Hello, 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.
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).
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.
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.
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!