Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things I Am Loving This Week

Time again for a Tuesday "Things I Am Loving This Week" --all about the things I am enjoying and want to share.

First up--I am declaring that breadcrumbs are the new black! ;-) I am beginning to see them more and more across the web, in cookbooks and magazines. I loved them in Mark Bittman's Pasta with Bacon and Breadcrumbs that I made last week and got to thinking about how much I also love them on vegetables too (as in this Asparagus with Panko, Pine Nuts & Capers that I posted from last year). Since I had some fresh, local asparagus and some bacon left over from the pasta, I decided to combine some of my favorite things from both recipes and this Asparagus with Bacon, Breadcrumbs, Almonds & Capers was born. The topping is delicious on the fresh asparagus and would work well on green beans, broccoli, zucchini or other veggies too.

Asparagus with Bacon, Breadcrumbs, Almonds & Capers
by Deb, Kahakai Kitchen
(Serves 4)

1 bunch asparagus, rinsed and trimmed
1/4 cup sliced almonds
2-3 slices bacon, chopped
1 Tbsp olive oil + extra for drizzling
pinch red chili pepper flakes
1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
1 1/2 Tbsp capers
salt and black pepper

Lightly steam asparagus in your preferred method or roast in the oven. Meanwhile toast sliced almonds in a pan over medium heat, tossing frequently until lightly browned. Remove almonds from pan and set aside. Cook chopped bacon in same pan until crispy, remove and drain on paper towels, reserving grease from bacon in pan. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to bacon grease and heat, then stir in crushed red chili pepper flakes, panko and capers, salt and pepper, and cook until panko is lightly brown and crunchy. Mix the bacon and sliced almond into the breadcrumbs and warm through. Place asparagus in serving dish, drizzle lightly with olive oil and salt lightly. Spread panko mixture over asparagus and serve.

Yum, Yum & Yum! The light drizzle of olive oil helps the mixture "stick" somewhat to the asparagus, but it's best to dish this up with both a fork and spoon to catch the extra topping. Or you can serve the breadcrumb mixture in a separate bowl and let everyone top their own asparagus. I just like how it looks already topped in my favorite asparagus serving bowl. ;-) It's an easy and tasty side to serve with meat, fish or chicken.

I am sending this yummy side dish over to Reeni at Cinnamon Spice & Everything Nice for her monthly Side Dish Showdown. This month's theme is Anything Goes with a little dash of Spring Vegetables thrown in. Reeni will be rounding up all the different side dishes on her blog after the end of the month.

I have said it before and I'll say it again...I LOVE Mangoes! These were especially sweet and juicy ones from Maui that I bought at Whole Foods. Too good to do anything other than just enjoy them, chilled and on their own.

I also love my Oxo mango splitter--although I don't have room for a lot of single-use tools and gadgets, in my little kitchen, I make an exception with this one which cuts down around the pit quickly and cleaning, and also allows me to indulge in leaning over the sink and eating the little bit of fruit left around the pit with the juice running down my chin. (It's the small pleasures in life I tell you!)

Although mangoes are a high sugar fruit they are full of nutrients like vitamin C, B6, and A as well as potassium, fiber and antioxidants. And of course they are...delicious!

Finally, I love to find and try new chocolate brands. I had been hearing about Bubble Chocolate and finally found some here to try. Similar to the Nestle Aero Bar and other "bubbly" air filled chocolates you can find in the UK, Bubble Chocolate is basically just aerated chocolate. The bubbles are created by infusing the chocolate with air, then cooling it and coating it so the outside is smooth while the bubbles remain inside. It comes in both a milk chocolate version with 38% cocoa, and a dark chocolate version with 60% cocoa.

While not destined to become my favorite chocolate ever, it is still different and fun and it tastes good--especially when you are patient and let it melt on your tongue a bit before chewing it. The milk chocolate is of course creamier in taste and texture and the dark chocolate has a crisper texture and a fruitier bite and seems to retain the bubble feeling longer.

