Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Asparagus City. Population: Lentil Soup.

What? Ok, I am taking liberties with my titles. The asparagus has nothing to do with lentil soup. Nothing at all.  Except for being part of my early morning random train of thought when I was first writing this post.
Maybe I have mentioned-I am ready to eat fresh food. I can really get into the whole winter thing-big heavy meat dishes roasted in the oven, ducks & lamb, pot roasts & whole chickens, curries, the "coming in from the cold Sunday dinner" food that one doesn’t even think about in August. Last year we were a lot better at preserving our garden food than ever before, so all winter there were also little bursts of summer goodness-canned salsa & tomato sauce, green tomato pickles, pickled jalapenos, homemade chili paste & habanero hot sauce.
But now it’s May & I want to taste different things. We are having a rainy spring week, so last night it was back to soup (curried red lentil) & coziness but even my taste in soup is changed as spring progresses- a little less meat (although by no means none! hells no!), more flavor, more brightness. I topped the lentil soup with fried ginger root, herbed goat chevre & arugula pesto, & daydreamed about my future thai basil patch in the garden & when that will be my garnish.
 5.16.2011: Red Lentil Soup.
 A few notes regarding this soup (as this is a food blog after all): Adding the arugula pesto was kind of a crazy idea, but we had some leftover from this meal. We keep ample homemade chicken stock on hand in the freezer (when I roast a chicken I always make stock-chicken fat is a terrible thing to waste), & I personally find that in lentil soup, a good chicken stock is essential. & the fried ginger root-well, I learned a few things from my more than ten years of subscribing to Martha Stewart Living & that lentil soup garnish was one of them. That & the fact that an immersion blender is nice to have on hand when making soup. Thank you, Martha.
So the "food grown in the ground outside relatively near where I live" season is only just beginning. What do we have? Well, here in the Pioneer Valley we do have local Hadley asparagus for a very brief, delightful season, & I realize that forgetting to give it a nod would be a terrible error.
Fresh asparagus is best super simple, so this is more of a celebration than a recipe. Olive oil, garlic, salt & pepper. That is all you need, well a good cast iron skillet helps too.
We had it over pappardelle noodles with cheese. We had it with a fried egg on top. We had it with pumpkin seeds thrown into the mix. We had it with grilled eggplant in a burrito made up from the burrito topping leftovers.
May 2011: Hadley Asparagus Season. 
 What else? The leftover lentil soup made a very good lunch. It is well after 9pm & I have yet to eat my own dinner tonight, so I should think about that. Walt prefers that we NOT eat vegetables, but we do anyway. I like spring rain & am not sick of it yet; I am however sick of people complaining about the rain. IT ALWAYS RAINS A LOT IN MAY HERE. Let it ago. At least the temperature is remaining steadily above 50. This date on various years marks the day of both my parents' birth & of my grandparents wedding anniversary. So May 17th is a pretty cool day.
Some miscellaneous thoughts from EnD. Hey, why have a blog if I can't share this stuff sometimes? Eat your asparagus.

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