Asparagus with Parmesan Custard and Prosciutto

Recipe 5 of 103
She had me at custard….sweet or savory I love custard. Creamy, silky, decadent custard, throw in some salty prosciutto, crispy asparagus on grilled bread. done 🙂

You can make the custard a day or two ahead, or make a ton and always have it in your fridge for a quick bite of lusciousness. Here is what you will need for the custard. This recipe will serve 4 for lunch or 8 for small bitescustard13/4 cup heavy cream

1/4 cup whole milk

2 spring garlic gloves or 1 small garlic clove, finely chopped

1 ounce freshly grated parmesan buy good parmesan reggiano and grate it yourself

1/2 teaspoon maldon salt

1 large egg

1 large egg yolk

Preheat oven to 325Ëš

Combine the milk and cream, pour half into a small sauce pot, add garlic, parmesan and salt. Bring to a simmer and cook for 1 minute, take off heat and blend until smooth. I used an immersion blender for this step, right in the pan, you could just whisk it or get your blender out, do what works for you. In a mixing bowl, whisk egg yolk, whole egg and the remaining cold cream/milk mixture.hotcold Carefully whisk the hot into the cold, very slowly drizzle the hot mixture from the sauce pot into cold mixture in the mixing bowl, whisking vigorously so you don’t scramble your eggs. When both are combined pour into two 1 cup custard gratins or one 2 cup gratin, what ever you have will work. Ready a bain-marie aka water bath for baking, get some water boiling. Set a kitchen towel in a large baking casserole, place filled gratins in casserole and fill with boiling water about half way up the gratins like this.bainmarieThe kitchen towel prevents the gratins from vibrating and causing bubbles in the custard. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until custard has set, edges should be firm and the middle a bit wobbly. bakecustardLet the custards cool in the bain-marie, they will continue to set up. At this point you can keep these covered in fridge for a day or two.

On to the next step, here is what you will need.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

16 asparagus spears, the thickness of a pencil, woody bottoms discarded

maldon salt

10 to 12 small tender basil leaves

1/2 a lemon (optional)

6-8 this slices of prosciutto

grilled rustic bread or baguette

parmesan custard

Heat the olive oil in a saute pan, get it smoking hot, add asparagus and quickly toss to sear on all sides, sprinkle with maldon salt. Cook for about 5 minutes on medium heat, make sure not to over cook the asparagus, you want it to have a little crunch left in it.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny – check out my cool tattoo designed by my amazingly talented husband

Add basil leaves, making sure they get some time in the oil to crisp up.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

When the basil has crisped up a bit, rest on top of the asparagus so it doesn’t wilt away to nothing.  Slice up the bread of your choice and either grill or toast it.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Now its time to assemble this lovely little snack. I like the custard to be more room temp then super cold. Spread a spoonful of custard on your grilled bread, top with asparagus, prosciutto and basil.

photo by Jenny

photo by Jenny

Enjoy! All these elements together make for an amazing bite. The custard is so rich and decadent. The cheesy garlicky flavor is addictive, I will admit to snagging spoonfuls from the fridge several times a day while researching this post. Its all April’s fault! Thanks to Jenny for the food porn pics and thanks to April for introducing me to a new love, Parmesan Custard. 

Guest Blogger #2 Home brewing with Cameron

For your blog reading enjoyment may I introduce my friend Cameron…. He makes Beer and he was so kind to share his mad skills with us. Take it away Cameron……

Mmmm beer. Thought I’d input a little beer knowledge into this food blog, thanks Sarah for the forum. Thought I’d do a couple different posts. This first one will be about homebrewing.

These are hops – seriously I know what the leaves look like.

Ah, the smell of malt and hops, the foamy head on your lips, the quenching refreshment of that first sip. How about a little introduction to the basics of beer. Their are four main ingredients in beer: water, malt, hops, and yeast. Water, I won’t bore you with the chemistry of water and how brewers treat it to make it perfect for their beers, just know 90% of beer is water so you want to start with some tasty water! Malt, the background of most beers, this is usually malted barley, barley that has been germinated to just the correct state and then dried. Malt is what gives you the sugars that the yeast eat to make alcohol, little more about that later. The malt can also contain other grains, wheat beer anyone? Yeast, this is the worker, the yeast take the oxygen and the sugars and make alcohol and carbon dioxide, without it we would just have bitter sugary water. Oh and last but not least, my favorite, hops, they balance the sweetness of the beer and give off the wonderful piney, florally, citrusy aromas!

