Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Welcome, Spring and Asparagus! (Goodbye, Fever!)

I'm just realizing now that the title might indicate that I'm talking about Spring fever, which wouldn't make sense since it's really just starting to take hold in a glorious way. In actuality, I'm talking about my poor Kate who had a fever for 3 days. I told myself when I started this blog that I wouldn't let it take priority over my little family, and I've just found it impossible to do any cooking or baking the last few days while she was in the thick of it all. So, for any of you who were missing me in my absence, well, first, thank you for missing me(!) and second, thank you being patient.

I've got some good stuff planned for my upcoming posts, (Easter!) but for now I just want to give a big, hearty welcome to my favorite Spring vegetable, ASPARAGUS!!! If you're paying any attention to the world of food this time of year, you're seeing a boisterous asparagus boom right now. As much as I love this vegetable, it does pose a problem for me, and that is that I love it so much that it's hard for me to think of any other vegetable to cook with. Though, I promise not ALL the recipes I provide you with this Spring will include asparagus.

Some asparagus trivia (that I grabbed from Wikipedia) about today's guest of honor.

  • It used to be considered part of the lily family.
  • Its strongest flavor is found in the tips.
  • Louis XIV of France had special greenhouses built for growing asparagus. (Now there's a man who was onto something.)
  • It's is very nutritious. Here's what it offers: "Asparagus is low in calories and is very low in sodium. It is a good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc, and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin K, thiamin, riboflavin, rutin, niacin, folic acid, iron, phosphorus, potassium, copper, manganese and selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that enhances the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells." And "it's stalks are high in antioxidants." Impressive, eh?
  • The folate in asparagus makes it great for pregnant women or women who're planning to become pregnant. 
And a couple of tips for cooking asparagus.
  • Cooked asparagus is not supposed to be limp or soggy. When picked up in the middle, it should have a moderate bend to it, but should definitely not completely fall downward on the sides.
  • When roasting asparagus (my favorite method of cooking it, aside from grilling), opt for a higher temperature (400 degrees or higher) and lower cook time (no more than 20 minutes, and as little as 10 minutes for higher temps and thinner stalks.)
Do any of you have asparagus recipes that you return to every Spring? If so, share them in the comments below so we can all enjoy!

Happy Spring!

1 comment:

  1. Ooooh, yes! Orzo with goat cheese and asparagus. It's like healthy mac and cheese, and its super easy. Cook up your orzo and your asparagus (I like to steam it just a little, so its warm but still crunchy), chop the asparagus into chunks, and mix everything together. The warm orzo will melt the goat cheese, but you can add a little milk if you'd like more of a sauce. Delicious!