I just love this time of year in Michigan. It screams “asparagus!” to me. This year we decided to dedicate some of our newly-expanded garden space to a few asparagus beds. Although we won’t get to taste the asparagus for a couple more years, it’s a delicious and healthy investment. And tests your patience, arrrghh… The first year you plant the asparagus crowns, the shoots will come up, but you don’t pick them. “They” say it’s important for the health of the plant to let them go to their ferny seed, but the following season? Pick away! Yessss. So when Wren is almost four, we can enjoy our own home-grown asparagus. Seems like a world away… But seeing as how I feel like I just saw her for the first time as a wet infant who smelled of fresh-baked sugar cookies, it will likely come quickly.
After digging some trenches and mounding dirt in the centers of them, the little birdie and I spread out the roots of the crowns. They look a bit like octopus so that made it even more fun. Octopus in our garden!
Looking for some more asparagus fun? The 8th Annual Empire Asparagus Festival begins this coming Friday, May 20. It kicks off with a BBQ complete with asparagus beer from our favorite local brewery. Yes, that’s right. Asparagus beer! Will I see you there?
What’s your favorite way to enjoy fresh asparagus, lovelies? Will you send me a recipe? Please and thank you!
Happy Friday, lovelies. I hope you have a fantastic weekend. Here are a few links to tickle your fancy…
- Attention, knitters! Calling all cherry lovers! And a special shout out to all expecting Mamas! All 3? Woah. You will totally flip over how ridiculously cute this pattern is. I swear I could feel my baby kicking just by looking at it. And I don’t even knit! Or know the gender. So yeah, click on.
- Thinking of mowing down those dandelions? Stop! Make dandelion jelly.
- Not sure what to do with all that dandelion jelly you just made? Dandelion macarons, silly.
- Excited about asparagus season? Kick it off with this delicious easy-peasy asparagus frittata. You won’t be sorry.
- I love when people do something special to mark a baby’s amazing changes month-by-month, don’t you?
- I’m also amazed when people with a lot of kids (6!) find ways to make each child’s birthday special. Check out the balloon garland!
What blew your skirt up this week, lovelies? Send me a link.
I think I could eat these every day. What a tasty combination of fresh local asparagus and its good friend, bacon. Further proof that simple is better (and easier!) Bonus: you can eat these with your hands.
- A bunch of fresh asparagus (This is usually about 1 1/2 pounds asparagus with the woody ends trimmed, if needed)
- Olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 4 slices bacon (pancetta or prosciutto are great too, but bacon is cheaper and usually already in the fridge)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Brush or spray asparagus spears in olive oil. Season the coated spears with black pepper. Take a quick count of the spears. Divide the total number by four. Gather that number of spears and use a slice of bacon to wrap the bundle and secure the spears together. Repeat with remaining ingredients.
Place bundles on slotted broiler pan in the center of your oven. Bake about 12-15 minutes.
Have you had any asparagus this week, dear readers? This time of year, I could easily eat it every day and not tire of it. Thanks, local asparagus farmers!
Happy Monday, mushroom lovers!
How was your weekend? I happily crossed off a couple more items from my “Spring Forward” list yesterday, thanks to a sunny Mother’s Day hike at the Treat Farm. Cool but sunny meant a spring wildflower hike was in order. And maybe a meander into the woods for some morel-hunting if we were feeling ambitious. We were greeted with a forest full of trillium (some turning to their late Spring light purple hue already), jack-in-the-pulpits, columbine, forget-me-nots, purple and white viola, a few remaining dutchman’s breeches and other lovelies courtesy of Mother Nature.
Through the woods, across the meadow and out to the bluff…
On the way back, Chris wanted to cross the meadow and he spotted these. Have you ever seen such large, woody asparagus? Crazy!
Then we stumbled into the woods in search of morels, but instead we got some quiet moments and some leek-filled breaths. Somewhat dejected, off we hiked back to the car. Until… are you ready now for some virtual mushrooming, dear readers? Give it a shot!
Don’t pick them just yet. Wait until everyone has had a chance to “find” them…
OK, now you can pick! How’s that for a fun fun fun-guy adventure!?
Now what will you do with your bounty? I don’t like to *do* too much to them because the flavor is so delicate. My favorite partner for morels? You probably guessed it. Butter. Cleaned and lightly pan-fried in butter with a dash or two of salt and pepper. And some fresh asparagus… Sounds like we’ve figured out dinner tonight! Whew.
It’s decidedly Spring in northern Michigan when the rhubarb’s thigh-high (remember, I’m short) and the local asparagus decides to pop its happy, green head through the sandy soil. At today’s windy, cold (36) first outdoor farmer’s market of the season, we giddily found both. The smiles of the farmers in spite–or perhaps, because–of the weather, made the outing worthwhile. OK, the down coat helped too. And the hot coffee from Morsel’s on the walk home. And being with my family. So I hereby dedicate this week to the tastiest harbingers of Spring, rhubarb and asparagus. Follow along on some tasty adventures with me this week! Rhubarb crisp and asparagus frittata, anyone? Or maybe some cream of asparagus soup to warm you up? What are YOUR favorite asparagus and rhubarb recipes?
Got plans for next weekend already? Of course it includes a trip to Empire for the 7th Annual Empire Asparagus Festival, right? Rain or shine, asparagus-lovers unite to celebrate the mighty green stalk. Even roasted asparagus beer. Yes! You will find it courtesy of Traverse City’s Right Brain Brewery. And lots more spear-ited fun! Hope to see you there.