Monday, April 23, 2007

Asparagus has been used from very early times as a culinary vegetable, owing to its delicate flavour and diuretic properties. There is a recipe for cooking asparagus in the oldest surviving book of recipes, Apicius's 3rd century AD De re coquinaria, Book III. (reprinted from Wikipedia).

I just discovered this tasty gem a few years ago when Greg's sister-in-law took a chance and gave us some fresh spears from her garden. I went ahead and roasted them on the grill, and a new love was born. I had eaten asparagus one other time in my life, but it was mushy and disgusting, and I carried that bad memory with me since childhood.

Of course it's best fresh, and we're in the peak of the season right now. Tonight I tried this recipe that came to me via Kalyn's Kitchen, but is from Simply Recipes.

The asparagus was cooked perfectly - tender and crisp. The lemon added a nice hint of zing. Yum!

I have purchased some asparagus to plant in my own yard - hopefully in a couple of years I'll be able to share my bounty, too!


Preparation time: 10 minutes.

1 bunch of medium sized asparagus, about 1 lb

2 Tbsp of the most exquisite extra virgin olive oil

2 Tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon lemon zest - freshly grated lemon rind

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 Prepare the asparagus by rinsing them thoroughly, break off any tough, white bottoms and discard. Cut into 1 to 2 inch sections, slicing the asparagus at a slight diagonal.

2 Fill a medium sized saucepan half way with water, bring to a boil. Add the asparagus and reduce heat slightly to a simmer. Parboil the asparagus for exactly 2 minutes. Drain the hot water.

While the asparagus are still hot, toss them in a bowl with the olive oil, Parmesan, and lemon rind. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm or room temperature.

Note that when you are working with so few ingredients, it's important to make sure they are of the highest quality.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Yummy breakfast

This recipe came from and sounded like an easy Spring morning breakfast to me. I couldn't wait for it to cool completely, so I had to eat my piece with a fork. I thought I might take it to work tonight to share, but having it last that long is questionable... :o)

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

1/3 cup sugar

1/2 cup finely chopped pecans, toasted

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1 cup sugar

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 egg

1 cup milk

1/3 cup cooking oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Grease/flour/spray the bottom and sides of a 9″x5″x3″ loaf pan.

Combine 1/3 cup of sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.

Combine 1 cup of sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt.

In a separate bowl, beat egg. Then, stir in milk and oil.

Make a well in the flour mixture and add the egg mixture. Stir just until mixed. Do not overmix.

Pour half of the batter into loaf pan. Sprinkle with half of the cinnamon mixture. Repeat. With a wide rubber scraper or spatula, swirl mixtures together with a down and up circular motion. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until done. Cool in pan for about 10 minutes. Then, cool completely on a wire rack.

Nutrition Education

This comes from my mom's recipe box. It must've been torn from a product box - perhaps brown sugar? I got a good chuckle when I read the nutrition advice on the bottom.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Prepare to be amazed

Since going to Alaska last summer, we've been eating a lot more salmon. This recipe comes from my aunt, Jan Anderson. She went to Alaska in the Fall, and got this recipe from a woman who lives in Anchorage. This is exactly the way she sent it to me:

de-skin & cube salmon
de-seeded & diced jalapeño pepper
diced onion
fresh grated ginger root
equal parts sour cream & mayonnaise

sea salt
bake 375 degrees, 45 minutes
sprinkle fresh grated parmesan on top last 10 minutes

It is SOOOO good! We had it with roasted asparagus, hush puppies, Cesaer salad, and a very nice white wine named Traminette. The wine comes from a Nebraska vineyard which Aunt Jan also introduced us to.

Saturday, April 7, 2007


I don't usually fix appetizers for our meals, with the exception of celery stuffed with peanut butter. Sometimes I make a plate of those and Greg has them for a snack when he gets home from work. So much for the appetizers. :o)
Yesterday I purchased a 16 oz. box of whole mushrooms, and when I got them home I noticed a recipe on the side of the wrapper. I had all the ingredients, and thought these would be perfect along with the nice supper that was planned.

Since there were just the two of us, I made less than half of the original recipe, and I still had some filling leftover. That's okay - there are more mushrooms just waiting for some yummy goodness to be tucked inside and baked!

Here's the original recipe:

Stuffed Mushrooms

8 oz. cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat)

4 slices bacon

1 small onion, finely diced

8 mushroom stems, finely diced

(I always clean mushrooms by wiping gently with a damp paper towel.)

Remove mushroom stems, saving 8 for the filling. Cook the bacon and let cool. Drain all but a small amount of bacon grease. Saute onion and mushroom stems in bacon grease, just till softened. Crumble bacon. Mix bacon, onion/mushroom mixture, and cream cheese til well blended. Fill mushroom caps w/ cream cheese mixture.

Bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Remove from oven and turn on broiler. Broil just long enough to brown the tops. (Took about 2 minutes.)


Friday, April 6, 2007

Back in Time...

I've been doing a little Spring-cleaning; rearranging furniture, sorting through closets, organizing my hobby supplies.
In the midst of the chaos I found my mom's recipe box. I always knew I had it, and knew where it was, but today I brought it out and put it on my desk. This afternoon I took a little break from my sorting and looked through the contents. In coming weeks I will share some of the recipes I found, but for today I thought this would be interesting.
It's a menu from a cafe - on the back is scribbled a couple of cake recipes, so that's why this was in the box. I got a chuckle at the prices of the meals, and you KNOW it was good, homemade food. None of the boxed or instant stuff we get at our cafe here sometimes.
(If you click on the menu, you should be able to see it in a larger size, thus being better able to read the prices.)
Entrees included potatoes and gravy, stewed tomatoes (ew), salad, bread pudding, bread and butter, coffee or tea. Milk was 5 cents extra. :o)
My best guess is this menu is from the early 60's. I don't remember this cafe, and I don't even know if it was in York. I do know we can't cook this cheap at home now - what would Dan think of today's $3.50 hamburger?