Asparagus and Memories

Asparagus and Memories
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I love spring and one of the first things I remember is our 3 acre asparagus patch. We got up just as dawn was breaking and began the day picking it....dad would hire about 12 highschool students and back and forth we went. I never minded this part of farm life....I did hate the chicken house, collecting the eggs of 5000, and than that dreadful "egg cellar" where we would spend hours and see rats at times!
I loved the outdoors and the gardens. And so that 6 week season was good for me. I remember seeing birds and seeing a red fox at the edge of the woods many mornings...the mulberry tree at the far end of the patch and the wonderful berries it gave! I loved when we sang together as we picked....I remember the sunrise many a morning from the top of the hill.

After picking it had to be sorted and sized and sold. Grocery stores in town took many bunches we made and the rest was sold to restaurants and for women to freeze.

We ate asparagus for breakfast....creamed over toast...and for the main meal. I love this vegetable as long as it does not come from a can. That is so soft and mushy and to me tasteless.

Check here to find the nutrition of asparagus.

http://www.asparagus.org/maab/nutrition.html

Here are a few of my favorite ways to fix it.

ASPARAGUS WITH CHEESE- BACON SAUCE

2 tablespoons Flour

2 tablespoons Butter -- or margarine

1 cup Milk

3/4 cup Grated sharp cheddar

1/4 tablespoon Salt

1/8 tablespoon Pepper

2 slices Bacon -- cooked (my mom also used ham that was diced)

14 Asparagus spears

In heavy saucepan stir flour into melted butter until smooth;cook over low heat 3 minutes ( do not brown ).Add milk; continue cooking over low heat, stirring constantly, until nearly thickened. Add cheese;stir until cheese is melted and sauce is bubbling. Add salt, pepper, nutmeg and crumbled bacon. Serve over hot drained asparagus. 6 servings.

ASPARAGUS WITH HOT BACON DRESSING

2 medium Slices of bacon, finely-chopped

1/2 md Onion, finely chopped

1/4 c Vinegar

1/4 c Water

1/4 ts Salt

2 tsp sugar

1 pound Asparagus, cooked

Brown bacon on cookie sheet in oven until crisp. Drain VERY well. Spray skillet with non stick spray. Saute onion, and cook until tender. Add bacon, and toss lightly. Add vinegar, water, and salt. Bring to boil; remove from heat. Add sugar. Pour dressing over hot asparagus and serve.

In this recipe we would cook the amount of asparagus we needed and add it to the creamed eggs. It is a wonderful meal!

Creamed Eggs

Easter Morning Treat

6 hard-boiled eggs

4 T butter

4 T flour

dash of pepper

2 cups milk

1/3 cup shredded cheese

2 T sherry (optional)

When I was a kid, we used to go hunt Easter eggs out on a freshly mowed lawn with baskets made of the clippings, very early in the morning. When you have all those beautiful colored eggs on Easter morning, here's a delicious way to enjoy them.......

Peel and coarsely chop hard-boiled eggs. Put aside. In heavy large sauce pan melt butter over medium heat; add flour and salt and pepper. Blend well, stirring constantly. After bubbling approx. 1 minute, take off heat and add milk, blending well. Put back on heat and continue to stir until thickening occurs. Add cheese and sherry. Finally, add hard-boiled eggs and heat through. Serve over biscuts, muffins, or toast garnished with parsley and paprika. Wonderful in the Spring served with fresh aspargus drizzled in lemon and ham, or just As IS.

This one came from a chef friend of mine in Naples, Florida. It is a wonderful dish to serve for special people!

Asparagus Pasta

1 lb. fusili pasta (or pasta of your choice)

3 tablespoons olive oil

4 tablespoons sweet butter

10 oz fresh asparagus tips

1 cup pitted black olives, sliced (this can be optional)

1 clove garlic, crushed

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1/2 cup fresh grated parmesan or romano cheese

dashes of salt and pepper, to taste

Cook pasta according to directions. While cooking, melt butter in saute pan over medium high heat. Add asparagus tips and garlic, cook briefly--about 4 minutes. Drain pasta and toss with olive oil. Add asparagus, olives, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Top with freshly grated cheese.

Asparagus-egg Casserole

1/2 c Celery; chopped

1/4 c Butter

1/4 c Flour

1/2 ts Salt

1/2 ts Dry mustard

1 dash Pepper

1 3/4 c Milk

1 ts Chicken bouillon granules

4 oz Mushrooms, chopped; drained

16 oz Asparagus, frozen cut (fresh is better)

3 Egg; hard-cooked, sliced

1/2 c Ritz crackers; crushed (12)

In saucepan cook celery in butter; blend in flour, salt, mustard and pepper. Add milk and bouillon granules. Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Stir in mushrooms; set aside. Cook the frozen asparagus according to package directions; drain thoroughly.

Reserve 1/2 cup asparagus and 1 egg for garnish. In a 10"x6"x2" baking dish arrange remaining asparagus and egg slices. Pour sauce over all. Bake, covered, at 375F for 15 minutes. Arrange reserved asparagus and sliced egg atop casserole; sprinkle with crushed crackers. Bake, uncovered, 10 minutes longer.

This is the last one for now...I love to cook in parchment and my family loves it too. I like to get out the best china and make these. It gives me a good chance to teach my 16 year old good manners and how to try new things and feel good around china and crystal.

Asparagus Dinner Parcels

1 lb. white fish fillets(sole, orange roughy, haddock)

4 tsp. lemon juice

16 medium Ontario asparagus spears, trimmed to 6 inches

1 medium tomato, seeded and chopped

2 green onions sliced

2 tbsp. chopped fresh dill, cilantro or taragon (or 2 tsp. dried dill weed or tarragon)

salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400F (200C). Cut four 12 x 13 inch rectangles of parchment paper (foil may be substituted if cooking in a conventional oven). Fold in half lengthwise and crease. Open each one. Arrange fish fillets on one side of each rectangle. Drizzle evenly with lemon juice. Place four asparagus spears on top of each fillet. Sprinkle tomato, onion and herbs evenly over asparagus. Season with salt and pepper. Fold other half of paper over. Seal completely by making a double 1/2 inch fold on all cut edges. Place parcels on a baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven about 10 minutes or until fish flakes and asparagus is crisp-tender. (If using parchment paper you can microwave on full power 9 to 10 minutes. Allow to stand 5 minutes). Serve on individual plates. Serves four. Prep. time 10 minutes. Baking time 10 minutes.


More of Donna's Recipes

Tea Time recipes!

Saffron recipes

Dandelion Salad and more

 

About The Author

Donna had the privilege of growing up in a Mennonite family in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. She is married and lives in Georgia. Donna has 3 children and 3 grandchildren. She also writes a Column called Cooking with Don, which you can sign up for here and another list called Sites for Learning
 
 

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