Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

Food Ruts | Cooking Asparagus


I get in food ruts often. I’ll find a technique or dish I love and wear it out in a way. Lately I’ve been in a real veggie rut. Sick of some of the veggie dishes I’d made over and over and not sure where to go from there.


All images by Katie Dudley Photography

A few weeks ago, Tom (@foodbytom – he’s the real deal) invited Alix, Katie and I to enjoy an evening of fine food and learning. We learned details about vegetables, steak and mousse I hadn’t paid attention to before. With good food, it’s all about the details.


I’m not going to spill all the beans on what I learned in our cooking session, but one of the takeaways from the class was how to cook asparagus to perfection. Just about any cooking method will work (we blanched then cooked in a skillet), but the key to making them amazing is peeling the stalk just below the tip. It removes all stringy-ness. Brilliant, right? We all have Tom to thank for that one.


We also talked about plating food. I realize I’m terrible at it. I over-think the plating so my food looks very one-dimensional. Plating is a real art form. Alix aced it with her meat tower.


I want to have a rad garden so I can use cool things like mini radishes and kale blooms for perfectly styling my meals (maybe that’ll help the kids eat their veggies?).



We learned so much and ate well. There weren’t difficult instructions or outlandish ingredients, so I could duplicate what I learned at home. And I have! The moment I walked through the door that night, I went to work making mousse. Now I’m Penelope’s favorite person.

You can book Tom for private cooking sessions (he’ll come to you) and pop-up dinners! Both are tremendously fun. Chris and I did a double date with our friends Miriam and Allen. We learned the art of gnocchi and pizza.

Food: Blackened Asparagus


I’ve been cooking quite a bit with asparagus lately. It’s that time of year, and it’s just plain delicious when you get it early in the season. If you wait until it’s just about off season, this stuff gets bitter. Roasting or blackening them tends to fix that.


I’ve had a few people ask via instagram and facebook if I would share my “recipe” for cooking asparagus.


I was introduced to the wonderful world of roasted vegetables when we lived in California and a woman from church taught us the best methods for cooking vegetables. Roasting is wonderful, it breaks down the sugars and brings out the sweetness and flavor in any vegetable. BUT. . .  it’s a pain to heat up your oven in the warmer months and it generally takes about 30-50 minutes to oven roast. Here’s how you can do it all on the stove top in 5 minutes.


Cut your asparagus in thirds. Discard the bottom third (this is the most fibrous and bitter part of the veggie) and cut the middle in half lengthwise. Leave the top as is.


One bunch of asparagus is enough to feed about 4 people.


Heat a large pan to high heat. Since you’re blackening these veggies, you cook them high and fast. You want to use an oil or fat that can withstand high heat. For natural oils, go with peanut or olive. Cooking sprays worked well, too.

Use a generous teaspoon of oil and spread over the pan.


Once pan is hot, reduce to medium high and add vegetables. I add half a bunch at a time, you want to make sure there’s enough room in the pan for the veggies to get seared by the bottom of the pan. You’ll want to have a lid ready, because it’ll sizzle. A LOT.

Cover your pan for 5 minutes, turning the vegetables every minute or so. Season and serve.


Fun ways to eat asparagus:

  • place in a caprese sandwich
  • serve with proscuitto, pear and gorgonzola
  • add to a red curry (add veggies at the end so they don’t get soggy)
  • in a crepe with chicken, basil, red peppers, tomatoes and hollandaise sauce
  • with a little salt and pepper


I loved every bite of the above sandwich. It tasted like spring. I’m really craving spring right now, we’ve been stuck in a rain cloud the last couple days.


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