Buttermilk.  It’s one of my pet peeves.  Why, you ask?  Because I have only ever seen a 1 litre carton at the grocery store.  Have you ever seen a recipe that calls for that much buttermilk?  What do you do with all the leftovers?  I made something or other with it and then I am now stuck with more than half a carton left.  Well, gentle readers, I have a couple recipes to ease your pain.  You are feeling this pain too, right?

The asparagus soup is curtosy of Christine Cushing.  Thank you Christine.  You have given me a recipe that I can change the veg and keep adding the dreaded left over buttermillk.  You can make this soup as broccoli soup, cauliflower soup, etc, but asparagus is a cool switch up that no one expects.

Recipe 2 is an easy/great cronbread from a Food Lovas’ fave – Smitten Kitchen (check the blog roll).  So many cornbreads call for cream.  Remember, I once was an athlete and therefore still steer clear of heavy cream.  Buttermilk is thick and creamy and has the added bonus of a little zip!  Dress it up as you wish.  You could add cheese and jalapenos, your favourite herbs or just keep it straight forward and plain like I did.

Asparagus Soup

4 cups fresh green asparagus trimmed, then peeled and chopped (approximately 2 bunches), cutting and reserving the tips

1/2 onion, chopped

1 leek, white part only, washed well and chopped

1 medium sized carrot, peeled and diced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter (30 ml)

1 medium sized potato, peeled and diced

1 cup spinach, chopped (125 ml)

4 cups chicken stock (1litre)

optional: 1/2 cup white wine (125 ml)

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (1 ml)

Coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste

1/4 cup buttermilk (60 ml)

Start by sauteing the leek, carrots and onion until the onions are clear.  Now add the wine if you are using it.  simmer until it is almost gone.  Add the broth, potato and asparagus stems.  Boil until the potato is tender.  Check by poking with a fork.  When tender, add the chopped spinach.  This is for colour, so add it and wait until it wilts.  Use an immersion blender or table-top blender to smooth the soup into a luscious velvety liquid.  The potato will help it to become thick.  It’s important that you peel the asparagus and cut off the ends so that there is minimal strings.  If the soup is stringy try straining it with a mesh strainer.  Now add the buttermilk (you can add more if you would like) and the cayenne for a little heat.   While the oup is cooking you can steam the reserved asparagus tips and use them for garnish when plating.  Hint:  You can put a strainer above the soup to steam the tips. 

Cornbread – Smitten Kitchen

1 tbsp butter

1.5 cups stone-ground cornmeal

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp baking soda

1.5 tsp salt

1 tsp sugar

1 large egg

1.5 cups whole or lowfat buttermilk

2 tablespoons melted butter

Preheat oven to 450 degrees farenheit.  Put the pan (9 inch round or square) into the oven with the 1 tbsp butter while it is preheating.  Mix dry ingredients together and then add the wet.  Pul out the pan from the oven and the butter should be melted and very hot – possibly smoking.  Swirl the butter to cover the pan.  Pour in the batter and it should sizzle.  Place in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the top of the bread is golden brown and the edge has pulled away from the side of the skillet.  Serve warm.  Hint:  A cast iron pan is perfect for this recipe, so use it if you have one.