Asparagus, Mushrooms, and Pasta With Creamy Mustard Sauce

April 20, 2017

Here’s the key to a healthy pasta dish: Don’t focus on the pasta.

Make the star ingredients veggies or protein, and toss in a little pasta along the way, as opposed to the other way around. For this dish, my star ingredients are two vegetables, and you’ll be shocked at how little pasta is actually used. Read the rest of this entry »


Asparagus and Sugar Snap Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette

April 18, 2017

A few weeks ago, I shared my recipe for Cauliflower, Tomato and Avocado Salad – which I really enjoy, because it’s a delicious non-lettuce-based salad, and sometimes I get bored with lettuce. And here’s another non-lettuce-based salad recipe, that’s equally as delicious: Asparagus and Sugar Snap Salad with Molasses Vinaigrette!

You start by steaming the Read the rest of this entry »


Check Out This PURPLE Asparagus! Then Check Me Out On Periscope!

July 20, 2015

Sometimes I think I’ve seen all the oddly-colored vegetables out there. Orange cauliflower, purple carrots, orange baby zucchini? I’ve seen (and eaten) them all. So I practically jumped out of my skin when I saw, at the store…

purple-asparagus

PURPLE ASPARAGUS!
Read the rest of this entry »


Thanksgiving 2011

November 27, 2011

In my last post, I wrote about my Thanksgiving Day exercise – the Louisville Turkey Trot 5K. In this post, I’m going to catch you all up on my Thanksgiving eating.

I established two rules to help guide me through the big Thanksgiving meal, because I was determined to not let the holiday be an excuse for reckless, uncontrolled eating. Like I mentioned in my Thanksgiving Day post, those two rules were:

  1. NO SECONDS. I will indulge in a reasonable portion of whatever food I want, but I will not go back for more.
  2. I WILL PHOTOGRAPH EVERYTHING I EAT DURING THANKSGIVING DINNER. Those pictures will end up on this blog. This means that you all are going to help me maintain accountability.

How did I do? Well, I technically broke both rules in minor ways, but I’m very proud of my eating. Here are the pictures that I took, in accordance with Rule #2.

First Course – Oyster Soup:

My brother-in-law Justin did the lion’s share of the Thanksgiving cooking, as Thanksgiving is his favorite holiday. It’s a tradition in his family to start Thanksgiving with oyster soup, and now it’s my tradition, too, since I’ve been eating Justin’s Thanksgiving meals for 7 or 8 years now. The soup is not healthy, in any way, shape, or form – it’s basically butter, cream, oysters, and seasoning. It’s really good (with those ingredients, how could it not be?), and I asked for a mini-portion, and only ate about two-thirds of it. Bread was passed around for dunking purposes, but I didn’t take any. Oh, and the nametag leaf was a joint project between me, my sister Laura, and our 3-year-old niece (and goddaughter) Allison. Cute, right?

Main Course:

Most of your Thanksgiving standards: turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing (Justin added pork sausage and dried cranberries to it, and it was amazing), green bean casserole, and sweet potatoes (my sisters made it, and they cut about half the sugar from the recipe). My contribution to the meal was the asparagus, which I sauteed in a little salt, pepper, lemon, and PAM. I limited portions of everything to between around 1/2 – 3/4 cup, ate slowly, and enjoyed everything.

Then I broke Rule #1, and went back for more asparagus, but I’m okay with that, because it was the healthiest option on the table. Round #2 of asparagus:

Third Course – Dessert:

My mom, my sisters and I teamed up and made three pies: 1 apple, and 2 pumpkin. My contribution to the apple pie was carving a little turkey into the upper crust as a steam escape route, and I made the filling for the pumpkin pies. Despite the sweat equity, when we had dessert a few hours later, I decided to skip the pie and eat fruit instead: a banana and an apple. I did have one bite of my sister’s piece of pumpkin pie (and it was delicious), but I didn’t photograph it.

It was a guilt-free day, and thanks to my rules, it wasn’t a stressful one, either! And there was no food coma afterward, no loosening of the belt or struggling to get off the couch because of overwhelming fullness. A successful day!

How was your Thanksgiving? Did you keep your eating under control? Did you exercise?

I woke up on Friday jonesin’ for a workout, so I went for a run. I normally don’t like doing the same workout two days in a row (I had run the day prior in the Turkey Trot 5K), but since I was away from home and without my usual resources, running fit the bill. I ended up doing a big loop around my sister’s neighborhood. My route:

That’s 3.8 miles that I ran in 37.5 minutes, which works out to just a hair over 6 MPH. My quads were really sore towards the end, and it was chilly outside, but it was a good run, and I enjoyed the new scenery. Time to update my Running Chart!

