Tag Archives: kitchen tools

Shaved Asparagus and Pecorino Romano Salad

size matters

It’s Spring, so that means it’s officially time for asparagus even though it seems there is rarely a time that it isn’t available at the grocery store.  It’s probably one of our favorite vegetables,  so often in the “green & healthy” rotation around here for one meal or another if the price isn’t too crazy.  Most often, I saute it simply in olive oil with onion or shallots, a bit of garlic and lemon zest.  We bake it, grill it, enjoy it in soup, frittatas, omelettes, salads, and more often without hollandaise than with it.

As much as I pride myself on knowing quite a bit about the vegetables I enjoy, I was surprised to find out even more.

Ten Things:  Did you know that:

#1  asparagus is grown in the US states of Washington, Michigan, Illinois, New Jersey and California (which grows 80% of the nearly 200 million lbs. of the US crop). Otherwise, it’s grown extensively in Mexico, Peru, and China.

#2  it can grow as much as 10″ in 24 hours and that size does matter (the thicker the spear, the better the quality). The writer takes no responsibility for any connections the reader might make which are of a sexual nature.  *snort*

3#  asparagus contains glutathione (GSH) which happens to be the most powerful detoxifier in the body.

#4  the average American eats between 1-2 lbs. of asparagus per year as compared to 18.5 lbs. tomatoes.

#5  ancient Greeks and Romans thought asparagus might relieve a toothache or prevent a bee sting.

#6  asparagus contains rutin, a bioflavonoid vital to capillary strength and increasing circulation in the lower limbs.

#7  asparagus is a super source of folacin which helps not only with the duplication of cells, but growth and repair.

#8   it is a member of the lily family.

#9  after the asparagus harvest, the spears grow into ferns with red berries.

#10 asparagus is better suited to be grown locally more than any other vegetable.

Have you ever tried asparagus raw?  It’s my new favorite way to eat it.

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Pear Gorgonzola and Walnut Rustic Tart


I’m not much of a New Year’s resolution person.  I could blame it on the fact that I often don’t finish what I’ve begun, and to some extent that may be true, but know it’s more about being someone who constantly takes stock, reflects, compulsively evaluates, over-analyzes, sifts, sorts, and thrives on general hair-splitting.  It’s endless, so to some degree  I welcome January 1 each year to think in a more focused way — at least that’s what I’ve convinced myself of.

It’s really more about being able to sigh for the first time after a busy holiday season and quietly celebrate that I don’t have to cook anything too involved if I’m not in the mood.  That for the first day in quite some time, mental lists, menus to plan, groceries to purchase, and errands to run aren’t interrupting a quiet moment, or causing alarm should something important be forgotten.  It’s exhausting, and each year I vow to live through the holidays more graciously, more collected, and more as someone who enjoys and participates rather than orchestrates and delivers.

And so I’m reflecting on our holidays today and remembering some of the delicious food we shared with those we know and love.  It always allows us to pause long enough to enjoy one another’s company, to laugh, clink our glasses in a toast or three, and then smile at the quiet that comes after everyone has picked up their forks and begun to eat.

This beautiful and delicious Pear Gorgonzola and Walnut Rustic Tart was made on Christmas Eve in celebration of a special couple, recently engaged who happen to have a kitchen always filled with music, and often, dancing.  Here’s to you Lisa and Steve!

This year, there will be more music and dancing in my kitchen.  I promise myself.

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Key Lime Cheesecake

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Sometimes I’ll ask my husband what sounds good — to smack his lips together and let me know.  It’s only fair since I’m the one who always decides what we’ll eat.  He barely gets a request in edgewise, so I give him the chance once every other blue moon.

“Key Lime Pie,” he answered when I asked a few days ago.  Not a question — a statement.  Okay.

I’m fairly good at anticipating much of what he comes up with — dinner or dessertwise — but this one threw me for a loop.  Even though we’re experiencing typical San Diego weather now (it’s always hotter in the early Fall…) I’ve had baked apples and braised meat swirling through my head for weeks.  Key Lime?  Talk about shifting gears.

It sounded so tropical and fresh — so summery.  Not to mention that my regular market doesn’t always have them.  But it must have been his lucky day, because not only did I find them, I found a bag of them — tiny green orbs of heaven from Mexico.

Key limes are quite a bit smaller than regular limes and often have skin that is more yellow than green.  To me, the taste isn’t as bitter as that of a regular or Persian lime, and the aroma more sweet. They’re so tiny, I have to get out my wooden router instead of using my old glass juicer which is so much neater.  Yes, the wooden one works, but somehow, my technique must be rotten; I end up with lime juice everywhere but the bowl I want it it!

So how did we end up with cheesecake instead of key lime pie?  I’m still working on that cheese drawer and happened to have two packages of cream cheese that needed to be used.  Besides, I couldn’t resist the lime custard in this recipe.  Oh.  My.

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