Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Asparagus with brown butter and balsamic

My good friend at work, Jae, was gushing (literally) to me last week about her love for Brussels sprouts with balsamic vinegar. I've tried Brussels sprouts in the past, and to be quite honest, they just didn't trip old FWK's trigger. But, I decided to give them another try using the balsamic. They were OK, but, what I really liked was the balsamic and butter sauce.  I do, however, like asparagus, and thought they would be good with something similar. Following the recipe below, I was pretty happy with the results. But, first off, olive oil, salt, and pepper and then grilling the asparagus is pretty awesome in itself! Very simple and quick, just plain wonderful. I would change a couple things on the balsamic recipe below. You don't need to salt the asparagus, there is plenty in the soy sauce. I used 1/2 unsalted butter and 1/2 salted (it's all I had), so that may have contributed to the saltiness, too. If you don't have unsalted butter, be sure you don't add any more salt, and, maybe cut the soy sauce in half as well. The balsamic gives a very nice flavor!

1-2 lbs asparagus spears (trim or peel any stalks that seem tough)
1 tablespoon olive oil

1/4 teaspoon salt (I use kosher salt)

1/8 teaspoon black pepper

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar


1-Arrange asparagus in a single layer on baking sheet; toss to coat with olive oil.

2-Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
3-Grill for about 10 minutes, or, bake at 400 for 10 minutes. Don't over cook.
4-Just before asparagus is done, melt butter in a small skillet over medium heat; cook for 3 minutes or until lightly browned, shaking pan occasionally.
5-Do not burn the butter or let it get too brown, should be golden brown.

6-Remove from heat; stir in soy sauce, and vinegar.

7-Drizzle over asparagus, tossing well to coat.

8-Serve immediately.


Main course was cajun meatloaf, made with ground turkey, beef, veal, and pork...

The recipe is from Paul Prudomme, I use a 20 oz package of ground turkey and a package of meat loaf mix I buy at Lunds/Byerlys, which is usually about a pound or so.

Seasoning mix: (or, you can buy Paul Prudomme's meat seasoning)

2 Whole bay leaves

1 teaspoon Salt

1 teaspoon Ground cayenne pepper

1 teaspoon Black pepper

1/2 teaspoon White pepper

1/2 teaspoon Ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon Ground nutmeg


4 tablespoons Unsalted butter

3/4 cup Finely chopped onions

1/2 cup Green bell peppers -- chopped

1/2 cup Celery - chopped

1/4 cup Green onions -- finely chopped

2 teaspoons Minced garlic

1 tablespoon Tabasco sauce

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 cup Evaporated milk

1/2 cup Catsup

1 1/2 pounds Ground beef

1/2 pound Ground pork

2 Eggs -- lightly beaten

1 cup Very fine bread crumbs
 Combine the seasoning mix ingredients in a small bowl and set aside.

Melt the butter in a 1-quart saucepan over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, tabasco, Worcestershire and seasoning mix. Saute until mixture starts sticking excessively, about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally and scraping the pan bottom well. Stir in the milk and catsup. Continue cooking for about 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and allow mixture to cool to room temperature.

Place the ground beef and pork in an ungreased 13x9-inch baking pan. Add the eggs, the cooked vegetable mixture and the bread crumbs, remove the bay leaves. Mix by hand until thoroughly combined. In the center of the pan, shape the mixture into a loaf that is about 1-1/2 inches high, 6 inches wide and 12 inches long. Bake uncovered at 350F for 25 minutes, then raise heat to 400F and continue cooking until done, about 35 minutes longer.

Serve immediately as is or with Very Hot Cajun Sauce for Beef. This is best using both ground pork and ground beef, as the pork gives more flavor diversity. However, you can make it with ground beef only. From Paul Prudhomme's "Louisiana Kitchen"

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Anguilla 2010

This was our 13th visit in a row to Anguilla! There were several things different about the trip we took this year. The biggest change is that we stayed in two entirely different areas of the island. In the past, we've always stayed in the East end of the island, so we could be near Shoal Bay, our favorite beach on the island. We did that the first week, then we moved to a newly built 20 unit complex in the center of the island. We discovered the place last year when construction was almost completed. We got an introductory rate and decided to try it out. It is a modest B&B called "La Vue."
If you click on the website, you'll see a photo of the front of the building. Our unit is the one above the main entrance. The view of Road Bay is beautiful! There is a video below this posting showing the harbor and our view. We liked it very much, and, since we do tend to go out at night, the location is very close to our favorite night time hangouts! We booked it again for both weeks next year. It is a much further drive to Shoal Bay. However, it is very close to several other beaches and restaurants on the West end of the island.

