Oven Roasted Asparagus…..

Did you know that there are male and female asparagus?  Of course, as luck would have it, the chubby spears are the female and the very thin spears are male.  As it turns out, the chubby ones have always been my favorite.  Girls have to stick together, right?    Anyway, I believe asparagus to be the most elegant of all vegetables.    Preparation is very simple and it is best grilled or oven roasted.  Serve hot or at room temperature.  Here I’ve roasted the elegant spears in the oven and topped them with a little fresh grated Romano cheese.  Perfect and simple enough for any occasion.  Enjoy!

Here we go….

Start by thoroughly rinsing as it can be a bit sandy.

Sometimes the thicker asparagus can be tough.  Bend each piece of asparagus at the ends and it will break at the point that it’s tender. 

With a vegetable peeler, peel the asparagus about three inches from the bottom.

Once all of the asparagus is peeled, we’re ready for the oven.  Preheat to 400′.

Place the asparagus onto a baking sheet and drizzle with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.

Season with a couple of pinches of kosher salt and a pinch of black pepper.

Toss the asparagus to evenly coat.  Roast in the oven for 6 minutes.

Remove from the oven and top with fresh grated Romano cheese.  Place back into the oven for an additional 3 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Oven Roasted Asparagus

1-2 bunches fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 pinches kosher salt
1 pinch black pepper
1-2 tablespoons fresh grated Romano or Parmesan cheese

1)  Preheat the oven to 400′.

2)  Rinse asparagus well and snap off the tough ends.  Peel the ends 3″ from the bottom.  Place on a cookie sheet with sides.  Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.  Season with salt and pepper.  Roast in the oven for 6 minutes.  Remove from the oven and top with fresh grated cheese.   Bake an additional 3 minutes.  Serve immediately.

Gruyere Swiss Scalloped Potatoes, Best Accompaniment to Easter Ham!

Easter is truly one of my favorite holidays.   Spring is time for earth and faith renewal.    For me, the celebratory feast is centered around a lovely Easter Ham.  Make it stress free by serving menu items that can be made a day ahead.    That being said, these by far are the best scalloped potatoes I’ve ever had and are best served the next day.  I acquired this spectacular potato recipe from my friend Mickey.  I call them “Mickey potatoes.”    I normally serve this decadent recipe a couple of times a year as the recipe calls for gruyere swiss cheese and cream.  These will make your Easter holiday “over the top!”

Thank you ever so much for visiting.

Have a blessed Easter Weekend!


I hope you have wonderful Easter Holiday!

Traditional Croatian Easter Bread (Sirnica)…..

I absolutely love learning about food traditions of other ethnicitys.    I think it’s my favorite part about being a cook.    Every week I try to make something I’ve never made before, sort of a dinner passport to different places all around the world.  This holy week, I’ll be making Croatian Easter Bread.   Check out another interesting version of this bread made with boiled, colored eggs, so interesting and beautiful!

Heather with her darling daughters Sadie,Clara, and Fiona.

I first had the pleasure of tasting this delicious bread when my friend Heather surprised me with a loaf right before Easter last year.  I was honored that she would share a loaf of her treasured family recipe.    It had a gentle yet distinctive citrus taste and was very pleasantly sweet without being too sweet.  Tender, moist, and delicious.   Of course, after the first bite I wanted to make this bread for all Easter Dinners going forward.  Heather kindly shared her recipe.

Try this Croatian Easter Bread.  It may become the next family tradition in your family:-)

Traditional Croatian Easter Bread


2 cups milk
1 package active dry yeast or 2 ¼ teaspoon

½ cup softened butter (1 stick)
½ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon salt
Zest of half of a lemon and half of an orange
6 cups all purpose flour
Crushed sugar cubes or sugar for dusting

1) Slightly heat the milk in a microwave. Add the yeast and set aside. (about 10-15 minutes or until yeast is dissolved and a little bubbly)

2) Meanwhile, in a large bowl or stand mixer, beat the butter, and sugar, then add the eggs and salt, and zest, beat until well blended. Add the yeast-milk mixture and half of the flour, beat well. Add remaining flour gradually, until a smooth, soft dough forms. (you may not use all the flour or may require more)

3) Place the dough in a large greased bowl, burning to coat both sides, and let rise, covered, until doubled. Punch down and turn out onto lightly floured surface and knead for 2 minutes.

4) Preheat oven to 375′.  Divide dough into 4 to 6 equal pieces, shape into a nice round ball. Cover and allow to rest 5 minutes.

5) Place dough on cookie parchment lined cookie sheet. Egg wash the dough with 1 large beaten egg and 1 tablespoon of water. Sprinkle with crushed sugar cubes. Bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool completely.

 *one way to check if a yeast bread for doneness is to thump it with your fingers, if it sounds hollow, it’s done. Be sure that you have a nice brown color was well.

Simple Apricot Glazed Easter Ham…..

I love to plan for any food celebration!  Easter is especially exciting because of all of the spring produce readily available.  Your holiday dinner doesn’t have to be complicated!  I truly believe that the best foods are the ones with the simplest preparation.  There are many side dishes that can be prepared ahead and simply warmed before serving.

Personally, I especially love a precooked  Easter ham.   Since it’s fully cooked all you need to do is warm in the oven and add a tasty glaze.  I make a simple glaze with apricot preserves, a little dijon mustard, and  a little cider vinegar.  Be sure to warm the ham with a little water or pineapple juice in the pan and cover it tightly with foil.  Your ham will not dry out.  

Warm a precooked ham at 350′ for 15 minutes per pound.  (example:  10 lb. ham x 15 = 150 minutes.  Divide 150 by 60 minutes=2 1/2 hours.  You want an internal temperature of 160′.  Even though it’s fully cooked, rewarming foods, especially meats, need to reach a certain temperature to make it completely safe.  Use an instant read thermometer or one you can put into the ham and leave while in the oven.  With the bone in, figure about 1/2 lb./serving.  Save the bone for soup!

If you’re using a ham that isn’t pre cut, you’ll want to score it with a sharp knife about half way through cooking.  So for a 10 lb. ham score after about an hour and 15 minutes of cooking.  Simply run your knife lightly over the ham making a criss cross pattern.  You will begin to glaze at this point as well.

My Favorite Easter Ham with Apricot Glaze

1 ham-can be spiral cut or uncut
1 cup apricot preserves
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 tablespoon dijon mustard
pinch of salt and pepper
2 cups Pineapple juice

1)  Preheat oven to 350′.  Place the ham in a shallow baking dish fat side up (you can use a pan with a rack).  Add  pineapple juice or 2 cups of water to the bottom of the pan.  Cover tightly with foil and bake for about half of the cooking time.  Remember, 15 minutes per pound.  Insert your thermometer if using one that is oven safe.  Try not to touch the bone.

2)  Half way through cooking, remove from the oven and carefully remove the foil, watch out for steam, it’s terribly hot!  Score the ham if you need to.  Generously coat the ham with the glaze.  Lightly re-cover with the foil.  Add a little water to the pan if the pineapple juice has evaporated.  Back into the oven.  Baste with the glaze a couple more times before it’s done.  Remove from the oven and keep the foil on the top to keep the heat in.  Allow the ham to rest for about 30 minutes.  This will allow you to use the oven to warm any other side dishes you’ll be serving.   Baste the ham one last time before serving.  Enjoy!

More easy Easter recipes to come!

Have a wonderful weekend!