Roasted Asparagus and Beet Salad

This just might be THE BEST asparagus I have ever made.

I found the recipe in the Weekend Edition of The Wall Street Journal. I served it with Turmeric Rice and Oven-Baked Panko-Crusted Turkey Cutlets with Olives, Capers and Artichokes. I did make a few changes to the asparagus recipe as noted below in the directions.


4 medium beets, tops
¼ cup grapeseed oil
Salt and pepper
1 pound asparagus, tough ends trimmed
6 cipollini onions, peeled (The supermarket did not have these so I used a Vidalia Onion.)
½ cup sunflower seeds (We didn’t have these so I used Pumpkin Seeds.)
4 scallions, thinly sliced
Small bunch cilantro, finely chopped
½ jalapeño pepper, deveined, seeded and minced (I used the whole jalapeno!)
Lemon juice
Parmesan cheese, for garnish

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. On an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet, rub beets with oil and season with salt. Place in oven and roast until a knife can be easily inserted through centers of beets, about 1 hour.
2. Meanwhile, roast other vegetables: On an aluminum-foil-lined baking sheet, toss asparagus with 1 tablespoon oil and season well with salt and pepper. Place baking sheet in oven and roast until asparagus begins to sizzle and is just al dente, about 8 minutes. Repeat with onions: Cook, turning once, until just soft, about 15 minutes. On a baking sheet, toss sunflower seeds with a tiny bit of oil and season with salt. Place in oven and toast until slightly colored, 5-7 minutes. (NOTE: I began with the onion and after 7 minutes I added the asparagus and then after another 7 minutes I added the pumpkin seeds.)
3. Meanwhile, make relish: In a small bowl, combine scallions, cilantro, jalapeño, a drizzle of oil and lemon juice and salt to taste. Set aside.
4. In a bowl, toss roasted vegetables with lemon juice and oil to taste, and season with salt and pepper. Cut onions in half crosswise and beets into wedges. To serve, divide asparagus among four plates. Add onions and beets and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Top with shaved Parmesan and a spoonful of relish.

—Adapted from Peter Hoffman, Back Forty and Back Forty West

Crispy Baked Panko-Crusted Scallops


Served these with Turmeric Rice and Spinach and Mushrooms!!!


  1. 3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
  2. 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  3. 1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  4. 1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
  5. Pinch of cayenne pepper
  6. 1 garlic clove, minced
  7. 1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf parsley
  8. 1 tablespoon snipped chives
  9. 3/4 teaspoon chopped thyme leaves
  10. Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  11. 12 jumbo sea scallops (1 1/2 pounds)
  12. Lemon wedges, for serving 


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking dish.
  2. In a small bowl, mix the panko with the melted butter, olive oil, dry mustard, cayenne, garlic, parsley, chives and thyme and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Season the scallops with salt and pepper. Set them in the prepared baking dish and sprinkle the scallops evenly with the panko. Bake for about 10 minutes, or until barely cooked through.
  4. Turn the broiler on and broil the scallops 3 inches from the heat until the panko topping is crisp and golden brown, about 1 minute. Serve with lemon wedges. 

~From Food & Wine

Warm Orzo Salad with Squash


“This warm pasta salad is mixed with roasted yellow squash before it’s tossed in a homemade mustard vinaigrette and topped with almonds. It can also be made up to one day ahead and served cold.” From Good Housekeeping.


  • 2 medium yellow squash, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoon(s) olive oil
  • 2 teaspoon(s) olive oil
  • 3 tablespoon(s) red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon(s) lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoon(s) grainy Dijon mustard
  • 1 clove(s) garlic, crushed with press
  • 1 pound(s) orzo pasta (I used whole wheat orzo.)
  • 6 radishes, sliced into thin half-moons
  • 1/4 cup(s) packed parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon(s) finely chopped fresh dill
  • 2/3 cup(s) roasted, salted almonds, chopped

  1. Heat a large pot of salted water to boiling on high. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. On a large jelly-roll pan, toss the squash, shallots, 2 teaspoons of the oil, and 1/4 teaspoon of the salt. Roast 15 minutes or until tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the vinegar, lemon juice, mustard, garlic, the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil, and the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt; set aside.
  4. Add the orzo to the boiling water and cook as the label directs. Drain well then add to the vinaigrette along with the roasted vegetables, radishes, parsley, and dill. Serve immediately, or refrigerate up to 1 day. To serve, stir in the almonds.

The Vision of a Poet

Many birds this morning
Singing songs of praise and joy.
Doves, Finches, Woodpeckers
Crows and Robins.

Siting in backyard
My dog next to me
Eating a marrow bone.

Later him sleeping 
On the love seat in the office.
The cat of my desk.
Thank You God. Thank You.

Later I go shopping.
Another yarn heard.
On the radio an untrue story.

A Hungarian Folk
Opera. Háry János
By  Zoltán Kodály

Kodály wrote in his preface to the score:

Háry is a peasant, a veteran soldier.
Day after day he sits
At the tavern spinning

Yarns about his heroic exploits.
Stories released by his imagination.
An inextricable mixture of realism

And naivety, of comic humour and pathos.” 
Kodály also comments
 “Though superficially he appears to be merely a braggart,

Essentially he is a natural visionary and poet.
That his stories are not true is irrelevant,

For they are the fruit of a lively imagination,

Seeking to create for himself and for others,
a beautiful dream world.”

The opera, and the suite, begin with an orchestral ‘musical sneeze’, best explained in Kodály’s own words: “According to Hungarian superstition, if a statement is followed by a sneeze of one of the hearers, it is regarded as confirmation of its truth. The Suite begins with a sneeze of this kind! One of Háry’s group of faithful listeners … sneezes at the wildest assertions of the old tale-spinner.”

Dinner ordered out.
Wine shared. And we
Talk after silence all day.

Thank You God. Thank You.
We watch Jeopardy and play
With our dog and we talk.

We sing a song of praise
Like the morning birds. We 
Have many gifts to count.

Rain fall.
Susan reads.
I write. 

Or cat sleeps.
Our dog sleeps.
And rain nourishes the garden.