Saturday, June 06, 2009

Asparagus Options

One of the earliest vegetables to appear at the farmer’s market each year is gorgeous green asparagus – a sight for sore eyes in late spring. And even in early June there should still be a few more weeks to savor this versatile veggie straight from the fields.

Luckily there are an incredible number of ways to prepare asparagus, from the obvious (steaming) to the perhaps less obvious (folding it into scrambled eggs). One of my favorite ways to make asparagus is to roast it, a method I came to late in life. But I love it. The stalks become juicy and brown on the tips – crunchy and succulent. A simple step-by-step method for roasting can be found in a recent NY Times post about all the great ways to enjoy asparagus. Other recipe links include puree of asparagus soup and pasta with asparagus, arugula and ricotta.

Another of my favorite asparagus recipes comes from watching my sister-in-law, China, prepare the vegetable. This recipe takes less than 15 minutes to put together and is a classy side dish for almost any meal.

Asparagus with Sherry & Oregano
Yield: 3-4 servings

1 bunch green asparagus, trimmed
1 TB olive oil
1/3 cup sherry
1/4 tsp. dried oregano
Salt and pepper

1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
2. Add asparagus and a healthy pinch of salt. Toss with tongs until the asparagus is bright green, about three minutes.
3. Add the sherry to the pan and cover. Reduce the heat slightly and cook until the asparagus stalks are tender, about five minutes.
4. Add the oregano and a bit of pepper.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Monday, June 01, 2009

Into the Kitchen, Please

From starting a garden to bringing school children into the White House kitchen, Michelle Obama has been a staunch advocate of eating local food and healthy meals. I say “hooray!” to that. But, click here to read Amanda Hesser’s column in yesterday’s Times about one food-related thing Mrs. Obama isn’t advocating: cooking.

And, really, that’s what it all comes down to. You can have all the gorgeous, local, organic produce and grass-fed meats in the world, but if you don't know how to cook you'll still be dialing for takeout every night. Luckily, as Hesser notes, if you can boil water, roast, and season you can eat delicious food everyday no matter what house you live in.