Tag Archive: Asparagus

  1. A Parable + Breakfast for Spring


    “When you wake up in the morning, Pooh,” said Piglet at last, “what’s the first thing you say to yourself?”

    “What’s for breakfast?” said Pooh. “What do you say, Piglet?”

    “I say, I wonder what’s going to happen exciting today?” said Piglet.

    Pooh nodded thoughtfully.

    “It’s the same thing,” he said.

    Broiled Asparagus, a Poached Egg, and Charred Spring Onion and Garlic over Grits

    • 1 cup coarse grits (polenta)
    • 1 bundle (about a pound) asparagus
    • 3 spring onions
    • 2 stalks spring garlic
    • Lemon juice, lemon zest
    • 2 eggs
    • olive oil / butter
    • salt

    Combine 1 cup grits with 5 cups cold water in a heavy, deep pot. Bring to a boil, toss in a bit of salt and reduce to simmer for 45 minutes, stirring very frequently and adding water and oil/butter to your liking. Meanwhile, prep asparagus on baking sheet. Coat with olive oil, salt, pepper and zest of 1 lemon. Broil on the top rack for no more than 5 minutes. Remove asparagus from pan and set aside. Slice the white and light green portion of both garlic and onions and toss in leftover olive oil from the asparagus on the baking sheet. Squeeze the juice of the fully zested lemon over the garlic and onions. Add a bit more oil if you feel necessary. Return to the broiler, and check every 2 minutes to make sure they don’t burn. Pull them out when they have a nice brown char on the edges. Set aside.

    Prepare the water for poaching the eggs in a deep pan. Once things come to a boil, it’s time to start prepping the serving bowls with the warm grits and asparagus. 1-ish cup of the grits, followed by half of the asparagus… bring bowls/plates over to the stove for easy transfer of the eggs.

    I have recently adopted this bangin’ poaching technique, thanks to Bon Appetit: when the water has just come to a boil, create a vortex in the center by whisking a fork in a counter-clockwise direction. Once you’ve gotten up enough speed, set down the fork and quickly crack the egg into the middle of the whirlpool you’ve created. Now just watch. Seriously. Magic is happening. Cook for 4 minutes.

    Place finished egg on top of the asparagus, and pile on a generous handful of charred onions/garlic.

  2. Spring Panzanella


    Life has a funny way of bringing things into our lives that tote a particular message just when we need it most. Last week I was sitting in a waiting room after a particularly tumultuous morning and picked up an old issue of O Magazine and opened it at a random page where “The Journey,” a poem by Mary Oliver was highlighted:

    One day you finally knew / what you had to do, and began, / though the voices around you / kept shouting their bad advice / though the whole house / began to tremble / and you felt the old tug / at your ankles. / “Mend my life!” / each voice cried. / But you didn’t stop. / You knew what you had to do, / though the wind pried / with its stiff fingers / at the very foundations, / though their melancholy was terrible.

    It was already late enough,  / and a wild night, / and the road full of fallen branches and stones. / But little by little, / as you left their voices behind, / the stars began to burn / through the sheets of clouds, / and there was a new voice which you slowly recognized as your own, / that kept you company / as you strode deeper and deeper / into the world, / determined to do the only thing you could do / determined to save the only life you could save.

    I could have melted right out of my seat. Mary’s wise words snuck into my day and gave me the boost of energy and confidence I desperately needed to stay the course.

    The gift was unexpected, as they often are. Rarely do signs appear with big flashing lights to guide or comfort us in difficult times. Inspiration surrounds us at every moment, gently whispering and nudging us in the right direction – half the time, we’re just too busy or distracted to even notice. Direction and guidance lie tucked in the innuendo; the passing smile of a stranger, old songs on the radio… little reminders that we are not alone and that it’s all okay.

    It is our work to practice mindfulness and give ourselves permission to spend time just noticing. When we stop to simply notice, our busy and anxious minds are forced to the sideline and our intuitions get a chance to shine. The little signs around us end up only pointing to what we already instinctively knew.

    Spring is the perfect season to practice the art of noticing all the beauty and wisdom the world has to offer us. The winds are shifting, the flowers are blooming, and the markets are bursting with fresh and invigorating vegetables that help keep a lightness about our days. The delicate bounties in our CSA box inspired a spring Panzanella based on Erin’s at Fresh365, but with produce this good my version ended up more like a big salad with extra croutons. The ingredient list may feel long, but hang with me.

