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That’s what we called asparagus when I was growing up. It didn’t really matter what we called it, since we hardly ever had it and, when we did, it was canned smoosh hardly worthy of the name–or any name, other than canned smoosh. Still, I came to like it and was MOST disappointed when I had some fresh and it didn’t taste like salted aluminum and had an actual texture other than…you know…smoosh.
But I thought it was way cool that people could actually grow their own luxury item so, when we moved to the country, I bought a package of asparagus seed. Folks laughed at me. “Don’t you know it takes three years from planting before you can harvest asparagus?” I was like, “How long will it be if I don’t plant it?”
As usual, the laugh was on me, because you can buy mature crowns (the bit that grows underground and sends up the asparagus shoots) to cut the time. Ah, well. Meanwhile, I got to see the little teeny baby asparagus shoots and ferns, which was a charming experience. It was like fairy food. Miniature folks, please note: How cool would it be to plant asparagus seed in tubs outside your miniature house and have tiny little living plants come up? Very cool! (By the way, by “miniature folks”, I meant people interested in miniatures, not, like, The Borrowers or The Incredible Shrinking Man, although they’re welcome to the idea, as well.)
Anyway, now we have an asparagus bed. Yesterday, we had fresh asparagus for supper. It was not salty aluminum smoosh, it was full-flavored and crisp-tender and delicious. And this is what it looks like when it first comes up. I kid you not. Yes, it looks like some wisenheimer bought some asparagus spears at the grocery and stuck them into the dirt, but this is how they come up. Then those nubs at the top open into fronds and you get this pretty lacy ferny plant. The female ones (sorry about the s3x) grow little red berries, which drop and make more baby plants.
The bad thing is the asparagus beetles. Heartbreaking, to come out and find bugs all over your asparagus spear (is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?). Anyway, Charlie says he’s going to dust the bed with Sevin to see if he can wipe out the bugs early in the harvest. That means I’ll have to wash the spears in warm soapy water before we cook or marinate them.
A small price to pay. You have to keep your spears clean, or no one will want to…. You know, this post is over.
writing prompt: If your character could grow one thing fresh, what would it be?
How lucky can I get? My husband is a retired English teacher and self-taught repairman and builder. He can put siding on the house, till up the garden, then come in and discuss Thomas Hardy until it’s time for him to post political knock-downs on the web. Some people would feel shamed into doing something, but I consider it a good excuse for my laziness. I mean, there IS a matter of balance, isn’t there?
AND he can cook.
The other day, I came in from some damn place or another and he was making lunch for us. He had gone out to the garden and pulled up some little red Pontiac potatoes and some little Yukon Gold potatoes and plucked some young and tender green beans and was frying them in olive oil. We just hit them with a little salt and nommed them down. OH! this was a good dish!
And here’s another goodie I came across posted by Anna Welender in the vanilla-recipes Yahoo Group.
MICROWAVE DUMP CAKE
- 1 box cake mix
- 3 eggs
- 16-28 oz of stuff
Mix together in a microwave safe bowl MORE than big enough to hold it all. Cover with microwave safe plate. Microwave on high for 15 minutes. Let cool for 15 minutes, then turn out onto plate. Top with whatever.
I used spice cake and added two small cans of peaches in raspberry syrup, then topped it with brown sugar and chopped pecans. Or you can use chocolate cake and cherry pie filling and top it with whipped cream. Or lemon cake and lemon pie filling and top it with powdered sugar. Or….
writing prompt: This weekend is the Indiana Territory Festival in Corydon. Look up the history of where you (or one of your characters) lives.
Although my first word was “meat”, I love my veggies. Last night, we had a vegetable dinner, and very tasty it was, too. In addition to corn on the cob, we had:
- leftover mashed potatoes
- onion or onion powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- dab of butter
Melt butter in frying pan. Mix other ingredients and fry in butter.
- fresh asparagus
- garlic olive oil
Break the asparagus into roughly equal lengths. Cook in covered pot with salted water and oil to cover until crisp-tender (not very long). Put into medium-hot skillet (I used the one I had just taken the potato pancakes out of) and cook, stirring often, until dry-browned to the degree you want.
