Tuesday, May 31, 2005

asparagus Posted by Hello

Monday, May 30, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend

For years (make that at least 10 years) I have raced up here on Memorial Day weekend and rushed to put a summer’s worth of seeds into the ground. This weekend has been much calmer. I wish that the spring had been the kind to offer me a head start, but at least I am not putting in EVERY plant and seed in two days.

The other nice thing is that I have been able really ENJOY my asparagus. In the past I would arrive to an asparagus forest that needed to be felled with an axe. Now I just snap a few for dinner each night and eat the skinny ones in my omelet in the morning. Now that it has warmed up, I’m getting 12 spears a day from the garden. It's nice to have this early crop at a time when the garden is mostly potential

I’ve uncovered two excellent recipes for asparagus this year. They are both from the Chicago Tribune.

Tonight I’m having a 7 spear version of the following larger recipe

Balsamic Asparagus

1//2 teaspoon salt boil 2 1/2 lbs asparagus 5 minutes. Drain, spread on towel and cover with ice cubes.

To serve: heat 2 1/2 Tbs butter in pan add 2 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar. Add asparagus and stir 2 minutes or until hot. Add 1/2teaspoon salt and freshly ground pepper.

Last week I had a chance to make THE best asparagus soup. I save the snapped off ends until I have a 2 ½ pound bag

Asparagus Soup

2.5 lbs asparagus ends
6 cups water
2 each carrots and celery ribs and tops
3 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
12 peppercorns
2 Tbs butter
Minced garlic
1 large parsnip peeled and sliced
3 large leeks
6 fresh asparagus spears
3/4teaspoon coarse salt
3 Tbs sour cream
1 Tbs snipped chives

Make stock from first 6 ingredients. Cook uncovered for 25 minutes. Strain through strainer. Reserve four cups.

Saute leeks garlic and parsnip for 3 minutes. Add reserved asparagus spears, reserved liquid, salt and pepper. Heat to boil over medium high heat. Reduce to low and cook uncovered until asparagus is tender and but still bright green about 12 minutes. Set aside to cool 5 minutes.

Puree soup in blender in batches. Return to pot add more water if needed. Garnish with sour ream and snipped chives.

Friday, May 27, 2005

The Sun Is Back

The sun has returned and with it a whole new feeling

Went with Chris to see what kind of treasures the storm had tossed up on Menemsha Beach this morning. We were well rewarded. Even found an old steel tackle block buried in the sand.

I then returned to the garden in earnest and started placing the treasures from the basement nursery into the garden. Have pretty much decided that all the tomato plants should be planted. I have NEVER complained about too many tomatoes. Let's see if I can makethat happen this year. It will mean that I will have to plant all winter squash outside of the garden. I will start digging rich holes for them out in the field. The Waltham Butternut, New England Pumpkin and Blue Hubbard Squash will have to float out in the field for now.

Less than a month to solstice. The afternoon light is lingering.

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

May 25, 2005 Posted by Hello

Spring Nor'easter

Oh the travails of the New England Gardener.

Last week when I put in my tomato plants to the tsk tsks of my friends the universal response was "Aren't you brave." Now it is my tomatoes who are brave as they face 40 mph winds and a cold, cold rain.

So I comforted my self today by making a Sorrel Soup. I made half of the recipe below.

Sorrel Soup (4-6 portions)

2 cups sorrel leaves
3 TBS butter
1 medium onion chopped fine
1 TBS flour
3 cups chicken stock1/2 tsp salt
freshly ground black pepper
2 egg yolks
1 cup medium cream

Prepare the leaves by trimming off the stringy parts. Rinse them and drain them thoroughly. Use scissors to cut the leaves. Melt butter in a 2 quart saucepan, add onion and cook over low heat until golden and transparent. Stir in the flour and mix thoroughly. Stir in the chopped sorrel and cook until the leaves are wilted. Add chicken stock and s & p and simmer 5 minutes.
In a separate bowl beat egg yolks and gradually beat in the cream. Then slowly add 2 cups of the hot soup to the egg cream mixture. Return this to the soup pot being careful not to boil. Serve hot or very cold.

Garnish with parsley or chives.

I, of course, ate it warm and consoled myself with its soothing lemony flavor.