    Spring Panzanella

    • ½ loaf of bread, cut into 1” cubes
    • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
    • salt and pepper to taste
    • 2 leeks, sliced thin
    • 1 small bunch of asparagus, cut to 1” pieces
    • ¼ cup red onion, chopped
    • 2 small fennel bulbs, cut thin with a mandoline
    • 1 cup onion sprouts
    • 1 carton cherry tomatoes, halved
    • 1 cup spring peas, halved
    • 2-3 cups rocket, or arugula
    • ¼ cup fresh mint, chopped
    • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
    • 1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and tossed with lemon
    • 1/3 cup olive oil
    • ¼ cup white wine vinegar
    • juice of ½ lemon

    Toss bread cubes in olive oil and generous amounts of salt, and pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet and toss in the oven at 400’ for 10 minutes. Switch the oven to broil, and toast on one side for 2 minutes. Shake the pan to turn the cubes and broil until golden brown and crispy. Set to the side.

    In a small pan, bring 3-4 cups of water to boil and cook asparagus for no longer than 2 minutes. Remove from heat immediately and immerse in cold water to stop cooking. In a large bowl, combine the leeks, red onion, mint, basil, fennel, tomatoes, sprouts, and spring peas, toss with a splash of oil and vinegar, then add the rocket/arugula and cooled asparagus. Toss with the additional dressing, garbanzo beans, and bread cubes. Season with a bit of lemon juice, salt and pepper.

  3. Roasted Asparagus Soup


    Spring is just around the corner and all the bounties of the season are already starting to burgeon around San Diego. This Saturday precedes the Spring Equinox which makes this weekend an ideal time to come out of winter hibernation and hit the reset button on your body through your yoga practice, exercise routine, work, school, relationships, and your diet. I will miss acorn squash, cauliflower, and kale… but look at all the great friends we get to enjoy in the coming weeks:

    Apricots, Artichokes, Arugula, Asparagus, Beets, Chard, Cherries, Dandelion greens, Fava Beans, Fennel, Fiddleheads, Garlic Scapes, Grapefruit, Green Onions, Greens, Kiwis, Leeks, Lemons, Lettuce, Mint, Morels, Nettles, Parsley, Pea Greens, Radishes, Rhubarb, Spinach, Strawberries, Turnips, Watercress.

    Doesn’t that list just make you feel lighter, happier, sunnier? Spring is the ideal time to increase amounts of fresh enzyme-rich vegetables and herbs in the diet that bring renewed strength and vitality to the body. Stagnant energies from winter are ready to melt away and push us forward into a season of fresh ideas, behaviors or  journeys. Let’s take advantage of all these amazing foods as tonics for our tired cognitive, digestive, AND immune systems!

    This recipe capitalizes on Asparagus, one of everyone’s favorite springtime veggies. I plucked the idea for Roasted Asparagus Soup straight from one of my all time favorite cookbooks One Bite at a Time: Nourishing Recipes for Cancer Survivors and Their Friends by Rebecca Katz. I love how Rebecca combines the science of healing foods with genuine compassion and grace for nourishing the whole person. Her recipes capture the essence of nutrition by focusing on down-to-earth ingredients and methods that produce no-fail, satisfying, and tasty results. Whether or not you or your family is affected by cancer, these recipes help create the inhospitable environment for cell mutation and cancer growth that all can and will benefit from.

    Here’s what you’ll need:

    • 2 lbs asparagus
    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • ¼ tsp salt
    • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
    • 2 leeks (white part only) chopped
    • 1 cup peeled/diced Yukon gold potatoes
    • 1 tbsp shallot, diced
    • 2 cloves garlic, minced
    • 8 cups Magic Mineral Broth (see book) or low sodium veg. broth
    • Freshly grated nutmeg, for garnish

    Preheat oven to 425’

    Wash the asparagus, snap off the tough ends of the stalk and line up in a single layer on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil and salt. Roast for about 10 minutes. Heat remaining olive oil in large pot over medium heat. Add onions, leeks, and salt. Sauté for 3-5 minutes, then add potatoes, onions, and garlic. Sauté for another 3 minutes, and as the contents start to stick to the bottom of the pan, add one cup of stock and reduce the liquid by half. Add the rest of the stock and simmer for 5-10 minutes. In batches, puree the soup in a blender, adding the liquid first, and then the roasted asparagus stalks. Blend until smooth. (The instructions now explain to strain the soup through a chinois or fine-mesh strainer, but I didn’t have either one and still enjoyed a more “pulpy” version of the soup). Garnish with grated nutmeg, and enjoy immediately.

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I wish I could make coffee dates with you all. In the meantime, feel free to drop me a line with questions, comments, concerns, or just to say Hi. I like that. There is nothing more uplifting than an email from a a fresh contact or kindred spirit.

I can be reached through this contact form and at happyolks [at] gmail [dot] com.