Lastly, after over a week, I’ve think I’m finally at the tail end of whatever it was that caused my sore throat. It’s still itchy and a little painful when I swallow, but I feel 80-90% better and am looking forward to it not being an issue any more. There were a few days, early on, where I was too sick to work out, but my workouts over the past few days have been a huge help, because for those hours, I didn’t think about my throat at all. I only thought about pushing myself in other ways, and that shift in focus proved to be beneficial and a relief.

Keep it up, David!


Spring. Plus, a Kale and Asparagus Salad

May 23, 2011

It’s hard to get excited about seasons in Los Angeles, because there aren’t any.  But there’s a jacaranda tree right outside my living room window, and it’s in full bloom right now, and it’s gotten me thinking.

My grandmother passed a few months ago, and I delivered the eulogy at her funeral.  In it, I mention how powerful it can be when you first realize that spring has arrived – and when you live in Michigan, as my grandmother did (and I did for the first 23 years of my life), that’s a crystal clear moment.  When I was writing the eulogy, it occurred to me that, as an Angeleno, I might not have that epiphany this year, nor could I remember ever really having it in the nine years I’ve been in L.A.

I’ve had family on my mind all weekend.  On Saturday, I spent a lovely afternoon with my aunt and uncle from that side of the family, who were spending the week in San Diego and drove up to see me.  Then, yesterday, I had a nice, long chat with my sister on the phone, and as I was hanging up, the jacaranda caught my eye.  I put my phone on my coffee table, and just stared, for a good long while.  And that’s when it hit me, for the first time in years: spring has arrived, and it’s right outside my window.

I miss my grandmother.  I miss being 5 years old, when she would play “This Little Piggy” with my toes.  I miss wandering into her kitchen, and lifting up the lids of the pots on her stove to see what she had cooking – and she always had something cooking.  I miss her looping her arm through mine, so I could help her down the two steps from her front porch to the path.

This is the part where I somehow transition to the original goal of this post: to share a recipe I made this weekend.  I can’t figure out a good way to segway between these two disparate topics, so screw it.  Who wants to read about my kale and asparagus salad?

I’ve been enjoying kale a lot lately, and my kale chip posts (this one and this one) have been pretty popular, so I hope everyone likes this recipe, too!  I made it up as I went along, using what I already had in my fridge.

It starts with (surprise!) kale.  I found this pre-washed bag of kale (with some carrots and cabbage thrown in) at Whole Foods:

It’s a pretty small bag, compared to the other bagged salads in that section of the store, but it turns out the kale is packed in there.  It was a pleasant surprise when it filled up my big salad bowl as much as it did!

Next I minced up an entire shallot and added it in:

Next comes the asparagus.  My friend Jen told me last weekend how she had found a recipe online that called for shaved asparagus, where you use your vegetable peeler to slice raw asparagus into thin ribbons.  I love dealing with raw asparagus (see my raw asparagus salad here), so I just had to try it!  After chopping off the tough woody ends, I introduced the asparagus stalks to my peeler:

My new vegetable peeler slid through the stalks like butter, and soon, I had a pretty little pile of asparagus ribbons to add to the bowl:

That’s ribbons from about 8-10 stalks – about half of the bunch that I had in my fridge.

Next, I added some sprouted red lentils – about 1/2 cup or so.  They add color and some protein:

I also threw in some vegetarian bacon bits.  My bottle only had a few tablespoons left, so I just dumped it all in, although most of it was more like bacon dust than bacon bits:

Lastly, the dressing.  I thought something citrusy and light would go well with this salad, and I probably would have whipped up my own dressing had I had any fresh citrus lying around, but I didn’t.  So I turned to the fridge, where I had this bottle of dressing that I bought a little while ago but had never opened or tried:

This came from Whole Foods too, and each 2 tablespoon serving has 10 calories and is fat-free!  I poured on a generous amount – maybe 4 servings or so, since kale is hearty, and, in my experience, doesn’t get too soggy from dressing.  The dressing was good – tangy and refreshing, and the good thing about kale is that it’s better if you let it marinate for a while.  I planned on letting the salad sit for 30 minutes before I dug in, but I only lasted about 20 minutes.  See how long you’d last when you end up with a finished product like this one!

