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"

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