Wednesday, April 25, 2012

recipe: Jade broccoli with nuts & pancetta

I love broccoli – if I was forced to eat just one vegetable for the rest of time, broccoli would be it!  Good thing my three-year-old son, John also likes it – which is surprising, because he doesn’t like to eat much of anything these days.

At home, the way that I most often prepare broccoli is by roasting it at 425 F (after tossing it in extra virgin olive oil and sprinkling with salt and pepper) if you want the step-by-step instructions, go to:

As much as I enjoy roasted broccoli, I also love the following two recipes.

The first is called “jade broccoli”, a recipe that I adapted from an old edition of Food and Wine magazine.  It’s unusual because it uses broccoli stalks, which are often discarded, rather than the much more popular florets.  It’s visually appealing because you use a vegetable peeler to peel the stalks, which results in long, thin strands.

The second is called “omega 3 broccoli slaw”, a recipe by Dr. Joey Shulman.  I make it a lot – maybe once every two weeks – and trust me, after you make it once or twice, you don’t even need to refer to the recipe.  This warm salad of sorts is delicious, and incredibly easy, because there is no chopping, as it calls for store-bought broccoli slaw (found in bags in the produce section of any supermarket) and a package of sliced mushrooms.

Jade Broccoli with nuts and pancetta  (serves:  4)


·        2 (two) tablespoons unsalted butter
·        ¼ (one-quarter) cup chopped nuts (use any kind you like or have on hand – pecans, walnuts, pine nuts, almonds, etc)
·        3 (three) cups broccoli stalks, peeled (I find that a “y-shaped” peeler works best)
·        1/3 (one-third) cup pancetta, proscuitto or regular bacon, cooked and chopped, optional
·        salt and pepper to taste


1.      In a medium sized skillet set over medium heat, melt butter.  Once butter is foamy, add the nuts and sautĂ© until lightly golden and fragrant, about 3 minutes.  Add in the cooked pancetta and broccoli strands; stir to combine. Cook for approx. 2-3 minutes, until broccoli is crisp-tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Joey’s Heart-Healthy Omega 3 Broccoli Slaw  (serves:  2-3)


·        2 (two) tablespoons sesame oil
·        12 (twelve) ounce bag broccoli slaw
·        1 (one) cup sliced mushrooms
·        ¼ (one-quarter) cup capers
·        3 (three) tablespoons soy sauce
·        4 (four) ounces of herbed goat’s cheese
·        ¼ (one-quarter) cup crushed walnuts, toasted if desired


1.      Pour sesame oil into large non stick skillet on medium heat. Sautee broccoli slaw and mushrooms until they become slightly limp, cover if possible.  This should take about 4-5 minutes.
2.      Add in capers and soy sauce and stir.
3.      Remove from heat and top with herbed goat’s cheese and crushed walnuts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

recipe: asparagus cigars with prosciutto & asiago

I recently treated my Mom to high tea at Langdon Hall.  It was a quite an indulgence as we had begun the afternoon with massages.  I’m due to deliver my second child any day now – meaning that I am painfully aware that being away from home for four hours at a stretch isn’t going to be a possibility.  It was wonderful to be able to relax and enjoy uninterrupted conversation and of course, some delicious food.

After we selected our teas (a difficult decision, as there were so many to choose from), we were served two varieties of warm scones accompanied with the most amazing honey butter, devon cream and preserves.

Afterwards, the server appeared with a tiered serving stand for each of us, both containing a slew of sweets and savouries.  I believe there were about ten pieces in total – and they were all delicious. Mom’s favs?  The “Lake Huron trout & orchard apple canapĂ©” and the “brandy snap honey crisp cream”.  I particularly enjoyed the “Forfar Dairy cheddar & Niagara pear phyllo purse” and the “sea buckthorn meringue tartlette” .

I rarely cook with phyllo pastry at home.  However, I’m not entirely sure why, as its delicious and easy to use (once you’ve had the experience of working with it a few times).  I love these crispy asparagus straws, which appeared on our catering menu for years. These would be delicious served with afternoon tea, or at your next cocktail party.

Asparagus Cigars with Prosciutto & Asiago

(recipe adapted from Martha Stewart)


·        24 (twenty-four) asparagus spears, woody ends trimmed
·        6 (six) sheets phyllo pastry
·        ¼ (one-quarter) cup butter, melted
·        12 (twelve) slices prosciutto, cut in half crosswise
·        4 (four) ounces asiago cheese (or parmesan cheese)


1.      Blanch the asparagus in a pot of boiling water for 1 to 2 minutes until just al dente and bright green.  Drain in a colander and run cold water over the asparagus.
2.      Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
3.      Place 1 sheet of phyllo on a dry surface.  Keep the remaining sheets covered with a clean, slightly damp towel.  Brush lightly with melted butter and cut into 4 rectangular pieces, each 5 x 7 inches.
4.      Place 1 piece of prosciutto on the phyllo, lining it up along 1 short edge of the rectangle.  Arrange an asparagus spear on top of the prosciutto along the same short edge of the rectangle, letting the tip lay exposed beyond the top edge of the dough by ¾ inch or so.  Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of asiago.  Roll up and secure the edge of the dough with additional butter, if necessary.  Repeat with the remaining ingredients, transferring the straws onto the prepared baking sheet.  The straws may be made 1 to 2 hours ahead up to this point, covered with plastic wrap, and refrigerated.
5.      To bake preheat the oven to 450°F.  Sprinkle the top of the straws with the remaining cheese.  Cover the asparagus tips with foil to protect them from the heat.  Bake until golden brown, 5 to 8 minutes.  Serve warm, either whole or sliced into bite-size pieces.

catering, gourmet food shop, gift baskets