Let’s Get Bloomin’

Spring Panzanella - Asparagus, Peas, Radish 03
I am thankful. Looking at the women in my family, I don’t know how I arrive at my pregnant silhouette. 36 weeks and 10 kgs heavier, my weight gain is largely concentrated in my protruding belly. Yeah, okay, my hip, ass and cheeks are widening as well, as my husband likes to pinch them whenever I ask “do you think I ate too much?” So I’m not complaining. But what is getting me is how big my tummy is. It’s driving me CRAAAAAAAAAAZZY. Do you know how difficult it is to save that piece of chocolate on the floor from the 5-second rule??? I couldn’t roll myself off the sofa, I couldn’t tie my shoelace and whenever I thought, yeah I can unplug the phone charger, I realize I can’t even reach the socket with bended knees! How frustrating! Though to be fair, I need to mention the benefit too. The best thing about my belly is that I have a larger body surface to catch food crumbles for after snack that’s kinda nice (H would cover his eyes whenever I have Homer moments like this).

So I really can’t wait to get back in shape. Not shape shape like supermodels quick, but just getting back to my old life where I can climb the stairs without huffing and puffing, where I can get out of my red reading chair, where I can paint my toe nails again without straining any muscles. That and wear some nice clothes too. My clothes, not H’s that don’t even cover my belly.

Asparagus
Garlic Parmesan Croutons 02
Spring Panzanella - Asparagus, Peas, Radish 05
So this morning, I woke up determined to get my body back. I went to the market and spent some good money on fresh vegetables. I huffed and puffed and lugged the bags home. I made this for lunch. Spring is here so let’s get blooming.

SPRING PANZANELLA
serve 1

note: cooking for one isn’t easy, there’s no real measurement, I guestimate (if there’s such a word). This turns out to be just the right portion for me. In any case, I keep some space for one cookie. Or three.

(the salad)
200-250 gr asparagus, broken and chopped about 3-4cm long
About 1/2 to 2/3 cup de-shelled fresh peas
5 radishes, chopped thinly

(the crouton)
3 slices of bread – I used freshly baked ciabatta, sliced about 1.5cm thick then cubed
1 small garlic, minced
Parmesan, grated
black pepper
salt
Extra virgin olive oil

(the dressing)
1 medium shallots, finely chopped
1 tsp dijon mustard
1-2 tbsp red wine vinegar
juice of 1/3 lemon
1 tsp honey

  • [Make the croutons] Preheat oven to 180 C.
  • In a medium bowl, dump the bread and pour some olive oil. Toss then add in the minced garlic, grated parmesan, black pepper and touch of salt. Toss with hands, turning the bread around to get all the nice bits. Add more olive oil if needed. Bake about 8-10 mins, till just a little toasty on the outside.
  • [Make the dressing] Mix all ingredients together. Taste & adjust.
  • [Make the salad] Prepare ice bath in 2 bowls – one for the peas and another for the asparagus.
  • In a small pot of simmering salted water, blanch the peas for 1 minute or less. Taste one. Once it’s ready, scoop out and transfer to ice bath, leaving the hot water on the stove.
  • Add in the asparagus and boil for about 7-10 mins. Taste and once ready, scoop out and transfer to ice bath to stop cooking. Drain the asparagus, transfer to kitchen towel to get rid of excess water then to your salad bowl.
  • Into the salad bowl, add in the peas (drained), the chopped radishes, the croutons and half of the dressing. Sprinkle some salt & black pepper. Using hands, toss the salad. Taste and adjust.
  • Grate more parmesan if desired. Serve immediately.
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