Not-Even-Close-to-Wordless Not-Wednesday: Asparagus and Chives

summary: lilacs; asparagus; chives; our cat is strange; comments disabled… still :stomp: ; well, this WAS going to be wordless;

asparagus

Until recently, people here [in Easter Carolina] never really messed around with experiments like eggplant or fancy peppers. Herbs were something we bought dried and, aside from sage, rarely used. […] [A]nd asparagus grew out of a can. – Vivian Howard, Summer Squash, Deep Run Roots, p335

Things were not unsimilar in the mostly frozen north when I was growing up. Except that in the summer, Mum would hand us some scissors for us to venture out into the garden to snip chives to put into potato salad. Potato salad that was made with just 5 ingredients: boiled potatoes, miracle whip, chives, salt, and pepper. Not too much pepper though….

How times have changed….

asparagus

J’adore l’asparagus!

I don’t remember having asparagus at home when I was growing up – but it seems to me that it would have been served when we went to our great aunt’s house for dinner. And, after hearing Mum’s low voice aside to me of “Don’t be silly. Eat up” for the umpteenth time, I would have choked down the lone spear that would have been, to my horror, limply lying there, glistening grey-green, on the plate beside the potatoes and slice of roasted meat.

I still go out the garden with scissors to get chives. But they don’t go into potato salad. Oh my no. They’re for making Tartar Sauce, or garnishing hard boiled eggs, or asparagus with Hollandaise Sauce.

June Garden

As soon as the lilac bush by the kitchen window blooms, we look for local asparagus at the vegetable market. Right on schedule, asparagus began to appear a couple of weeks ago: 2 (largish) bunches for $5. It was spectacular. This week, the price has gone down: 2 (largish) bunches for $4.

We cannot stop eating asparagus.

Neither can our cat! At least we think he’s a cat…. :stomp:

black cat

This furry black fiend will only eat asparagus raw. We eat asparagus lightly steamed with butter, steamed with butter and lemon, steamed with Hollandaise, steamed with cheese sauce on Eggs Fauxrentine, steamed with….

asparagus

On the first night this year that we served asparagus, we had it with charcoal-grilled Picanha – I cannot believe I haven’t raved several times about this amazing cut of meat! And farofa. I neeeeeeed to go on and on and on about farofa. Remind me!

And T made Hollandaise Sauce to go on the asparagus. (Yay! J’adore Hollandaise Sauce almost as much as I do asparagus. :-) )

asparagus and HollandaiseHollandaise Sauce

The chives have gone crazy this year and there are zillions of blossoms. Of course, we like to add them to the garnish, by cutting each round globe to create several little lilac coloured florettes.

Hollandaise Sauce was so good that we wanted to make Eggs Benedict. But reason prevailed (sort of) and instead of Hollandaise Sauce, while the eggs were boiling (I can’t stand poached eggs), T made cheese sauce for Eggs Fauxrentine.

Faux Bennie

We used to prefer thin thin thin asparagus. But, this year, none of the asparagus at the market is thin thin thin. So we compromised. We have converted. As long as the asparagus is just barely cooked – steamed for the briefest moment – thicker asparagus is fantastic. It’s sweet and crisp and tender.

Here’s a reminder about how to trim asparagus:

trimming asparagus We used to bend asparagus and allow it to break at its natural point, theorizing that this is where the tender part starts. But because of the way the asparagus is pretrimmed at the vegetable store, there’s a LOT of waste that way. We learned the following method from watching Laura Calder’s TV show “French Cooking at Home”: Use a very sharp knife and [starting near the bottom of the stalk,] hit from above to find where the asparagus is no longer tough.
 
-me, trimming asparagus, recipes from OUR kitchen

trimming asparagus

Now that spring really has sprung, our farmers’ market is outdoors again. We stopped at one stand a week or so ago to see if the fellow had nettles hiding under the table. Yes! But he said he only had this last little bit left in a paper bag. They looked very sad and scrawny but we really really really wanted nettles at least once this year. The fellow told us to soak them in water when we got home to build up the turgor pressure. So, we bought them, paying what we thought was an exorbitant price of $4.
 
Ha! After soaking what seemed to be a paltry amount of nettles, we discovered we had tons. $4 wasn’t such a bad price after all.
 
Sorry, no photo. But trust me, nettles tossed in pasta is delicious! And left-over nettles mixed with spinach to make palak paneer (easily enough for three different dinners) is equally delicious.
 
Isn’t spring wonderful?

 

faux bennie

edit 14 June 2018: Good news! After a lot of finagling, comments are going to be restored for the next post. (I think….)
 
All the old Disqus comments have been restored as well, but because of mangling of email and IP addresses done by Disqus, there are administrative parts of them missing…. :stomp: