Category Archives: French bread

Asparagus w/ Chorizo & Croutons


I love asparagus for its mild, spring like flavor but in this dish, from the Smitten Kitchen, this wonderful vegetable takes on a whole new persona. The spices of Spanish chorizo sausage combines with crusty croutons, crunchy almonds and tender white beans and the asparagus in a surprisingly flavorful and definitely interesting dish. Trust me on this one, the combination of ingredients might seem a bit odd but the results are out of this world. Plus the dish is fast to make. So fast and easy that it just might be one of my favorite Fast Friday dishes yet. So try it for yourself before the asparagus is gone for the season. I promise you won’t be disappointed.


1 pound thick asparagus
1/4 cup olive oil
6 ounces Spanish chorizo cut into 3/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups French bread croutons cut into 3/4 inch peices
1/4 cup whole almonds
1 cup cooked beans
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Snap off the tough ends of each asparagus stalk and cut into 3 or 4 pieces.
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chorizo and saute for 2-3 minutes.
  • Add the asparagus, croutons, almonds and salt and pepper. Stir well.
  • Cover and sauté over high heat for 5 to 6 minutes (thinner asparagus might be done sooner), tossing or stirring the mixture a few times, so it browns and cooks on all sides.
  • Add the beans and season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
  • Toss and cook for an additional 2 minutes or until the beans are heated through.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 4

Belgian Pick-Me-Up

photo 1-305

Sometimes the simplest things in life are the best. Case in point this combination of crusty French bread, rich dark chocolate and a touch of salted butter. Sounds basic, right? Both French bread and chocolate are readily available here in Belgium and have become staples in my Belgian kitchen. They are good on their own but when combined they are simply out of this world.

In fact, this warm and gooey snack has become my favorite afternoon pick-me-up with a cup of tea on dreary damp afternoons. You could make your own French bread but with it being readily available and incredibly inexpensive in every neighborhood bakery and market, why go through the bother? And if it is still warm from the bakery it is even better! I prefer dark chocolate to milk chocolate any day of the week and for me, the darker the better. For this treat I like to use Galler Noir 70% Intense chocolate but find one you like and use it. And most importantly, don’t skip the salted butter. It is the perfect compliment to the chocolate.

So there you have it, this is my perfect Belgian Pick-Me-Up. Try it and you too will become a fan.



1 6 inch piece of fresh, crusty French bread

1 teaspoon salted butter, at room temperature

3 squares dark chocolate

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Using a serrated knife, slice the bread lengthwise taking care not to cut entirely through the bread.
  • Spread the butter along the inside of the bread.
  • Place the chocolate on top of the chocolate and close the bread to form a sandwich.
  • Tightly wrap the bread in aluminum foil and place in the oven.
  • Bake for 6-8 minutes or until the chocolate has melted.
  • Allow to cool for 1 minute then enjoy.

Serves 1


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