Fun stuff. (Plus the website makes a cool bubble sound that reminds me of Pop-Up Videos on VH-1--I used to love that show!) ;-)

So these are the "Things I Am Loving This Week"--breadcrumbs, mangoes and chocolate.

How about you? What things are you loving lately?

BTW: I left a lot of posts for the end of the month so this week will be full of them. ;-) If you didn't get a chance to check out yesterday's post reviewing Rick Tramonto's "Steak with Friends" stop by the post below and check out the many drool-inducing dishes in this new cookbook. ;-)


  1. LOL - I loved pop-up video on VH1 too! I wish they would still air it from time to time.
    The breadcrumb topping on those asparagus is so awesome. Crunch not only from the bacon, but the almonds too, plus that saltiness from the capers - YUM! I could definitely see myself smacking my lips while I ate that one;D
    There is a popsicle recipe in one of my books for a mango-ginger popsicle. I need to get my hands on some mangoes soon.

  2. I totally agree! Breadcrumbs are very trendy right now! I can't wait to try them on asparagus!

  3. "Breadcrumbs are the new black" Love it!

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  5. he pasta with breadcrumbs and bacon has been really, really good.
    I need to fiddle around with getting the browning of the breadcrumbs just right, but it looks very promising.
    I'll also second the notion that you can't improve perfectly ripe fruit.
    Best to eat it just as is.

    *just removed a superfluous "s" to the last post*

  6. I am loving bread crumbs lately too! The asparagus looks so delicious! Thanks for sending it to the Showdown. Whipped chocolate - yum! I haven't had it in so long. I remember a popular candy bar from when I was a kid - the name escapes me - but I always loved it.

  7. Sounds wonderful! Would love for you to share one your yummy recipes in my Whatcha Cooking Wednesday Recipe link-up!!

  8. I love Aero chocolate! Have you had the mint one before? So good... When I Was in london I stocked up on a huge stack of them before coming back to the States, only to find that they're really easy to get over here1 I'll have to try that bubble chocolate.

  9. You must have somehow gotten into my head last night because I ended up roasting broccoli and mushrooms and tossing them with breadcrumbs! So good and even my parents liked it. I really like the capers addition you made!

    Oh mangoes. How I love thee. Very much.

  10. I was wondering how to jazz up the broccoli I am doing for dinner - breadcrumbs are the way forward!

    I'm a huge fan of the Aero bar, so to see one with nicer quality chocolate is very exciting to me.

    And I am jealous as hell of your mangoes!

  11. D - This is a great list of things I am loving this week! Love the combination in the asparagus recipe.

    Those mangoes look super ripe! I imagine that mangos grow locally in Hawaii. They are a favorite of mine too.

  12. Geez...I never knew breadcrumbs were out! Your asparagus looks wonderful and will be on our table soon. Have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  13. The asparagus looks incredibly delicious! My daughter loves asparagus, so this is going to be added to my menu soon. Really looks like a nice side dish.

    I love my mango splitter too. I eat so many mangos and that thing is very easy to use and wash.

  14. I could coat a shoe in my favorite breadcrumbs, fry it, and eat it. They really do make things tasty.

    I've been thinking about getting a mango gadget because--even though my knife is sharp--I often cut myself from sheer clumsiness. This would save me a fortune in Band Aids.

    Don't forget to try Giada's pasta ponza. Heavenly!

  15. I am loving everything you are this week! I miss the access I had to mangoes in Brazil and that cutter looks like it would do a fabulous job. Those pits are huge! The candy bar brings back a Brazil memory too. They had the exact thing there called Suflair, I think it was made by Nestle. I loved it for a change to my chocolate.

  16. I think I am going to love this asparagus recipe! And I definitely need to get me one of those Mango gadgets..recently bought some really nice Mangos. Deb...I lived in Hawaii a long time and it took me awhile to get over the smell of "rotting mangos" as they fell from the trees and were left to rot. I enjoy your website!

  17. I Love asparagus and the topping sounds delicious!!!

  18. Awesome side dish.
    Great combination of flavours x


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