It’s so good it deserves a close-up:

I ate half of it for my dinner, and the other half is my lunch today!

Keep it up, David!


Asparagus Salad

April 4, 2011

Yesterday, I wrote about my Aunt Annie’s cactus salad, which is delicious and only has 3 ingredients, so it’s simple-pimple to make.  I love recipes with only a few ingredients – it makes shopping a breeze, especially if you’re like me and don’t have a widely-stocked pantry with all sorts of basics at your fingertips.  I used to really like 5 Ingredient Fix, a Food Network show where every dish has 5 ingredients or less, but I stopped watching because the host, Claire Robinson, started wearing on my last nerve.  That’s my pattern with most Food Network cooking programs – I start watching because I’m interested in the food (and the host’s ‘culinary point-of-view’, to use a phrase uttered 10,000 times on every episode of The Next Food Network Star), and keep watching until I get so annoyed by the host that I never want to watch again.  I’m sure, a lot of the time, that it’s not even the host’s fault – a lot of them are funny, engaging, and interesting – it’s just that Food Network produces every single one of their shows to be remarkably similar to everything else on their schedule, and it all starts to feel tired.  Then, every once in a while, they’ll debut a new show like What Would Brian Boitano Make, that’s fresh and clever and (gasp!) different, but new episodes of that show haven’t aired in a year, and while they haven’t officially announced that it’s canceled (I don’t think), it sure doesn’t look good.

But I digress.  I could write post after post about my thoughts on the Food Network (don’t get me started on how they deal with vegetarian recipes), but this post is supposed to be about an asparagus salad.  And now I’m all riled up.

Getting back on track now.

OK.  I just got up, walked away from my computer for a minute, but now I’m back and I think I’ll just start over:

Yesterday, I wrote about my Aunt Annie’s cactus salad, which is delicious and only has 3 ingredients, so it’s simple-pimple to make.  I love recipes with only a few ingredients – it makes shopping a breeze, especially if you’re like me and don’t have a widely-stocked pantry with all sorts of basics at your fingertips.  It reminded me of another simple-pimple salad in my arsenal, which I made last night, so I thought I’d share the recipe and some pictures.  It’s my asparagus salad.

Here’s the cool thing about this asparagus salad – the asparagus is raw.  That’s right, I said it – raw.  I didn’t know you could eat asparagus raw until I saw this recipe, and now, it’s one of my favorite things to do with asparagus!  This recipe is adapted from a recipe I saw in a magazine years ago.  I don’t recall which magazine, because I didn’t even tear out the page – it was so simple, I just memorized the recipe and it’s been stuck in my head ever since.

Start with asparagus.  You can only really do this with super-skinny baby asparagus – no bigger, in diameter, than a pencil.  I see asparagus all the time that’s thicker than my pinky, and I don’t recommend using it for this.  As you can see, this bunch of asparagus was much narrower than my pinky:

I chopped off the woodier ends of the asparagus (there are a couple different methods for knowing where to cut – go here or here to learn more):

I tossed the stems, and cut the remaining stalks into pea-sized pieces:

Here’s all of them in a bowl:

Time for ingredient #2.  Onion.  I normally like adding red or purple onion, for the color, but I didn’t have any red or purple onions, so I added what I did have: a shallot.  I would have added 1/3 to 1/2 of a red or purple onion, depending on its size, but since shallots are much smaller, I chopped up the whole thing…

…and added it to the bowl:

Ingredient #3: Parmesan cheese.  I like using shaved Parmesan for this.  The Parmesan I purchased was “Cello Shaved Parmesan” – does anyone know what that means?  Is Cello is brand or Parmesan variety or something?  Or does that mean a cello was used during the shaving process?  It would sure make a symphony even more enjoyable (and productive) if, afterwards, there were piles of shaved cheese underneath the cellists!

I crumbled bigger pieces like these into much smaller pieces, and added about 1/3 of a cup.

The final ingredient: dressing.  You could easily add oil and vinegar, as the magazine suggested, but I had a bottle of unopened fat-free Balsamic Vinaigrette that I wanted to try, so I used that instead:

I tend to very lightly dress my salads, so I only used maybe 3 or 4 tablespoons for the whole bowl.

Ready for the finished product?

It’s really good.  Seriously good.  I ate this bowl, and another bowl, for dinner last night, and the other half I’m eating for lunch today.  Which means I get to look forward to two days of stinky asparagus pee.

Keep it up, David!