I do ♥ Mock Bennies!

Mock Bennies with Asparagus and Chives
summary: mock bennies with asparagus rule; chives and their flowers; lilacs; still staying at home; review of asparagus trimming; comfort food makes rationing less trying; j’adore cheese sauce!

The [Ontario] government has further extended most of the emergency orders to June 9 [2020] to protect public health and safety from COVID-19
– Office of the Premier, Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak, 27 May 2020

This weekly mask-wearing grocery shopping and long line-ups to get into stores not knowing if the shelves will be empty or not has thrown me off. I had forgotten what lilac blossoms in our garden mean:

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.
– me, Not-Even-Close-to-Wordless Not-Wednesday: Asparagus and Chives, 12 June 2018

The other day, I lined up at our favourite vegetable store, expecting to buy slightly sorry-looking small amounts of broccoli and green beans from far far away for rather high prices. As I was permitted to enter the store, I saw beautiful bunches of Ontario asparagus on a large tray right by the entrance: 2 decent-sized bunches for $6.

Of course there was a tray full of beautiful Ontario asparagus!! – the lilacs are in full bloom by the kitchen window.


Obviously, I did NOT buy tired looking broccoli or limp grey-green beans!

That night we had the most brilliant dinner with asparagus, oven roasted potatoes, reduced chicken stock under grilled meat, and a 1993(!!) vintage wine from our ever dwindling stash (remind me to rave about that dinner).

Being clever, T held back enough asparagus for us to have Mock Bennies the next morning. While Hollandaise Sauce is wonderful, cheese sauce is equally wonderful. And it doesn’t use up so many eggs. Which are still at a premium these days.

Mock Bennies with Asparagus and Chives

I must add that we have really been missing our friends’ farm-fresh eggs. They are SO much better than supermarket eggs. If we had our friends’ farm eggs, we would definitely have had Hollandaise Sauce!

Next year… next year….

To make Mock Bennies, instead of Hollandaise, T makes cheese sauce (starting with a béchamel and adding old cheddar), hard boiled eggs instead of poached, and toasted Tartine bread instead of English muffins. And chives for garnish. Of course. Chives go perfectly with eggs.

As in previous years, our chives have produced zillions of blossoms. I love using them as a garnish, by cutting each round globe to create several little lilac coloured florettes.

Mock Bennies with Asparagus and Chives

Chive florets are not only pretty. They have the beautiful taste of chives with a hint of sweetness from their nectar.

When we put the plates on the table, it always looks like maybe too much cheese sauce. But no. It’s the perfect amount.

Mock Bennies with Asparagus and Chives

Rationing has been imposed…

Even though spring really has sprung, our outdoor farmers’ market is still closed. Garden centres are entirely out of vegetables (there are still a few annuals and herbs available at slightly inflated prices). Silly me. I didn’t really believe that flats of various vegetables from the garden centres would be just like toilet paper, eggs, butter, flour, yeast, and 1/4 inch elastic for constructing home-made masks.

What’s next on the list of items to disappear entirely for weeks on end??

(I did manage to locate tiny pots of zucchini, parsley, Scotch bonnet pepper, and rosemary plants on the sidewalk outside of one of the little vegetable stores nearby. But no Swiss chard! Wahhhhh. How will we manage this summer without being able to go out behind the garage to cut Swiss chard?! :stomp: :stomp: )

A reminder about how to trim asparagus:

trimming asparagus 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



The [Ontario] government has further extended most of the emergency orders to June 9 [2020] to protect public health and safety from COVID-19 while easing some restrictions. All retail stores with a street entrance, seasonal businesses as well as health and community service providers have been permitted to open or expand their services provided these workplaces ensure physical distancing safety measures are in place to protect the public. […] A number of other restrictions remain in place including the closure of schools, overnight summer camps, and bars and restaurants except for takeout and delivery. Restrictions continue for social gatherings of more than five people, and staff redeployment rules for long-term care homes and congregate settings like retirement homes and women’s shelters are still in place. Outdoor playgrounds, play structures and equipment, fitness equipment, public swimming pools and outdoor water facilities remain closed.
– Office of the Premier, Ontario Extending Emergency Orders During COVID-19 Outbreak, 27 May 2020

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