Monday, March 26, 2007


As the weather warms and spring approaches, I am going to be adding posts about springtime harvests. The first one that comes to mind and one of my favorites is asparagus.

The word asparagus derives from the Greek word aspharagos meaning 'sprout'. If you have ever seen asparagus growing, you can see it is aptly named. Asparagus, which is a member of the Lily family, grows well in Michigan.

Asparagus is a very nutritionally balanced vegetable. It is a good source of potassium, fiber, folic acid, thiamin and vitamins A, B6, and C.
People have enjoyed asparagus for thousands of years. The Romans and Greeks enjoyed it for its flavor and for its medicinal purposes. It was used to heal toothaches and bee stings. During the Renaissance, asparagus was banned from nunneries because it was considered an aphrodisiac. Today it is used to treat urinary tract infections and kidney stones.
Because asparagus has such a fantastic, vibrant flavor, it tastes great when prepared very simply. Two of my favorite methods are blanching or roasting.
To blanch: remove woody ends and place in pot of boiling, salted water for 3 to 4 minutes until spears turn bright green. Remove and place immediately in a bowl of iced water to stop cooking process.
To roast: remove woody ends and lightly oil spears with olive oil. Season with coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place on baking sheet in a preheated 400°F oven for 8 to 12 minutes depending on how thick the spears are.
It is great in wraps and sandwiches; egg dishes like omelets, frittatas and quiches; in chicken and fish dishes and in salads.
Michigan Asparagus Advisory Board offers tips for storage, cooking and recipes.
Nearly 250 recipes on
Next time you are at the market, look and see if the small, thin, early spears of asparagus have arrived, buy a bunch and enjoy!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sorry for my absence

I apologize for those few Presto! blog readers out there for my absence. The beginning of the year has been busy, busy, busy! Besides my usual client and event load, I have been teaching classes through several community enrichment programs.

Classes held include:

Caribbean Cuisine

Eastern European Cuisine

Indian Cuisine

Mexican Cuisine

Foods for Women - what we should be eating

Healthy Eating - easy ways to eat healthier

One Pot Meals - although this class was cancelled

I have upcoming classes if you are interested. Brunch Basics is a hands-on class being held Saturday, April 14 (10 am to 12 pm) and Grilling 101 is a demonstration class being held Tuesday, May 15 (7 pm - 8:30 pm). Visit Delta Township for additional information on either.

So thank you for your patience. You will be rewarded with some great spring food facts and recipes. Stay tuned!