I've been reading a lot of cooking/homemaking/frugality blogs lately and was inspired to write some of my own.
Does asparagus grow wild where you live? Ask around to some locals... it just might. And it's tremendous fun.
My mom and I spent a couple of hours driving sloooooowly up and down country roads yesterday, every so often calling out "there's some!" and stopping to run out an pick it. We ended up with about 8 pounds of fresh asparagus, and had some great bonding in the meantime. I bribed the girls to be good by putting on a movie in the van and giving them each suckers.
She was busy last night, so I did the work of putting it up to save for later. I froze some and turned some into cream of asparagus soup starter, in addition to refrigerating some for pickling later.
To freeze asparagus, drop spears (one pound at a time, approximately) into boiling water for two minutes (no longer!) Then use tongs to get it out real quick and drop it into a big bowl of ice water to stop the cooking immediately. Then just pat it dry with a tea towel and put it in a bag and into the freezer. Frozen asparagus can be steamed, or you can cook it in just about any recipe.
To steam asparagus over a camp fire or grill:
Wrap asparagus spears in foil with a small pat or two of butter. Cook, turning once, until tender-crisp, about 12 minutes.
The other night I made my cream of asparagus soup. It was delicious and sooooo easy.
1 lb asparagus, chopped into bite sized pieces
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 c. chopped onion
~put those in a covered pot and simmer/steam until soft, about 10 minutes. When they're soft, put them into the blender and process until creamy. (This is the part I made ahead to freeze. Figured I'd only get the blender out once and make four batches.) Set that part aside and...
2Tbsp. whole wheat flour (You could use white. We use whole wheat.)
2 Tbsp butter
~ Melt the butter in the pan (use the same pan, no need to dirty another) and add the flour. Stir constantly for about two minutes. Don't let the flour burn before you add...
1 1/2 cups more chicken broth
2 cloves minced garlic
season salt and pepper to taste
Use a whisk. Keep on stirring until the flour is blended into the broth and it's all nice and smooth. Keep it over medium heat. Then add your asparagus puree and pour in
1 cup milk
3/4 c sour cream
and mix in a scoop of the soup (use a separate bowl for this part). Use your whisk again and stir like crazy till the soup is blended with the sour cream. Then pour all that into the soup, whisk it up till it's nice and smooth, heat til it's hot (don't boil it - there's milk in there) and serve it up.
If you're like me, you'll serve it with a loaf of delicious fresh-baked bread. ;o)
And if you're like me, you'll start the day before by serving roasted chicken to your family for dinner, then cooking the carcass all night long in the crock pot so that you can have two cups of fresh broth for this soup.
If you're not like me, buy a can of broth at the store. I won't tell.
Any way you cook it, y'all should check and see if it grows wild where you are. It's the best stuff ever, especially when it's free.
I felt a little bit like a homesteader last night as I was preparing all kinds of things in the kitchen. In addition to putting up a few months' worth of asparagus, I cooked a pot of Dove Creek Anasazi beans using some of the dried beans I got last fall. They're sort of like baked beans, but healthier and completely from scratch. I used up the last of last year's frozen tomatoes in them. We'll take them camping and serve with brats for dinner. Yum :o)
I baked Applesauce Oatmeal cookies too, because my husband will appreciate them.
And I made dinner amongst all the other cooking that was going on. I was wiped out last night! My kids played happily outdoors (with an EMPTY wading pool... they're odd) for two hours last night, other than one minor accident that resulted in just a few tears. My husband will be home today and we're heading out camping/turkey hunting again this afternoon. Hopefully we'll return with a turkey this time!
I suppose I better stop rambling in my blog and go do something useful.