- white bread, crusts cut off
- fruit, fresh or canned or frozen, with juice
- whipped topping, if desired
Squish down the bread so it’s flattened but not noodleated. Line a dish with the squished bread. Put in a layer of juice fruit. Put on another layer of squished bread, another layer of fruit and juice, another layer of bread. Put in refrigerator till good and chilled. Turn out onto plate and top with more fruit and juice and whipped topping. Pretty and delicious.
I gave Joe a red dog biscuit this morning. He was a happy dog. I’m sorry, but I’m not throwing away any green ones that may still be in the bag, just because he doesn’t prefer them. It sux to be a dog.
writing prompt: Under what circumstances would your bad guy pamper a dog?
Been to the grocery and into the woods and brought back sacks of vittles. That’s food, for those of you who didn’t grow up watching Davey Crockett. None of it was local, alas, except the morels. Not a very big bunch, even before I gave some to my mother. It’s really a little early yet, so I’m happy with what I can get.
I know this doesn’t look like much of a haul altogether, but Charlie and I don’t eat that much. They laugh at me at the farmers’ market when I buy one potato and one turnip, but that’s all it takes to make the dish I have in mind. That’s where the farmers’ market has it all over growing your own. Try growing one turnip a week. Doesn’t happen. You either have no turnips or ten pounds of turnips.
So I have some red new potatoes left from last week, and I’ll cook the green beans with some of them. I’ll cut the heads and tails off the sweet potatoes and roast (or smoke!) them with some of the potatoes, carrots, celery and onions. I’ll probably make eggplant Parmesan. I’ll cut the skinny part of the yellow squash off and slice it and the zucchini and… oh, I don’t know… make a casserole or a stir-fry or tempura or something. I’ll slice the fat part of the yellow squash long-ways and bread it and fry or bake it so it’s crispy outside and tender inside.
And the fruit…. Don’t have to do much of anything with fruit except eat it!
Had our first creative writing class Tuesday night. I don’t know about the students, but I had a blast! There’s something just plain invigorating in talking about the process. I try to think up examples to demonstrate what I’m talking about, and a story seed pops into my head. It makes me want to dance. I gave them an assignment, which I’ll use as today’s prompt.
Writing prompt: Make a list of six professions (use the want ads, if you need to) and a list of four places where people might meet. (My #4 daughter and I have lists of occupations and meeting places that number over 100 each.) Then pick two professions at random and one meeting place at random and write a paragraph in which, say, a priest and a prostitute walk into a bar….
But it’s SPRING! –I really gotta change my banner.
The local farmers’ markets aren’t open yet, but Shireman’s is, with fresh fruit and vegetables from Florida, and the grocery has some produce that looks like it was actually grown and not constructed out of insulation materials.
Broke up some green beans and cooked them in salted water with quartered new red potatoes. Would have added onion, but Charlie can’t eat onion. Made corn fritters, although that was with canned corn. I wouldn’t insult FRESH corn by doing anything to it except heating it enough to bring out the flavor and set the sugar.
- creamed corn
- regular corn
- salt & pepper
- butter for frying
Mix as much of the two corns as you like. Beat an egg enough to blend its white and yellow well and mix it in with the corn. Add salt and pepper and enough flour to make a batter like for pancakes. Fry in butter.
Got the most BE-YOU-TEE-FUL cantaloupe and strawberries! Look at this cantaloupe–LOOK at it! I cut the strawberries up and sugered them, but you can see how perfectly red-ripe they are. So I softened some mascarpone cheese, mixed in some strawberries and their sugar-juice and poured them over sections of melon. Man, we were in heaven!
Our rhubarb is coming up, but not enough to make a strawberry rhubarb pie–not yet, anyway. If we don’t gobble up all these strawberries on top of ice cream or cereal or shortcake, I might make a strawberry pie. Why is it that spring makes other people think of the pretty flowers or the Renewal of Life, and it makes me think of food? Could it have anything to do with the fact that, if I get any bigger, I’ll have to buy a truck license to walk down the street? …Nah!
Writing prompt: Take a character and drop him/her into a farm market. What does he/she encounter there that changes the world from happy to sad or from sad to happy?