Tuesday, August 3, 2010

In honor of Karis.....

My daughter, Karis, recently moved to Virginia. I miss her TERRIBLY and so today have decided to share one of HER recipes (she's an awesome cook, by the way). This recipe was one she made for a couple of years for our annual "Academy Awards Night" bash. It's great for an appetizer, a snack or even a very elegant side dish.
Karis, I miss you, here's your

Phyllo Wrapped Asparagus
8 or 9 asparagus spears, depending on size
1/2 (16 oz) package frozen phyllo dough sheets, thawed
1/4 c. butter, melted
1/4 finely grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 375. Snap (or cut, if you need them all of uniform size, which for this particular recipe is a good idea) off the tough ends of the asparagus (a good way to find where this is to take a spear in your hands and bend it. It will almost always break at the end of the tough part, which is known as "the first break". You can then line the rest up accordingly and cut to uniform size)
Unwrap the phyllo and cut the stack in half lengthwise. Reserve 1 stack for later use. (tomorrow I'll give you a GREAT recipe for dessert using the rest of this phyllo!!) Cover the phyllo with a damp towel to keep it from drying out (you won't be able to work with it if it dries out...and trust me it dries out FAST). Take one sheet of phyllo and brush lightly with some melted butter. Sprinkle with some Parmesan sheese. Place 2 or 3 asparagus spears on the short end of the sheet. Roll up jelly roll style. Place each piece, seam side down on a baking sheet. Brush with more melted butter and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Repeat until all asparagus spears are used up. Place baking sheet in oven and bake for 15 to 18 miknutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Notes: this recipe is easily enlarged. Just add more asparagus spears, melt a bit more butter and use more grated Parmesan. Also, I would keep to using asparagus spears of a medium to large size. The smaller spears (thinner around than say...a pencil, don't hold up well to baking..they get really tough.)

Today's food quote: "Sacred cows make the best hamburger" Mark Twain

Recommended cooking tool: some REALLY good non-stick baking sheets. Although my aunt once told me, "I never trust a women with nice shiny cookie sheets" I think that pans with good quality non stick surfaces are a godsend in the kitchen. They will (the nonstick surfaces) break down over time and need to be replaced. Try never to use the non-stick sprays on your really good non-stick pans, believe it or not they form a build up and can burn, damage the non stick coating and even aid in the scratching of your cookware. If you have things you want to use non-stick sprays on, get a couple lesser expensive sheets for that. But use good nonstick sheets for your baking. If you can't afford to invest in them right now (and I can SURE understand that!! believe me!) use parchment paper when baking, or "sil-pat" (silicone) sheets. If using silpat sheets, never put them in the dishwasher, wash and dry them by hand. They will break down over time as well, and need replacing. Probably the cheapest, easiest and best route if you're going to forego the new nonstick pans is to use parchment paper.

Good luck in Virginia, Karis. We love you, we miss you (AND your cooking, but mostly you, ;) lol) and I can't wait to see you and cook with you again. You've made your momma proud.

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