Sunday, April 29, 2012

Asparagus Season

Spring in western PA brings the coveted asparagus crop. Our patch is well over 20 years old and still producing beautiful, succulent spears of the perennial vegetable. We hand pick it. The spear will snap where tender meets tough. Just trim a smidge off the bottom of the spear and you are good to go. Many people do not appreciate asparagus. My guess is they have not had it prepared correctly. My new favorite way to fix it is roasting the spears with olive oil and sea salt. Set your oven to 400 degrees. Select the thicker spears and align on a parchment lined baking sheet. Drizzle a good olive oil over them and sprinkle with sea salt. Roast for about 10 minutes then roll the spears over and roast some more. I wait until they are slightly browned. You can decide how you like them best.
Asparagus season is spread over about 8 weeks. Usually starting in late April and going thru late May, depending on the weather. It pouts in cold weather but comes back quick with warmer night temperatures.

Monday, January 30, 2012

I cannot believe it has been half a year since my last post. I just don't know where the time went.

My resolution for 2012 is to post at least once a week. So far... I am 4 weeks behind. It's okay, January is not over.

Instead of looking back to catch up, let's just go bravely forward. Through a serious of undercooked and overcooked meals, I was able to purchase a new stove!!! It is a beauty. It has a split oven with one of them being a convection oven. There is a fifth burner in the middle of the stove top that came with a Lodge griddle. So for the last few days, I have been experimenting with all the buttons. I have been baking and cooking every gray day here in western PA. Molly is fussing that she is gaining weight. It's winter, we need the extra insulation.

My favorite drink - Winter or Summer - is iced green tea unsweetened. I would always order one at Starbuck's - one venti iced green tea unsweetened. However, lots of times, it came sweetened. People just have a hard time believing I really don't want or even like the extra sugar. Now that prices have increased everywhere, my favorite drink is over $2.00 per glass. I purchased an iced tea maker at Kmart for $22.49. I found an amazing green tea at Big Lots. Prince of Peace (I love the name) Premium Green Tea comes in box of 100 tea bags for $2.50. It makes a sharp, clean glass of green tea. My new favorite thing to do is to flavor the green tea with Bigelow brand Lemon Lift* tea bags, or Plantation Mint*. Stash brand tea is an excellent tea when you can find it here on the east coast. Stash is based in Portland, Oregon - it would be a great excuse to go to Portland again - just to get some Stash. Unfortunately, a trip to Portland is not in the travel budget this month - or this year for matter. I can just hear my husband now when I announce that I am headed to Portland to get more Stash. I was lucky to find a box of Stash Pomegranate Raspberry green tea at our TJMaxx. Always check the specialty food aisle when you stop in. I have found some fantastic treasures there.

Using the iced tea maker, follow the instructions for water, add 7 Prince of Peace green tea bags, 3 bags of flavored tea to the brew basket. Fill your pitcher with ice and press the start button. In about 5 minutes you have an icy pitcher of refreshing tea. Be sure to squeeze the tea bags into the pitcher and discard. Stir the pitcher well and pour over ice into a tall glass. Enjoy!!!