OK, OK, enough of the boring stuff, let’s brew! Here is a (quick) lowdown of the brewing process. First we take hot water and crushed grains and mix them to extract the sugars. Then we wash and drain the grains and get a sweet wort. We take the sweet wert and boil, during the boil we add hops, this extracts the bitterness and taste from the hops and infuses these luscious flavors into the beer. After this we take the boiling water and cool it down and add yeast. That’s it, finito! Well almost I guess, we still need to let the yeast work, but after about 7-30 days, (while maybe adding another set of hops for aroma, for us hop heads) we have beer. We need to put it in something to drink from, either a keg or bottles and after its carbonated it’s Happy Hour!

Big thanks to Cameron for sharing his knowledge and passion for BEER! make some….. it’s so good.

Baby Back Ribs w/Asian Citrus BBQ Sauce

Big grilling weekend coming up soon, so I figured this would be a good time to share my super delicious Asian Citrus BBQ sauce. I’m not a big fan of the overly smokey BBQ sauces out there, so I set out to make my own with the flavors I love. Baby Back Ribs are one of my ultimate favs. They are super easy to make and way too easy to eat. We take them camping pretty much every time we go, the kids LOVE them.

Ok let’s get started, preheat oven to 250 degrees, rinse the rack of ribs and pat dry. Salt and pepper really well on the meaty side. I use fresh ground white pepper, I think it enhances the sweet flavor of the pork. Wrap the rack in foil, place on a baking sheet and bake for 3 hours.

Now for the sauce. Here is what you will need.

Asian Citrus BBQ Sauce

  • 1-2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1/2 cup minced red onion
  • 1 Tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup Hoisin Sauce
  •  zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup grapefruit juice
  • 1 Tablespoon Mirin
  • 1 Tablespoon  Siracha
  • 2 Tablespoons lemon juice

In a sauce pot – heat up the canola oil add the minced red onion saute until soft – add the minced garlic and  ginger – cook for a minute – and all remaining ingredients, except lemon juice– cook over low heat for 6-8 minutes – the sauce will be sticky and thick – remove from heat – add the lemon juice at the end and more Siracha if you want more spice. This will make about a cup of sauce, plenty for 1 rack and extra for dipping while you eat.

The sauce should be thick and chunky and taste amazing!

When the ribs are done, the meat will be falling off the bone. Slather them with the sauce and place them on a HOT grill, until the ribs are caramelized, should take 5 minutes each side.

Serve them up hot with your favorite sides. I did a tri color potato salad and green beans sauteed in brown butter and sliced almonds.The sauce will work with chicken or seafood or you could bathe in it, it’s that good!


So my friends Jennay & Gustavo sent over a box of birds for me to cook up on my new grill. 

These are small Hens, there were 5 in this box, so I got right to it. I made a marinade and did some research on how to debone them. The deboning seemed a bit fussy for a grilled item so I opted to remove the back bone only and splay them out butterfly style.

I rubbed them down with the marinade, put them into bags and set them in the fridge to absorb all the goodness for a least 4 hours.

Marinade goes as follows.
4 Tablespoons Oil ( your choice olive or canola )
a bunch of garlic pressed ( I used 6 cloves for 5 birds totaling 6.25 pounds or 2.89 kg )
3 tablespoons of Chile Powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cumin
add whatever other spices spark your fancy for poultry. I was going for the yummy Mexi grill flavor. 
When you’re ready to grill, splay the birds on your hot grill. I did about 8-10 minutes per side until the juices in the thigh areas ran clear.

The butterfly option helps to make better contact with the heat and they cook evenly and quickly. All 5 birds took about 30 minutes total in shifts.

Towards the end of cooking I threw on some radishes just for fun, they were delish grilled, try it. Jennay made Mac n Cheese to go with our meal and it was splendid, she will be blogging this recipe very soon, yes that’s right Jennay I just called you out Sistah.