Local Folks Foods

Excellent Kosher Food

May 12, 2010

Mother's Day Dinner: Asparagus Anyone??????

                            Asparagus Anyone??????

OK. I already did a posting on asparagus a while back but I figured I would revisit the subject. It’s only in my later years that I actually appreciate this wonderful veggie. Part of that is because I finally learned how to cook it properly. You know the problem. Regardless of who cooked it, the all-often-but-unintended result is they get overcooked. They’re either cooked for too long or sit in liquid for a too long afterwards. I have finally figured out (ok, I did a quite a while back but work with me) how to avoid this mistake and how to cook asparagus properly. Here’s what I didn’t share on the previous post. This features matsutake mushrooms, which were samples I received from Marx Foods.

1. Apart from chopping off the lower part of of the stem (which is too hard to cook or eat), I read somewhere that you should shave the lower 2/3 of each stalk. Now there is some debate if this should be done or not. I did buy some white asparagus a while back (from Chile during the winter) and it did mention shaving the lower 2/3 of each asparagus. I did so and it has turned out very well.  So I've kept on doing this.

2. Now while I don't want to sound arrogant, I can't really put this any other way. For goodness sakes, make sure you do two things. First is to make sure that you find a pan big enough to accommodate the length of the asparagus. If they dont fit properly, they obviously won't cook properly. I've seen folks trying to cook these in a medium sauce pan (no kidding). Next is to make sure the water is boiling (almost like you're cooking pasta). All I added to this boiling water is some salt and extra virgin olive oil. These are my preferences alone. I cooked them for about 10 minute and removed them from the pot once fully cooked. I put them on a plate and covered with foil. That way you won't have this fine (and somewhat expensive) veggie go soggy and stay warm if you don't serve them immediately. Even when I do serve immediately, I drain the water from the pot and cover.


3. In a pot, I reconstituted these mushrooms for about 20 minutes (next time I might do it a bit longer). Then I did a nice sautee of the mushrooms. I used some chicken stock (enough to cover the bottom of the pot) and a little more olive oil. I sauteed them until they were soft (about 5 minutes or so over medium heat).


4. Then I returned the asparagus to the pot and tossed them with the mushrooms. One thing I will say. Since the asparagus was not overcooked (e.g., too soft), I could have made put this in a pasta salad and served them cold. That's a thought for another day. Below is the result of how we served this. The plate with the lobster (cooked by my Dad) was my Mom's plate and one with the steak was mine. We did have a salad as well but as you can see, the plate was too small to add (in both cases). The meal was a hit. Mom liked the compliment the mushrooms added to the asparagus.

(I placed some cayenne pepper on my mashed potatoes. Steak was medium rare of course!!!! The beauty of the Weber grill).

I hope you enjoyed this!!!

5 Guys Burgers & Fries: One FANTASTIC Burger

OK. It's time for another adventure. As I was watching listening to the radio this weekend, I heard the hosts on some critical rant about Phil Mickelson's diet. This guy ripped him for eating Krispy Kreme during the Masters (which he actually WON) and going to the place I am about to mention now (during Players Championship where he placed tied for 17th).

I never heard of 5 Guys Burgers & Fries. My think was come on- get serious. 5 Guys Burgers and Fries is the actual name? I assumed that it was only a Jacksonville area or Florida chain. How wrong I was. They started in Washington, D.C. My curiosity caught me so I decided to do an engine search for them. Not only did I find out what they were a growing national chain but one was RIGHT UNDER MY NOSE and didn't even know it. In fact, I noticed it was rated highly in several cities by food reviewers, rated in Zagets (yep, that one) every year since 2001 and rated top burger in D.C. since 1999 (Washington Magazine's Readers Choice). So I look at the main Internet site's menu and how simple do they make this? It's so simple it's not even funny. Here it is:

- Four burgers- hamburger, cheeseburger, bacon hamburger, bacon cheeseburger (there are also "little" versions of these as well),

- Four sandwiches- Kosher hot dog, cheese or bacon dog, cheese bacon dog, veggie or grilled cheese.

- Regular or Cajun fries- regular or large (WARNING- fried in PEANUT OIL).

- Coke products and bottled water.

So upon my arrival, I did notice a wonderful smell or meat, grilled to perfection. Now most places give you an option of topping a, b, and c. The burgers (double by default) are a bit more expensive than most (though not radically more than a triple-cheese at some chains) but you do get what you pay for. Now back to the toppings. You want topping? You get them......plenty of them and all free- mayo, relish, onions lettuce, pickles, tomatoes, grilled onions, grilled mushrooms, ketchup, mustard, jalapeno peppers, green peppers, A-1 Sauce, bar-b-q sauce, and hot sauce. You can order "standard" (those in bold black print), "your way" (a mix of both black and red toppings) or "all the way" (everything you see- all 15 toppings). If you take a peek at the top photo, you'll notice the detail of how my order was taken. My wait was about 5 minutes for my order. I went on a Saturday late afternoon and there were 2 people on the grill. The wait was worth it. I must say this was one of the finest burgers I ever had. The result is below.

This cheeseburger was SOLID!! As good or better than I would get at some full service places. The lettuce was crisp and fresh (and didn't put too much lettuce on the burger), meat was juicy and the toppings were perfect. All too often places put too much ketchup and not enough mustard or vice versa. This was not the case here. The grilled onions were placed just under the lettuce and the mushrooms were on the bottom of the burger. If you see this place in your travels, TRUST ME!!! It's worth a visit. To me, this is a 10 out of 10 rating.