State of the Garden, Early May 2013

ImageHello, salad season! Tons of lettuce and radishes coming out of the garden this week, thanks to the 5 days of steady rain we have received. 1 pound of lettuce (read: a lot! those leaves don’t weigh very much so it takes quite a bit to get to 1 pound!) and 11 little radishes this week alone! Surely, the peas can’t be far behind.

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Tonight Alex and I are going to a potluck dinner. We are bringing a pound cake for dessert to showcase fresh spring eggs from a friend, as well as a rhubarb-orange sauce that celebrates the end of winter (citrus) and beginning of spring (rhubarb).

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Are you stalking stocking up on your spring stalks? Rhubarb and asparagus won’t last long so get ’em while you can. Last week, at the farmer’s market, I was a little too amused that my tote bag was overflowing with these stalks–nothing else, just rhubarb and asparagus stalks. I laughed out loud and remarked as much (mostly to myself but definitely loud enough for others to hear), but nobody laughed with me. Am I becoming the crazy lady who talks to herself at the farmer’s market?? Has my quest to “stock up” and “put by” the things that I can’t grow myself deluded me into thinking that everyone else at the market knows why I’m buying asparagus 4 pounds at a time? I stumbled under the weight of my bags to the fresh donut stand. I probably did look a little crazy, stuffing my face with that little treat and leaving a trail of cinnamon-sugar dust from my lips and down the front of my shirt. Maybe my fellow shoppers just assume that I’m really really hungry.

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Speaking of asparagus, I learned a neat tip for getting the most out of these babies. You know how they tell you to hold each stalk horizontally and snap off the “woody stem” at the non-tip end? (Alternately, some people rubberband a whole bunch together and just make one big chop). You can save those woody stems! Thank goodness! I always winced whenever I did that; sure, the ends went to the compost, but it seemed like such a waste of fresh green veggies! Here’s what you do: Chop into 1-inch pieces. Boil them for about 5 minutes, then shock in an ice water bath to stop the cooking. Puree in your food processor and pack into freezer-safe containers. Voila! Asparagus puree. Instant baby food. Or for use in things like soup, breads, quiche, or asparagus flan, which I am very eager to make.

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Alex and I have been living in our house for almost three years now! If I had planted asparagus crowns when we first moved in, we might be noshing on our own asparagus by now!

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