Spring is perfect weather for soup and salad! Still a little bit chilly at night, but warm enough in the daytime to remind you that Summer is coming and we all want to feel fit and flirty at the beach.. This asparagus soup will warm you up and fill you with the flavors of Spring…. And nothing goes better with a warm bowl of soup than a crisp salad. Last week I taught a Cooking Class for Men and we made a traditional steakhouse menu complete with a classic Caesar Salad. They loved it! Caesar Salad is one of those things that people rarely make at home from scratch even though it’s so easy!! I hope that my recipe inspires you to try this at home!!


Asparagus-Leek Puree Soup


Serves 2

1 cup finely chopped white and pale green part of leek, washed well

1 garlic clove, minced

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

1 1/4 cups chicken broth

2 tablespoons dill, plus more for garnish

1/3 cup sour cream

In a saucepan cook the leek and the garlic in the butter over moderately low heat, stirring, until the leek is softened. Then add the asparagus, the broth, 2 tablespoons dill, and 1/2 cup water, and simmer the mixture, covered, for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the asparagus is very tender. Purée two thirds of the mixture in a blender until it is very smooth, stir the purée into the mixture remaining in the pan, and whisk in the sour cream and salt and pepper to taste. Cook the soup over moderately low heat until it is heated through, but do not let it boil. Garnish with the dill and serve.

Ryan tossing the Caesar Salad in my Men’s Cooking Class


Serves 4-6

2 large heads romaine lettuce

1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese

24 homemade croutons (recipe follows)


4 anchovy fillets

2 egg yolks

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

Juice of 2 lemons

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 cup grated Parmesan

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Put the anchovies in a small bowl and smash with the back of a fork. Add in egg yolks, garlic, mustard, and lemon juice and whisk with a fork until the mixture is smooth. Slowly, pour the olive oil in and keep whisking, allowing for the dressing to emulsify. Stir in the Parmesan, a little salt and some grindings of black pepper.

Separate the heads of romaine, discarding any tough or browned outer leaves. Cut off the tough stems from the remaining leaves. Halve the leaves lengthwise, then cut them crosswise into 1 inch pieces. There should be about 20 cups of lettuce pieces.

In a large bowl, toss the lettuce with the dressing. Add the cheese and the croutons and toss again. Divide the salad and the croutons among chilled plates and serve immediately, passing a pepper mill at the table.


Makes 24

1/3 cup olive oil

Peasant style bread (day old bread is even better than fresh), cut or torn into small bits

Salt and black pepper

¼ cup finely grated parmesan cheese

Preheat a large skillet over medium heat on the stovetop.

In a large bowl, stir together the olive oil, bread cubes, salt and pepper, and toss well.

Toss bread cubes into the skillet and cook, stirring constantly, until nice and crispy, about 10 minutes. Scatter some parmesan cheese over the bread crumbs and remove from heat. Use warm, or wrap airtight and store at room temperature, for up to 3 days or frozen up to 1 month.