Posted by: Hil | June 10, 2010

Easy Asparagus and Ham Rolls

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First, a brief update.  I am officially done with law school (hurray!) and have moved on to the task of studying for the bar exam.  I have missed blogging, but taking a break was definitely the right thing to do.  Pretty much everything in my life that wasn’t absolutely essential went on the back burner for the last month or so of school.  Studying for the bar is keeping me extremely busy, but I’m enjoying a second wind prompted by a new schedule and the beautiful spring weather. 

Bar study involves a lot of intense rote memorization, so I’ve had more creative energy to burn in the kitchen than I did last semester when I had a bunch of papers to write.  I’ve had a lot of fun pulling out my old cookbooks and browsing online to find new recipes to play with. This dish is a slight variant on one of Mireille Guiliano’s recipes from French Women Don’t Get Fat.  It’s really good–you get the winter comfort-food flavors of hot tomato sauce and ham and cheese in a lighter, more spring-appropriate package. 

You will need  asparagus, tomato sauce, sliced ham and some type of flavorful cheese.  You could probably substitute other veggies for the asparagus depending on what is in season where you live.

First, parcook the asparagus.  You can blanch it if you feel fancy, but I just pop it in the microwave until they are bright green and crisp tender.   Next, take four or five asparagus spears and wrap them in some sliced ham.  One slice may be enough for each bundle if your ham is cut thick enough, but if you use very thin sliced deli ham, you may need a couple of slices to get the bundles to hold together.   Place the completed bundles side by side in a baking dish.  Cover with tomato sauce and top with grated cheese.  (The recipe suggests using equal parts parmesan and Swiss.  I had no Swiss cheese in the house, so I substituted parrano for the Swiss and the dish came out great.)  Bake at 375 for about 20 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread.  Enjoy!

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In other news, I have had excellent fortune on the snack front recently.  I adore Sahale snacks, which are healthy and amazingly flavorful, but they are normally out of my price range except as an occasional treat.  But my Costco has just started carrying Sahale glazed cashews with vanilla and pomegranate (my favorite glazed nut flavor) for a much more affordable price.  I bought big bag and apportioned out little snack sized portions to take with me to bar review class.  I did some number crunching, and at Costco prices, it’s more cost effective (and tasty) to pack a small bag of Sahale cashews for a snack than it would be to bring a protein bar or a yogurt.  I am a very happy camper!

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