Pork and Asparagus
April 28 5:49 PM

Dijon Ham & Asparagus Roll Ups

Here is a very nice brunch, lunch, buffet, or dinner idea. Great for a graduation party or a shower.


  • 1 package crescent rolls
  • 10 slices very thin deli sweet ham
  • 12-16 asparagus heads (top 3?-3.5? of asparagus stalk)
  • Dijon mustard
  • Optional: thinly sliced swiss cheese, or grated cheese


  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (or check package of crescent rolls for oven directions)
  2. In a microwaveable bowl, place asparagus (already broken to 3?) with just enough water to cover. Then place a towel over the top of the bowl. Microwave on 50% power for 2 minutes or until tender.
  3. On a large baking sheet, spread out the crescent dough evenly. Coat dough with an even layer of Dijon mustard.
  4. Wrap 1 – 2 asparagus in 1-2 slices of ham. Then, place at the wide end of the crescent dough and roll up in the dough. Repeat for each crescent roll.
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until slightly golden brown.

Asparagus Ham Roll-ups with Cheese Sauce

Serves 2.


  • 20 stalks of asparagus
  • 8 thin slices ham
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp flour
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup shredded swiss or cheddar cheese


  1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Trim off the bottom inch of each asparagus stalk. Add asparagus to boiling water and cook for 7 minutes.
  2. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay two slices of ham on top of each other. Place five stalks of asparagus in the middle of the ham. Wrap the ham around the asparagus. Repeat with additional ham and asparagus. Place each roll seam side down on a cookie sheet that has been lightly sprayed with oil. Bake for 5 minutes.
  3. Melt butter in a small saucepan. Combine flour, salt, and milk in a small cup and stir with a fork until smooth. Add milk mixture to butter. Stir continuously over low heat until it thickens, about 4 minutes. Add cheese and stir until smooth.
  4. Spoon sauce over asparagus and top with freshly ground black pepper pepper.

Wine Pairings

  • Pinot Noir, Beaujolais, Riesling, or Apothic White

Pork Chops seasoned with Dhule Dust with Sautéed Cherub Tomatoes

Last summer we posted a recipe for grilled lamb shoulder chops with a similar mix of seasoning spices, and it was very tasty. This week we are this mix with pork chops.


  • Eight thick Wohlner’s Pork Chops , about 1¼” to 1½” thick
  • Salt
  • Dhule dust seasoning—recipe below
  • Vegetable oil, for brushing
  • 2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter


  1. Light a grill or preheat a grill pan. In a small bowl, combine all of the spices but not the salt. Season the lamb chops with salt, rubbing it into the meat. Rub each chop all over with a scant teaspoon of the Dhule dust seasoning. Let the chops stand for 10 minutes.
  2. Brush the clean grill grate with vegetable oil and grill pork chops over a medium-hot fire or in the grill pan over moderate heat, until crusty and medium, internal temperature of 145F, about 6 minutes per side. Transfer the chops to a platter and let rest for about 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, in a large bowl, sprinkle some of the remaining spice mixture over the cherub tomatoes. In a large skillet, melt the butter. Add the cherry tomatoes, sprinkle with salt and cook over moderately high heat, tossing, until just hot, about 2 minutes. Serve at once with the chops. (If you have a vegetable grate for the grill you could instead toss the cherub tomatoes in some canola oil (skip the butter), season with salt and a little Dhule Dust Mix, then grill until the tomatoes start to blister.) Serve Warm.

Dhule Dust Spice Mix


  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

This recipe would be interesting on a rotisserie cooked pork loin. Or on lamb shoulder chops.

Pasta with Vodka Sauce

This is no gimmick recipe, it’s a classic method in Italy. Vodka is colorless and tasteless, so how does this work and why? It works because the alcohol in the vodka acts as a solvent to release flavor compounds from the tomatoes, flavor compounds which are not water-based and which are otherwise bound up. The recipe calls for reducing the sauce by an amount equal to the amount of vodka, hence you evaporate off all the vodka—alcohol and water both.

Why this recipe this week? McCormick’s Vodka is really inexpensive this week (dare I say cheap!), so I suggest you buy some to cook with. Besides vodka sauce , vodka helps make the perfect pie crust (more on that later.)


  • 28 ounces marinara sauce or simple Italian pasta sauce, store bought or homemade
  • 3/4 cup vodka
  • 7 ounces Robert’s Half and Half (or better ½ cup cream) a at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked according to package directions


  1. Make or buy 28 ounces of smooth marinara or simple Italian sauce (if chunky then puree until smooth) . Put sauce and vodka in a heavy skillet, heat and simmer over low heat on stove until the sauce reduces back down 28 ounces--so that all the vodka has done its job and evaporated.
  2. Add Half and Half to the sauce and simmer to reduce the half and half a bit. (If you use the smaller amount of cream you merely need to heat the sauce and cream and not reduce it.) Stir in Parmesan cheese until blended in.

Serve vodka sauce over pasta of your choice.

Penne with Vodka Sauce and Grilled or Sautéed Chicken Breast Tenders

Here’s an easy and delicious meal for any night. Make Penne with Vodka Sauce per recipe above. Grill, pan sauté, or bake 5 to 6 ounces of chicken breast tenders per person, then cut each tender into bite sizes pieces. Place cut chicken on top of cooked pasta and spoon vodka sauce over pasta and chicken. Garnish with a bit more grated cheese and some fresh basil leaves.

Wine Pairings

  • Castello di Monastero Chiante Classico, or a zinfandel.

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