Monday, January 24, 2011

Sesame Asparagus

The Lady of the House wrote a fabulous post about supporting local business.  Well, it's also fun to support the local scene by using a cookbook from your area.

Two of my gal pals gave me "An Occasion to Gather" by the Junior League of Milwaukee, and I am a huge fan. In addition to a plethora of drool-inducing recipes, it's filled with commentary on the Milwaukee social scene.  This "local flavor" gives you a sneak peak into some of Milwaukee's traditions.

One example is Bunco.  This dice game is uber popular in 'sconsin.  It's an excuse to get together for laughter and libations, it's perfect to play during the arctic winters.  "An Occasion to Gather" offers a quip about the game, explains how to host a Bunco party, and provides a menu for the occasion to gather.  (Hmmm...starting to understand the title...)

Although it wasn't for a Bunco party, Kelly and Christoph came over recently to cook dinner.  We whipped up this fab side dish from "An Occasion to Gather."  If you think this looks good, come back later this week to hear about our main course!

Are you interested in some delish recipes served up with a taste of Milwaukee?  Contact the Junior League of Milwaukee to order your copy of "An Occasion to Gather."  ( or 414-289-9242)  Oh, and it's also an opportunity to support the good work that the Junior League accomplishes.  Bonus!  
Yes, I forgot to add the sesame seeds before taking the photo. Sorry.

Sesame Asparagus
From "An Occasion to Gather"
Serves: 4

1 pound asparagus spears
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper, seeded and finely chopped
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon sesame oil
2 teaspoons sesame seeds, toasted

Snap the woody ends off the asparagus.  Bring about 6 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan and fill a separate medium-sized bowl with ice water.  Cook asparagus in the boiling water for 1 minute.  Immediately plunge the asparagus into the ice water to stop cooking and set the green color.  After a couple minutes in the ice bath, drain asparagus and set aside.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a skillet over medium-high.  Saute the bell pepper for 2-3 minutes.  Add asparagus, and saute another 2 minutes, until asparagus is heated through and bell pepper is crisp-tender.  Add soy sauce and sesame oil.  Stir until combined.  Place asparagus on a serving platter and sprinkle with sesame seeds.


  1. i try to buy as much as i can local. it's a great way to support my area.
    we also love asparagus, we even had some for dinner with some sauteed shrimps.

    hope you'll have a wonderful day

  2. Beautiful the idea of serving it with peppers. I hadn't heard of Bunco till I moved to Indiana, but it's definitely a reason to gather around here :)

  3. If you want to get to the food real people are eating, then the local cookbook is a great source. Asparagus season is months away here but I'll keep a supply of sesame seeds for when it finally comes around.

  4. I love my local cookbook, local farm stand, local butcher - I have a great relationship with all of them! :)

    The asparagus looks delicious... the color is so vibrant!

  5. Local cookbooks are my favorite - I argued with someone about doing a Julie/Julia thing on a church cookbook. They said, "that's not the POINT. You're supposed to learn from a master". Oh sorry...I thought the ladies at my church had kinda mastered my favorite broccoli casserole!
    Asparagus looks super awesome!

  6. I love to buy as much local stuff as I can! Love your asparagus too!

  7. Three cheers for local cookbooks! Amy, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall during that argument! I LOVE church cookbooks. See my Cheesy Potatoes post for proof:! :-)