I’ve had greens on my mind quite a bit lately, and so it was only a matter of time that a vegetable not classified as a “green” but which is very green would surface. Spring has exploded here, and it’s difficult to avoid the beautiful asparagus I’ve been seeing at the grocery store. It’s a bit challenging to pass up a sale, so invariably a bundle is put in the basket even though it wasn’t on my list. Unfortunately, the beautiful pencil thin stalks were pushed back in the vegetable drawer, and somewhat forgotten. For a vegetable that has been referred to as the Food of the Kings, this is a sad state of affairs.
Often, recipes I’ve seen initiate a purchase, but in the case of the forgotten asparagus, it was the sale. Once I’ve made the purchase, then a seed is planted in my brain and I head for the recipes. Of course once I’d located a recipe, I realized I hadn’t seen the asparagus. Had I really purchased it? Not completely sure, I picked up another bunch at the store, and when I went through the vegetable drawer, while putting the groceries away, I found the other bundle still wrapped in plastic and looking as fresh as ever. Good thing we like asparagus because I now had quite a bit of it.
Soup was definitely in order. Beautiful silky, creamy and very green Cream of Asparagus soup — quite different from the Campbell’s my mother used to purchase for me when I was growing up.
With all the different types of bread recipes I've tried in the last year, I can say that I not only no longer cringe at the thought of tackling dough, but can decide five minutes before I lift Bertha from her spot in my kitchen that fresh bread it will be — and tonight if I want — even if it's the traditional version. Big Bertha, my Kitchen Aid, definitely helps since I don't have to knead the dough for 10 minutes and couldn't even if I wanted to. One or both of my arms have been royally screwed up for the last 25 years and when I do too much grasping or clenching, lifting or pruning, I live to regret it. I used to be able to use Chopin as an excuse, but can't remember the last time I touched my piano keys for more than dusting. *Sorry Mom. How much did those lessons cost when you couldn't afford much else?*
My right arm has been singing with agony for two weeks now, thanks to a couple of hours choosing travertine for our home renovations. How much does one of those 20×20" pieces weigh? Definitely more than my arms want to deal with.
I'm quite thankful for my Bertha who is about 10 years old. She's not sleek, but she's more than dependable, and when my arms are healthy, she doesn't mind that I enjoy getting my hands into a lump of silky dough.
The latest dough I experimented with was anything but silky. It was sticky and not very cooperative, but so worth it. Let's just say I was a bit more timely in getting the little not so carved pumpkin off my porch after Halloween to bake and puree this year to create Pumpkin Rosemary Dinner Rolls.
Talk about pillowey bread-like wonderfulness?
If you’re someone who freezes food for later use, then you know there’s something to be said about how long food can be frozen and then used without sacrificing quality. That would mean that the bones from last year’s something or other that are barely recognizable due to the accumulation of frost most likely need to be tossed.
But the two cups of fresh pumpkin I prepared last November, each carefully poured into its own bag, the air patiently pressed out, then frozen flat looked perfectly fine. Bright in color, and not a hint of frost. For about five seconds I imagined a whole new world of cooking up a storm of fresh items and then preparing them for the freezer. And then I snapped out of it.
The food world on the Internet is aswirlin’ with pumpkin pies and mousse, and whoopie pies, soup, bread, and muffins, and since the idea of pumpkin pie is so yummy right now, but we wait until Thanksgiving to savor our first bite, I thought a compromise was in order. I could have a somewhat pumpkin pie taste in a bar cookie.
Nice. Very nice. If you are someone who likes pumpkin pie but wishes there just wasn’t so much of that custard, then these are a lovely option. Packing them up and sending them home with guests on Thanksgiving is quite a bit easier than sending pie slices, too!
My husband and I were recently in Las Vegas wasting money everywhere except Thomas Keller’s restaurant, Bouchon at the Venetian, where we had the most amazing spinach soup. I love spinach, and was surprised after eating the silky, rich tasting, and intensely green puree, to realize that I’d never eaten spinach quite like that before. In fact, I’ve never even thought about it.
So with pureed spinach on my dieting brain, I came across Ben’s site, What’s Cooking Mexico? and his recipe for “Spinach Avocado Soup.” Now, I love avocados, too, but I’ve never thought of them being anywhere except raw in a salad, guacamole, or halved in my hand with a squeeze of fresh lemon or lime and a sprinkle of salt, ready to enjoy with a spoon. I was immediately curious. The only problem was, I had everything except the avocados so had to wait until the next day to try it.