discard. Lay your asparagus in a baking dish. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with fleur de sel and freshly ground pepper.

Roast for 20 minutes. Halfway through cooking, turn the asparagus. Return to the oven for the rest of the cooking time.

For serving, divide the asparagus onto serving plates. Either spoon the aïoli over the roasted asparagus or serve a small dish on the side.

The verdict: this was a hit. We will definitely be making this again.

I'm so, so happy that Random Recipes motivated me to finally crack the cover on this cookbook. It's been sitting on my shelf for months. Thanks, Dominic, Ros, and Caroline, for the inspiration.

And - not vegan - but we served this with Herbes de Provençe-Roasted Salmon for a tasty, filling dinner.


  1. oooh, what a lovely simple dish... I simply adore roasted asparagus. I think the roasting really brings out something that you don't get with the regular steam or boil... and glad we inspired you to use this cookbook!... thanks so much for the entry x

  2. That looks like it's going to be quite a complicated recipe with all the ingredients for the aioli so I love that it all just goes into the same blender! A great entry for Alphabakes, thanks!

  3. I'm so fascinated by this recipe. I can't imagine what it would taste like, but I want to know!


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