Monthly Archives: June 2017

Asparagus: 2 Easy Ways (And 1 Bonus!) to Cook It

20170610_074448Every year, I come along with the hubs to local farmers’ markets with an offering of our garden veggies. Every year, while I’m behind the stand helping patrons, I also get several questions. Many follow the lines of…

“How do I cook that?”

It’s not surprising. Farmers’ market stands, ours included, can offer eclectic, regional, or new varieties of vegetables not found in supermarkets. I’m always happy when I encounter a person stepping out to try something new. It can take a lot of courage to try a new vegetable.

 

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Especially if it looks like that! Am I right? But, back on topic…

 

Just last Saturday someone at the market asked me how to cook asparagus. I thought I’d do a post here and there, showing you our favorite ways to eat garden fresh vegetables. To begin with…

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Asparagus!

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To Clean & Store

  • Rinse fresh asparagus well in cool water.
  • If you can’t use it that same day, store in a glass of water in the fridge. (Like you would cut flowers.)
  • Right before cooking, take each asparagus spear in your hand one by one. Wiggle and bend the stem near the base. This will help you feel where the stem gets too tough to chew. Snap off the tough ends.

 

Pan-Seared Or Oven-Roasted Asparagus

  • Leave as spears or break into smaller pieces, as desired.
  • Drizzle with oil.
  • Sprinkle with your favorite seasoning. (We enjoy good old salt and fresh cracked pepper.)
  • Toss around to coat.

> Pan-seared: Cook in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Stir frequently, or if you want a sear, less frequently.  Asparagus is done when it turns bright green and is tender to your taste. (About 10 minutes.)

> Oven-Roasted: Spread seasoned asparagus on a sheet pan. Pop it into a 450F degree oven. Stir at least once. As above, asparagus is done when it turns bright green and is tender.

(There’s no shame in sampling a few to check for doneness; Cook’s Prerogative, you know.)

Besides Pan-seared or Roasted, there’s another way we enjoy it. It’s great if you’re new to asparagus and need a little help warming up to the vegetable. 🙂

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Bacon-wrapped Asparagus

  • Wrap bacon around 2-3 stalks.
  • Grill or over broil 15-20 minutes, turning half way through.

> Usually, the ratio is about 1 lb of asparagus to every 1/2 lb bacon. It can be variable depending on the size of the stalks and the size of the bacon. I usually get a bunch of each and wrap what I can.

Extras end up as breakfast.

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Planting Peach Trees

Last week, we took a trip to my hubs’ folk’s place to plant some long awaited Red Haven peach trees. (“Long awaited” because Derek has been faithfully checking all the nearest Theisens Stores in search of this favorite variety since April.)

The truck being in for repairs made the journey more interesting than usual. We had to squeeze 2 peach trees, a stow-away pear, and two grown adults in our midsize SUV.

 

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Mr. Handsome

My traveling companions as seen from the driver seat.

 

 

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A.K.A. Mr. Sense of Humor

It’s hard to get natural photos of this guy. When the camera comes out, so does his goofiness. I’m learning I need to sneak up on him unawares.

 

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We had the chance to check up on the landscaping my hubs did last year. It’s really looking nice and the plants are growing nicely.

 

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Lovely Lilies

 

 

 

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Double mock orange in bloom — not only showy but smells so fruity!

 

 

Peach trees in the ground and watered; all in a good day’s work.

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Garden Beginnings 2017

The weather has been blissfully wonderful here! We’re been trying to soak in all the 70s we can get. When it comes to Iowa, the weather changes rapidly. It won’t be long until the 80s, 100% humidity, and thunderstorms of summer arrive. As you’re about to see, the garden is reveling in this weather.

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The watermelon patch is all planted. It’s also been raining a good deal here, and it’s made some of the seed a little late. We’re hoping this warmer weather will give them a boost to get out of the ground.

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Itsy baby sweet potatoes plants, newly in the ground, in between the watermelon sections. The hubbs enjoyed his potatoes so much last year, he’s nearly doubled the amount for us this year. I’m hoping they’ll be enough left after market for me!

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Cukes and zukes are happily situated in the hay. Behind them, the tomatoes are now in the ground. If you couldn’t guess from the red tiller, the weedy patch beyond is about to get it good.

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Tilling done! Each little orange flag marks a squash. I do so love squashes. Especially when you say it with some extra “r,” like “squawrsh,” it makes it even better. 🙂

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Green beans in on the fringe of the weed patch…

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… are weedy no more! Boy, is that tiller handy.

My beloved hubbs likes nothing more than to give me tours of the garden. He loves showing me what he’s been up to and I always get the latest updates about how the garden is growing. Though I daresay, sometimes I get a little distracted. (Taking fun shadows pictures, for examples…)

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Tators!!! We had maybe a row or two last year — now there’s a patch!!! Red, yellow, white, and purple. I’m excited to see how this turns out.

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Oh my, there must have been some seed in the hay we used last year. We seem to be growing some oats where the tomatoes were last year. Derek isn’t too worried about it though. There’s no such thing as a perfect garden this side of heaven. (Though the hubbs gets pretty close with what he can do. 🙂 )

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The oats are kind of pretty. I wonder if they’re edible… Hm…

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Gorgeous weather, gorgeous clouds. No picture can do it justice. All I wanted to do was flop down right here in the grass and watch this sky for a while.

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