Chef Sharon Stroko
Sharon Stroko is a registered nurse who specialized in infusion therapy. At the peak of her nursing career, Sharon had the chance to turn her hobby and passion for cooking into a career when her sister Marcia invited her to become a partner in the bed & breakfast and conference center. She took the plunge and has been enthusiastic about creating tasty and healthy meals for the guests at the Inn.
Sharon has always been a cook. By the age of 10 she was boning chickens and making beef stew. Because of her Polish heritage, Sharon has also honed the art of making pierogis.
Her reputation for delicious meals has grown and guests are always enthusiastic to try Sharon’s latest creations.
Inn the Kitchen with Sharon
Even though it doesn’t look much like spring outside at the Rustic Gate, inside I have been trying to make sure the season has arrived in our dining room. The produce market in the last few weeks has had great looking and very flavorful asparagus. And even though it is too soon for the local crop to be out, the imports are a fine substitute for now. So until May when we will see our local spears from the farm a few miles from us, I am indulging guests with a taste of what is to come from nearby by making a spring favorite, cream of asparagus soup.
CREAM OF ASPARAGUS SOUP
Cream of Asparagus Soup
2 lbs. fresh asparagus - trim tips off and save and chop stalks into 1/2 in. slices
4 cloves garlic
1 c. onion
2 medium potatoes – peeled and diced into 1/2 in. chunks
1 qt. box chicken stock
1/4 c. parsley
Salt & pepper
1/2 c. white wine
1 c. fat free 1/2 & 1/2
2 TBS olive oil
Fresh dill & sour cream garnish
In a soup stock pot saute' onion, garlic and chopped asparagus stalks in olive oil and salt until tender - approx. 3-4 min. Add chicken stock and potato chunks, parsley & pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer until vegetables are tender - approx. 20 min. Cool slightly. Puree soup in small batches in a blender or use a stick blender in the pot and puree until smooth. Return pot to low heat. Add white wine and fat free 1/2 & 1/2 slowly while keeping on low heat. In a different saute' pan, add 1TBS. olive oil and asparagus tips and a pinch of salt. Sauté on med. high for 3-4 min. - tips should be green, crisp and slightly tender.
To serve: spoon soup into bowls, add tips to top of each bowl and garnish with dill and sour cream.