Wednesday, March 23, 2016

It's Asparagus Pickin' Time!

The first spears have been harvested. Sweet, sweet spears.

And I do mean sweet. Just minutes from harvesting, they were simmered gently in a skillet. There was no time for the natural sugars to turn into starch. Instead of a squirt of lemon, I opted for sorrel which was picked at the same time as the asparagus.

That's lemony sorrel in the background

While the pasta is cooking, break off the woody parts of the spears, wash, and simmer in a shallow pan for a few minutes. Remove the asparagus, slice in pieces, and reserve.  Add some butter and olive oil in the skillet and then toss in the chiffonade of sorrel. Stir for a minute or two until the sorrel has become saucy. Add the asparagus and several tablespoons of pasta cooking water. Drain the pasta and incorporate it with the asparagus. Mix well while cooking another minute or so. Pile on a plate. Grind some black pepper, sprinkle a bit of fleur de sel, and top with freshly grated Parmesan.

So fresh! But also pleasingly rich what with the butter, olive oil & cheese!

Oh, the elusive pink to-the-core rhubarb. Though I bought the red variety from the plant nursery about six years ago, the streaked-with-red stalks have green insides. What's up I wondered. Now I know. Those smooth, sweeter, more tender, and solidly pink beauties are forced in darkness.* Out came the largest planter. The Calm One taped-up the drainage holes and upturned it over the remaining plant that has not yet burst from its buds. In a month, all will be revealed.

Dirt was mounded around it for increased snugness

The peas are in! And duly protected from eager avian beaks via horticultural fleece.

Next are the early-season potatoes.

Well-sprouted Artemis variety

Their bed is being prepared. Soon, my little starchy nuggets!

Instead of garden tools being precariously heaped in a potting room corner comme habitude, they are now nicely nestled in the slots of a salvaged wooden pallet thanks to the cleverness and resourcefulness of The Calm One.

The purple plum tree is putting out blooms.

And the species tulips too.

À la prochaine!


Asparagus & Bresse Bleu grilled sourdough rye sandwich
Baked Parmesan asparagus polenta sausage frittata
Broth with chicken, noodles & asparagus


*European Protected Designation of Origin Yorkshire forced rhubarb (that is, the rhubarb triangle of Leeds, Wakefield and Bradford):   Once inside the rhubarb stalks grow so quickly it is possible, if it is quiet in the shed, to hear the ‘popping’ sound as the stalks are pushed out from the bud.

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