Brad’s Asparagus


I've been craving beauty since the day I was born. There are weeks, like this one, where the hunger is deeper and greater than others, where the longing is more acute and harder to ignore, but it's always been there. I want sunsets and thriving gardens and people who are open-handed with what they own. I long for redemptive stories, I want to listen to truth-telling music,  I read words like these, over and over, wondering how to live them. If we all feel this longing, like I think we all do, then it's probably true we feel it in different forms: I, in the ways above, or in making a meal, seeing vegetables turned to withered stalks of dinner, covered in blistered almonds and bits of garlic---order out of chaos. You, in ways peculiar to you. Does the look of a fresh vegetable, like a simple asparagus stalk, ever take your breath away? It does mine. Sometimes it hits that part of my heart that is ever longing, ever thirsting for something that I know to want and yet don't know why. And … [Read more...]

Cheeseless Crustless Quiche (Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free)


There are recipes you make because you like the way they taste (chicken pot pie, carrot risotto, thin and chewy pizza crust); there are recipes you make because you're trying to show love (hot chocolate cookies, homemade cheesecake, soft and chewy salted caramel); and then, also, there are recipes you make for another reason, one not unlike the reason to get a new job or start a garden or build all your furniture yourself: Because you didn't think you could. Maybe this is how climbers feel about new mountains, or runners, about setting a new pace. When my brother says he wants adventure, and we end up at the top of the Arcadia National Forest in Maine, maybe this is why. Because the thing about a challenge or, more specifically, about meeting one, is that it makes you feel powerful, like you can do things. And when we defeat something we didn't think we could, we learn to be less afraid. In a 2008 CNN article titled "The Spirit of ... Adventure," Brigid Delaney … [Read more...]

for the second time

The first time I made an asparagus salad, it was with walnuts and dates and pecorino cheese. My friend Jackie was over, and we were trying a new recipe. And because Jackie's always been a good sport about trying new things, including but not limited to kale chips, roasted broccoli, blackened salmon (which sadly, I have yet to post here because although it was perfection! I didn't get any good pictures), sole amandine, cookies, cakes, even hummus scooped straight out of the container, slathered on wheat crackers from Trader Joe's, it might not seem so significant to tell you she loved that salad. But we both did. Looking back, I have no idea what else we ate that day, but the asparagus salad? That I remember perfectly, especially how much I looked forward to eating it for the few days it lasted after. Even remembering it now makes me want to run out for some dates and pecornio, so that's why the next thing I have to say is so strange: despite how much we both loved that … [Read more...]

for this time of year (cream of asparagus)

A couple Octobers ago, surrounded by golden maple leaves and whistling breezes and the smell of bonfires in barely twilight, I was walking out to my car with a guy from my Travel Writing class. Inhaling deeply, smiling while I did, I kept telling him, in probably five different ways, how much I loved it all---the season's smells, its temperatures, how the leaves revealed their true colors, hidden from us the rest of the year. He listened, pretty politely I think, and then, when I'd reached a stopping point, he started talking about spring. I remember how his face changed, how his voice raised when he said green---all the different shades of green! the leaves and the grass and the trees! the newness of it all! I have to say, while I've always been an autumn girl: he got me thinking. And a few months later, when the spring he'd been waiting for arrived, I saw it with his eyes. … [Read more...]

trust me on this

As far as vegetables go, asparagus is really something: tall, peaked in pretty tips, stalks cast in deep shades of green, with knobby dark-purple bumps along the sides shaped in tiny triangles. It has no fat or cholesterol, few calories, little sodium, as well as lots of potassium, folic acid, vitamins A & C and fiber. Plus, this time of year it’s just finishing up its two-month-long season, meaning it’s still pretty easy to find at your supermarket. Of course, just because it’s available doesn’t mean it’s fresh---a lesson I learned all too well on Saturday when I pulled out the bunch I’d grabbed the night before and, gasping, extended my arm as far away as possible from my face, hoping to minimize the oh-my-gosh-what-is-it-that-smells-like-death odor assaulting me. A return trip to the store---complete with thorough examining of every remaining bunch of asparagus, conversations with the produce man and the manager, obtainment of two brand-new bunches hidden away in the back … [Read more...]

what I’d hoped for

Saturday, I wanted an omelette. Thing is, I am scared of omelettes. But when I am scared of something, kitchen-wise, it’s usually a good idea to see what Julia Child has to say, and so it was that I turned to Mastering the Art of French Cooking, where detailed, illustrated instructions explain how to master this task, if by nothing else than practicing for days at a time. Among the helpful guidelines were these: 1. Use high heat: This is really important for getting the eggs to cook properly and quickly. 2. Use a non-stick pan: You'll be shaking the pan around a lot, and a non-stick pan keeps the omelette from sticking. 3. Work quickly: Julia says you shouldn't even have your cookbook nearby to double-check with. If you're checking the instructions, you're taking too long. After studying the recipe for a bit, I went to work and in minutes, I’d achieved the very thing I hoped for: a lightly golden fold of eggs, mozzarella and chopped asparagus, firm out the outside … [Read more...]