This is Road Bay, we stayed in the yellow building at the top center of the picture.

A ship being unloaded in the harbor. I believe it was full of sand used in construction. The bags were taken out of the hold by a crane, 4 at a time, and placed on a flatbed trailler. The trailers could hold 16 bags. It took about 24 hours to unload the ship.

Other changes, a couple close friends, Mike and Mary Ann, from Maryland, were not there while we were on the island, due to the death of Mary Ann's mother. They are on the island now, we missed them very much! We were happy to see Matt and Vicki, from PA, who hadn't been to Anguilla for the past two years. They liked La Vue so much they booked it for 2011 too. Angie and Debbie, two friends of ours that we met in Anguilla but are from the Twin Cities were also there the same two weeks as us this year. They had a pretty good time, as you'll see by some of the pictures! One of our most fun days was when our neighbors across the street from where we live in Maple Grove came over to visit. Pam and John were staying in St. Maarten the same week we were in Anguilla. They came over by ferry and we entertained them for about 6 hours. We had lots of fun showing them a little bit of the island and introducing them to our island friends! We might have even had a drink or two.

Pam and John, our neighbors from home, enjoying lunch at Madeariman's.

A rum punch and Heineken at the Pumphouse, a perfect combination!

Laurie, owner of the Pumphouse, doing some work for a change!

Myself, Debbie, Shari, Diane, and Gabi (co-owner of the Pumphouse).

Debbie is now the manager of the Pumphouse. We've known her for 10 years or so. She's my secret girlfriend! Just don't tell Diane...

Angie and Debbie are training for the WI Ironman Triathlon next September. They took 2 weeks off from their diligent training to have a little bit of fun while in Anguilla! This is Angie.

Debbie feels that shots and beer will contribute positively to her training!

Angie, Nature Boy, and Debbie having fun at the Pumphouse!
Nature Boy operates a charter fishing boat service on the island.

The Pumphouse
This is Bob and Jill, who are from Canada. Bob is a retired physician and has been building a house on Anguilla the past 3 years. We met Bob last year and Jill this year. They are both great people and it's been fun getting to know them. It's kind of a lousy picture of Bob, but that's normal for him!
In the background are Matt and Vicki.

Elvis' Beach Bar
I have a video in one of the postings below this one.


The Sand Dollar Restaurant
We ran into these characters our last night on the island! Charlie (in sunglasses), and Trudy (center of photo), are also from MN, and have been going to Anguilla for about 20 years. Other people in the picture are Dick and Nancy (seated below me), Vicki and Matt (next to Diane), and Connie is the woman I have my arm around.

Gwen's Reggae Grill
Gwen's is the place to be on Sunday afternoons! The Scratch Band plays and everybody is in party mode.
That's Deb in the white top, Myra dancing with her, and Angie in the deer hunting bikini top!

Diane, Charlie, and Deb

Angie was very proud of her hunting bikini. You could see her from 200 yards away!

This is the beach in front of Gwen's. Unfortunatley, it is eroding away due to weather changes and man made reasons.

This picture, taken in 2008 of Charlie, is the same beach area. The shot is taken from the opposite side as the one above. The building in the background is for massages on the beach. This year, they had to put steps in place to access the building. The beach that Charlie is walking on no longer exists.

This Russian yacht was in Road Bay for several days. It is owned by Russian gazillionaire. If you want more info, you can click on this link:

Marianne, Jimmy, Diane, Kenny, Matt, and Vicki.
We went to Viceroy, because several people told us it had to be seen to be believed. It is a hotel, bar, and restaurant. The restaurant was closed, because the designers didn't take into consideration that a winter storm with big waves just might crash through the windows and wreck the place! OOPS!
The cheapest rooms are $895 a night. But wait! They are having a special now; book for 2 nights and get the 3rd night free! Not a cheap place to drink, either. A Heineken was $5 and Diane broke her personal record for a glass of sauvignon blanc: $17 (and it was a short pour to boot)

Viceroy pool, next to the bar area.
If you want to look at their website:


Sunset at Elvis' Beach Bar