Sesame Asparagus


Whenever I can find fresh asparagus, I find myself buying 2 pounds just to make this simple but elegant dish. I sometimes peel the asparagus if the stalks are very large or the skin seems thick.

All you need to do is to place the asparagus on a plate or in a glass container such as the one shown here and microwave for approximately 90 seconds per pound. Then immediately plunge the asparagus in icy cold water with lots of ice cubes to stop the cooking. Then drain the stalks and pat dry on an absorbent kitchen towel.

Simply drizzle some toasted sesame oil (about 2-3 tsp per pound) and sprinkle with white and/or black sesame seeds. Store in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days, but I find it seldom lasts that long. It makes a great snack, a colorful addition to a salad or lunch, or heated for a great side dish for dinner. It’s also a great dish to bring to a picnic or pot luck…

Work Clean book review

Click here to see the book

Mise-en-place is a French culinary term that represents a unique system of working. The term means “putting in place”. Its a very simple system that applies in the kitchen and also in any setting that requires you to focus your actions and accomplish tasks.  His sage advice stems from interviews with chefs and culinary executives but can be applied in almost any setting. I especially like his section on “cleaning as you go” and “developing a repertoire of cleaning tactics…

In Work Clean Dan Charnas spells out the 10 major principles of mise-en-place for chefs and non chefs alike:

  1.  cleaning as you go
  2. arranging spaces and perfecting movements
  3.  planning is prime
  4.  making first moves
  5.  finishing actions
  6.  slowing down to speed up
  7.  call and callback
  8. open ears and eyes
  9.  inspect and correct
  10.  total utilization

If you’re having difficulty organizing you work or your kitchen, this book provides useful insight into putting things “in place” and simplifying work that may at first seem daunting.

First Bite

first-bite-coverFirst Bite: How We Learn to Eat” by Bee Wilson sheds light on how we, as humans, develop our omnivore palate. Wilson investigates the conditioning mechanisms that shape our food preferences with evidenced-based research, stemming from biology, chemistry, history, and sociology, while also providing anecdotal experience. This book explores the development of our food preferences and how simple likes and dislikes can have devastating health effects. Perhaps the most interesting take home message from this read is that the very foundation of our food penchant can be rebuilt to achieve a healthier relationship with food.

I strongly recommend this book to everyone, especially parents, as this book offers valuable introductory feeding suggestions for children and the importance of positive involvement surrounding meals. Eating is a repetitive and habitual phenomenon and discovering the roots of our unique predisposition to food can benefit our overall understanding of our food customs, as well as encourage diversity on our plates at home.


Cassandra Bursma

Mt. Auburn Hospital, Dietetic Intern ‘16

Live Nutrition Inc, Summer Intern 2016

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