Wheat. The idea of enjoying this foundational whole grain in as “whole” of a way as possible has appealed to me recently. So much attention is given to its fancier counterparts these days; farro, quinoa, barley, amaranth. While all these wonderful grains deserve a place in our diet, I have been interested in the classic version. When I think of wheat my mind conjures up ideas of midwestern fields, wispy wheat grass blowing in the wind, farmhouses, tall silos and mill stones. Flour dusted aprons, the smell of freshly baked bread, rounds and rectangles lined up on a bakery shelf. I love to bake, and I love to try to find new ways in incorporate whole eating into my family’s diet where I can.
It’s here. I purchased my first bunch of the season last week. Asparagus is a telltale sign that spring is just around the corner. Just as the daffodils have burst through our rain drenched soil to open up and smile at us, asparagus and their tender tips have popped up like little soldiers to say “Come on spring, we’re ready for you”. While the season doesn’t officially start for four more weeks, we can enjoy the combination of the sunny February days we have been blessed with, along with these crisp stalks, to remind us that spring will soon be here. Here are a few recipes and fun tidbits to help you enjoy this delicious veggie.
I saw this grain salad with asparagus and Meyer lemon on the kitchn earlier today, a perfect way to enjoy the end of the citrus season along with the arrival of asparagus.
I can’t do an inspiration board without including my favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen. I made this simple asparagus pizza last year, and will surely be doing it again. Although I might be tempted to add an egg this time.
While looking on her site for the above, I came across this recipe for asparagus with yogurt and almonds that looks lovely.
I saw Ina Garten do this asparagus with prosciutto and egg on Barefoot Contessa one day…it looked like heaven.
Serious Eats is a great resource for all things food & cooking…they have given me these delicious ideas:
Tartine sandwiches with asparagus, ricotta and mint…yes please!
Grilled asparagus dipped in 3 different aioli options…yum!
Roast chicken with asparagus panzanella…I will admit I would probably cheat and buy a rotisserie chicken :o)
And here is 20 more…I will be trying the caesar and farro salads myself.
Asparagus and Gruyere come together in tart form in several places on the web, but they all seem to be descendants of Martha’s version.
Lets make sure we also cover off some very important questions and facts:
Do you peel your asparagus? I don’t. According to this survey, I am in the majority.
Do you snap the ends off, or not? I do…some say you loose too much of the stalk that way. According to The New York Times, you can still be left with tough, stringy ends if you snap. They recommend cutting 6-7 inches down from the tip. To me, it’s just too fun, and too easy.
According to this article in Smithsonian Magazine, even Benjamin Franklin commented on this strange side effect of eating asparagus back in 1781. Just why, oh why, does it make our pee smell? I always assumed it happened to everyone. Eating just one stalk does it to me. However, I guess some folks are spared.
And just for fun…
Etsy and eBay are full of vintage French asparagus plates. How “French” is it that they have special plates just for asparagus? If I could afford it, and had the space, I would be all over this set. The color is gorgeous.
Maybe I will just take this cute vintage french crate label instead… :o)
Top Row (from left to right): Daffodil – TANAKA Juuyoh via flickr / Wild Daffodils – Vince Alongi via flickr / asparagus – liz west via flickr
Middle Row (from left to right): asparagus – liz west via flickr / Asparagus – Michael Leland via flickr / Daffodils – Keith Todd via flickr
Bottom Row (from left to right): white and orange daffodil, taken by my wife – Martin LaBar via flickr / Daffodils in Spring Sunset – Nic Taylor via flickr / Asparagus – Steve Cavrich via flickr
Cold, wet days often call for warm, comforting, rich food. However, when your mood needs a boost let your taste buds be invigorated by a burst of sweet, tangy citrus. As I mentioned in last week’s post about preserving lemons, I have always found the contrast between the darkness of winter and the bright citrus flavors that peak at this time of year a confusing paradox. So while I work to get over it and invite these flavors into my winter cooking and eating regime, I look to the below for inspiration.
The season of endless baked goods has come to an end…*sigh*. I feel sad, but I’m desperately trying to lift my chin and focus on fitting healthy leafy greens into my life here and there. The weather is chilly and calling for dishes with depth and warmth. A mound of melted deep, dark greens is a wonderful accompaniment to so many winter dishes. Whether piled on a pizza, wrapped around fillings, swirled with pasta, or chopped raw in a salad, winter greens bring earthy flavor to our cold weather tables. Here are lots of options I have found across the web, with a few fun things to round it out….just cause.
We are deep into fall. Thanksgiving is upon us, with the thought of Christmas already present. The air has gone cool, the heat is turned on, and socks are always on as I putter around the house. The oven avoidance that is common in our house during the summer months is long gone and the season of roasting and baking is here. Squash has always been one of those things I have been unsure of, the idea of a plain and slightly mushy slice of roasted squash has no appeal. It used to be that the thought of squash meant a beeline for butternut, but nowadays you can find all sorts of sizes, shapes and colors with intriguing names such as delicata and kabocha.
It might be a disappointment for some of you, but I am not a big Halloween fan. I have never enjoyed dressing up, I am not a fan of scary movies, and while orange is my favorite color, I really don’t like it paired with black. BUT, I LOVE CANDY. Maybe it goes back to my childhood memories of stopping at Freeway Variety on my way home from school and stock piling up on Jolly Rancher sticks and Now & Laters. Nowadays I don’t eat it that often, but I do recommend you don’t leave an unattended box of Mike & Ikes in my presence. So, all that being said…my favorite part of Halloween is the candy.
Fall is my favorite time of year. I am a Californian at heart, but during October I sometimes wish I was a New Englander so I could enjoy the season to its fullest. Cold, crisp mornings, crunchy leaves in a rainbow of colors, cozy scarves, and the beginning of comfort food season all make me a happy camper. Here’s a few fun tidbits in honor of fall and the quintessential fall fruit, the apple.