Tag Archives: peas

An unusual mini-bundt: asparagus and pea flan

Asparagus and pea flanLet me apologize first! I know this is my second asparagus post in a row. The truthful, not very glamorous reason is that I’m about to leave for Italy and I needed to empty my refrigerator. 😉 The first rule I learned when I started cooking is that food waste is a big no no and I try to abide by it.

However, you know me. Whatever the reason may be, I always try to go for something nice that satisfies my aesthetic sense in addition to my palate, especially when I’m handling ingredients as expensive as asparagus. Since I had just bought a mini-bundt pan at Williams Sonoma, I thought it would be fun to use it to make asparagus-based flans. I’m very pleased with the results. What do you think? 😉

These flans are the perfect appetizers for a dinner party. They can be made ahead of time and served at room temperature or warmed-up. But above all, they are very cute and will impress your guests for sure! 😉

I like to serve them with warm cheese sauce on top. I think the savory cheesiness of the sauce complements the very delicate texture of the vegetables wonderfully.

I wish you all a great beginning of summer. I’ll try to stay in touch as much as I can but I apologize in advance if I might miss some of your posts. Spending time with my extended family is wonderful, but it is also a full time job! 😉

Asparagus and pea flanIngredients:

1 lb, asparagus
2 Cups, peas
1 leek
10 leaves, basil
2 Tbsp, extravirgin olive oil
1 1/2 Cup, stock
4 Tbsp, ricotta
4 Tbsp, grated Parmigiano cheese
5 eggs
Ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 340 degrees F.

Wash the asparagus spears and cut off the woody ends. In a large pot, heat some water until it boils, add the asparagus and keep boiling for 3-4 minutes. Strain the asparagus, rinse with cold water and cut into ¾ inch pieces.

Wash the peas under cold running water. In another pot, heat some water until it boils, add the peas and keep cooking until they are tender. Strain the peas and rinse them with cold water.

Cut off the green top of the leek and the root. Discard the outer layer. Cut the leek in half lengthwise. Rinse the two halves well under water, being careful to leave them intact. Place each half, with the flat side facing down, on a chopping board. Slice the leeks thinly and evenly with your knife so that you end up with thin strips.

Asparagus and pea flanIn a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, add the leek, the peas and the asparagus, season with salt and pepper (to taste) and toss to coat. Add the stock and stir occasionally until the water evaporates. Set aside.

Chop the basil leaves roughly.

In a blender or food processor place the vegetables, the ricotta, the Parmigiano cheese, the basil and the yolks. Blend until you obtain a smooth mixture. Taste it to check whether you need to add more salt and blend again.

In a bowl, beat the egg whites until they get fluffy. With the help of a spatula, incorporate the beaten egg whites into the vegetable mixture.

Coat the mini-bundt pan molds with butter. If you do not have any such pan, you can use your regular muffin pan.

Fill the molds with the mixture. Place the mini-bundt pan inside a large, shallow pan. Add warm water to the large pan such that the lower half of the height of the mini-bundt pan is under water.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove the mini-bundt pan from the water bath. Let the mini bundts cool.

Invert onto a serving plate and add some warm cheese sauce on top. Serve right away.

That’s all for today: talk to you soon from the old continent!

F. Xx

When Kidlandia meets Foodlandia – Part 2: the Princess and the pea (& ham)

Peas and prosciutto side dishPeas… such a kid-friendly shape veggie and still I have yet to hear a kid say “I love peas!” Who can blame them after all? Have you noticed how these little green fellas are generally served to those innocent tummies? Boiled, maybe with some butter if they get lucky… totally tasteless! I wouldn’t eat them unless I found myself starving on a desert island, so why should children?

What are you saying? Ah! Your kid is a picky eater! Well, let me tell you what I think about picky eaters and please, please don’t take it personally because it’s just my opinion and not the truth about the Holy Grail’s whereabouts. I tend to believe that picky eaters do not really exist: oftentimes it is the parents who do not try hard enough. Ouch, I know!!! Why do I think that? But because I was one of those parents (shame on me)!

During the first three years in my daughter’s life, her majesty didn’t eat anything but milk and fruit. I was feeding her kid’s food (including the contents of those bland, tasteless baby food jars), without putting much effort into it, and she simply refused to swallow it. Every meal was a fight. Every meal was a defeat! Oh gosh! I used to hate meal time!

Then, one day, it just struck me: maybe she wanted something else, maybe she was ready for real, grown-up food. Next thing I remember is me holding a pen and a notepad and calling my mother for my first cooking class ever. That’s how I started, that’s how everything started. 🙂

The recipe I’m sharing today is a classic side dish of the Italian cuisine. Every Italian family has their own recipe. This is how it goes in my house.


A quarter of a small onion
4 small (or 2 large) slices of ham
1 1/2 Tbsp, butter
1 Tsp, extravirgin olive oil
1/2 pound, peas
1 cup, beef broth


Peas and prosciutto side dishChop the onion. Cut the ham into slices and cut the slices into cubes.

In a medium non-stick pot, put 1 Tbsp of butter and pour the oil. Add the chopped onion and cook for about 1 or 2 minutes on a very low heat. Add the ham cubes and keep cooking, stirring often, until the onion cubes soften.

Add the peas, some salt (to taste) and the broth. Keep cooking, stirring often, until the broth completely evaporates and the peas are tender (if the peas are not completely cooked yet after the evaporation of the broth, add some water until the peas get tender).

If you want to make the dish extra moist, once the peas are ready, add a 1/2 Tbsp of butter, toss to coat and serve.

Extra Tip: Although this dish was born as a side dish, sometimes I serve it to her majesty with some pasta. When the peas are almost ready, put a pot of salted water on the stove to boil. When the water is boiling add some pasta (I usually use butterflies) and cook it until al dente. Drain the pasta, put it in the pot with the peas and toss to coat. If you want, you can even dust the top of the dish with some grated parmigiano cheese.

Just give it a try. Who knows? Maybe your picky eater will like this. 🙂

We have a couple of rules that we developed with our daughter during the years that – I think – are worth sharing.

First, we taste a dish at least twice before putting it in the “I don’t like it” category.

Second, since her majesty was able to articulate her thoughts, I have been asking her to explain to me why she doesn’t like a particular dish so that I can change the recipe accordingly. And it usually works!

Of course, these rules are not carved in stone… just a little bit of mom-kid experience that I would like to share out there. Quoting Sid from Ice Age: “Worth a shot”! 😉