Gushing again about Spring’s beauty, I am so excited to have picked the first asparagus of 2014 from my garden. It is truly the crowning glory of the season and when fresh, it requires little preparation to highlight its goodness. The earliest, most tender stalks are a beautiful apple green with purple-tinged tips. When newly born it has a taste that is like no other. It is popular to smother it in sauce such as Hollandaise or something cheese based but I prefer to keep it simple. so its natural flavor takes center stage. A light steam to crisp-tender, a drizzle of fine extra-virgin olive oil and a sprinkling of flaked sea salt (such as, Maldon) is perfection. I also love to serve it with egg. Perhaps it is the symbolism of the egg and the rebirth of nature that makes this a memorable combination. Think quiche, pasta carbonara, frittata, or adding it to a your morning scramble, it’s all good. Recently I added a poached egg and it was delightful. The richness of the egg makes a perfect marriage with the brightness of this seasonal vegetable.
Just a little sideline, I cannot help but get so excited at the sight of farm fresh eggs (click here to read more).
They are said to be a super food, among the most nutritious on our planet, containing a little bit of every nutrient we need. I love pairing them with other favorites.
“What is food to one, is to others bitter poison.”
Another of the season’s delight is a wild vegetable that many consider nothing but a menace. Long prized for their health benefits, this rather bitter green, the dandelion, is less stringent and most tender when foraged in early spring before the plant flowers. Pick leaves from an area that has not been sprayed and is not polluted by car exhaust. One of the fondest memories of my childhood is my father picking these leaves and creating a simple but delicious salad. His method was dressing them (after carefully washing and drying) with a simple vinaigrette (3 parts good quality extra-virgin olive oil, 1 part red wine vinegar, 1t Dijon mustard, seasoned with salt and pepper) and adding hard-cooked egg. Uncomplicated and so pleasing to the palate I feel compelled to recreate this every year. A favorite of mine and my siblings, it transports me to those earlier years when we gathered around the dinner table. By the way, these greens can also be sautéed and used in any application where you might use arugula, escarole or endive.
She was such a dominate force in our family and I credit her for much of who I am and what I know today. She loved cooking and expressing her love through food, instilling this in all of us. She insisted on daily family meals and holidays always meant a feast. Tirelessly, she raised us (seven in all) and taught us how to be a family. She cared for those less fortunate by feeding homeless strangers that would periodically knock on our back door, giving them food made with the same care as she gave to us. She and my father believed if they fed the hungry their family would be always blessed with enough to eat…and that we were. We all miss her greatly but her spirit lives on in us.
“Food always tastes better when it’s prepared by someone else.”
Wishing all the mothers out there a day of love and pampering. May your loved ones express their gratitude for everything you have given. Hopefully they will give back a little by cooking for you and spreading the love, one dish at a time. I know as a mother it is a difficult job but I also know in my heart by giving love to your children and grandchildren you make the world a better place. Thank you for your contribution. With gratitude, Jeanne