Prosciutto Wrapped Roasted Asparagus Salad

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Want a fast and delicious summer salad? Try this! It was yummy.
To serve 2:

5 oz prosciutto, thinly sliced (about 10 long slices), cut in half
1 oz shaved parmagiano reggiano
Olive oil
Black pepper
8 oz arugula
16 Cherry tomatoes or mini heirloom tomatoes
1 Persian cucumber, peeled, sliced
1/2 avocado, diced
2 oz feta cheese
12 pitted kalamata olives

Dressing:
Juice of 1 lemon
2 oz red wine vinegar
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
Dash garlic powder
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning (basil, rosemary, oregano, marjoram, sage, thyme) or equivalent
3-4 oz olive oil
Salt & pepper
Put all in small jar, shake vigorously to blend.

Wash asparagus, snap off tough ends. Toss with dash of olive oil, and a dash of freshly ground black pepper. Lay out 1/2 slices of prosciutto, sprinkle with shaved parmagiano, place a spear, and roll up. Place on foil lined cookie sheet that has been sprayed with olive oil. Continue until you have about 20 spears. Bake at 425 for 6-8 minutes. Watch for when prosciutto starts to crisp, but don’t burn.

Mix arugula, cucumber, cherry tomatoes and dressing. Put on salad plates, add avocado, feta, olives, then cooked asparagus.

It is hard to match a wine with asparagus, feta, and vinaigrettes in general, but we enjoyed a Cakebread Sauvingnon Blanc that seemed to work fine.

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Friday Inspiration – Overcoming Adversity

After a week of adversity, and seeing some light at the end of the tunnel, this seemed like an appropriate inspiration for today:

 

Times of great calamity and confusion have ever been productive of the greatest minds. The purest ore is produced from the hottest furnace, and the brightest thunderbolt is elicited from the darkest storm.
– Charles Caleb Colton


Friday Inspiration – Equal Rights

If you had asked me in 1965….

“In 50 years from now, will society still be struggling to provide equal rights to women, minorities, LGBT people, and would there still be prejudices that substantially influenced our lives?”

I would have said,

“Are you CRAZY?  Of course not!”

OK, its 3 years until 2015.  Let’s get with the program.  Ask me again in 3 years!


Why I Love Frozen Custard

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Frozen custard is a totally unique product, very different from ice cream, soft serve, or gelato, and FAR more delicious.

True custard may have originated in Coney Island, but became wildly successful in the Midwest, especially Milwaukee, which is known as the custard capital of the world.

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Just like Chicagoans can be either Cubs or ‘Sox fans, Milwaukeeans can either be Kopp’s, Leon’s or Gilles fans, but not all three.

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The US FDA regulates what can be called frozen custard. It has to have 10% butterfat (as does ice cream), but must also have 1.4% egg yolk. The real difference though is in how custard is made.

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Custard is churned differently (more gently), scraped from the chiller barrel differently (sooner), made fresh daily, put into a freezer container (not served right from the machine) and stored at higher temperatures (18-22 F) than ice cream. It has much less air or overrun. All of these factors, the delicate churn, faster scrape, fresher product, higher temperature, less air, and those egg yolks, make Frozen Custard the creamiest most satisfying frozen confection. It is always hand-scooped, and can be enjoyed in a cup, cone, shake, malt, mix-in, etc. One you try it, ice cream will seem like just fluffy, sugary ice crystals and soft serve will taste like pudding.

On my recent visit to St. Paul, I discovered there was a Culver’s nearby, and raced there after my last meeting, to “beat the heat” (right!). Culver’s isn’t Kopp’s, but still wonderful. I had a single scoop vanilla, and sat for a moment, saying when will I be near real custard again? So I also had a short chocolate malt! Heaven! We’ll have to see if I can still pull out a successful weight loss August!

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So I get home, relay this story to my work buds, and one of them (Brian, from Chicago), tells me there is real Midwestern frozen custard (albeit Ohio, not Wisconsin), called Strickland’s in IRVINE!! I haven’t tried it yet, but I will soon, and if it is any good, I’m doomed!


Loving Lucca’s Small Plates

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We try to get to Lucca Cafe in Irvine as often as we can, and it is not often enough! I have been there twice in the last 10 days, and loved it both times. First time was for a quick dinner before a concert at Verizon Amphitheater. We enjoyed lots of small plates, including the pork belly with polenta, the rolled braseola, crispy branzino, lamb chops and a cheese platter. They get cheese from all over, and the knowledgeable servers can tell you which ones are NOT available in stores. I recommend trying some of these; they are very unique!

Cathy and Elliot are always gracious hosts, and they do such a good job of sourcing excellent and inexpensive wines. We had this half bottle of Cotes de Rhone for only $19.50.

I was back again last Friday with my work posse, and we had great lunches including chopped steak salad, grilled chicken salad, pasta, sandwiches and delicious desserts! S'mores in a jar, lemon bar, snickers bread pudding.

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Friday Inspiration – Those Who Love You

Those who love you are not fooled by mistakes you have made or dark images you hold about yourself.  They remember your beauty when you feel ugly; your wholeness when you are broken; your innocence when you feel guilty; and your purpose when you are confused.  – Alan Cohen