Monday, April 6, 2009

Asparagus: Getting the most for your spring dollars

There are three things in this world that tempt me to curse. The first is calculus. I haven't had to do it since high school, and my language has been all the cleaner for it. The second is knitting. I tried it once in Chile, after falsely believing that if adorable little four year old Chilean girls could do it, then why couldn't I? It wasn't long before I hurled my newly purchased needles and ball of yard out the window-literally-of my humble rented room. The third, and this one really makes me want to gnash my teeth, is computer woes. If only the computer were as light as that ball of yarn I would have hurled it out the window hours ago. And I'm way too old for cursing, since it only makes me feel bad later, and little ears are so adept at picking up on questionable vocabulary. I will either have to fix my computer or find a more wholesome outlet for my frustration.
Asparagus, anyone? The best asparagus is out there right now, just right for the buying, so here a few pointers for getting the best for your buck.
When I was less thrifty, I would boldly snap asparagus spears almost in half, tossing the tough bottoms into the trash to savor only the tenderest tips. I betcha I didn't look at the price either, before I bought it. Well, I've come a long way, at least where frugality is concerned. Now, in addition to looking for a good price for my spring asparagus ($1.50 a pound this week at Walmart), I also try to use up every bit of those gorgeous green stalks. First of all, try to buy the skinniest asparagus you can find. When you get home from the market, stand the asparagus up in a wide mouthed jar with a little bit of water, say 1/2 inch, at the bottom. Cover the tips loosely with plastic wrap. When you're ready to cook the asparagus, gently hold the asparagus by the tip, and gently peel the toughest bottom inches with a vegetable peeler, revealing the white flesh beneath. It won't be quite as tender as the tips, but it's still awfully delicious. The asparagus may snap while you're peeling and that's OK. Just pick up the bottom piece and peel away. And if you haven't tried roasted asparagus, please don't miss out any longer. Preheat your oven to 450 degrees and line a cookie sheet with foil. Toss asparagus with a tablespoon or two of olive oil, or even lightly coat it with cooking spray if you're counting calories. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and pop it in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, or until browned and crispy in places. A squeeze of lemon makes it even better. Speaking of better, I've almost forgotten my computer woes. And I didn't use any depraved vocabulary. So I'll quit while I'm ahead. See you tomorrow with....
Baby Banana Cream Pies


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

GRREAT asparagus cooking ideas!!

HOORAY for no more computer woes!!

Can't wait for those banana cream pies tomorrow :-D

Erin said...

I LOVE asparagus.
I always thought I should be going for the thick ones-
thanks for your take!!

Catherine said...

Your asparagus looks lovely and delicious! Thanks for sharing all the tips.

Allie said...

This is one of our favorite side dishes!

gigi said...

Asparagus is a favorite of mine. I don't know why it took me years to try this because when I did, that is all she wrote! I want it at least twice or three times a week. Roasted is sooo gooood!

Kerstin said...

I love fresh asparagus - thanks for the tips! I have always broken them on the end like you describe, so I'll have to try your method!

Jen @ said...

Oh - I love asparagus Prudy! For some reason I associate it with Easter. I don't think Easter dinner would be complete without it!

Thanks for the asparagus ideas. I hope everything is all worked out with your computer!


Anonymous said...

Sometimes Erin... you gotta let it out. I understand though. I'm just not as good a woman as you.

The asparagus looks great. I might have to try it but for less time. I just started liking asparagus less than a year ago so I'm still pretty picky about how I eat it.


PS: You would have killed The Husband this weekend if he'd done to YOUR computer what he did to ours. It was literally in about 300 pieces on the floor in the man room.

The Blonde Duck said...

Where, oh where has my Prudy gone? Oh where, oh where can she be? She's my favorite Prudy in the whole wide world. Oh where, oh where can she be?

Anonymous said...

Your Asparagus looks divine Erin! How have you been? I LOVE Asparagus, then I had it Fresh and fell in LOVE.

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