You know something is up when the highlight of your meal is not dessert, but rather the vegetable. And you further know something is up when all you have to do is add some olive oil and sea salt to make said vegetable so memorable.
What’s my secret?
Well! Lucky lucky me has a boyfriend who has a nice family who has a really nice garden. And even more lucky, we get to take home all sorts of goodies from said garden when we go to visit them in Massachusetts. I don’t know if many of you get to experience fresh, just-plucked-from-the-dirt garden veggies…I have always been lucky (again! I’m very lucky apparently) to have extremely good gardeners around who generously share their harvests. Even my Mom, with her notorious “black thumb”, comes up with the occasional home-grown tomatoes. The difference between these gems and the sad produce sitting on grocery store shelves is astounding. Seriously. One bite of anything home-garden grown and you will be a CSA/garden/farmers-market/organic convert, fo’life.
H asked me to cook the asparagus his dad had given us to take home tonight, so after a quick jaunt to the grocery store for some salmon, I opened up the crisper to get out the asparagi…and nearly died.
Because unbeknownst to me, H’s dad had not given us simply regular asparagus, oh no. He had given us the most incredible, MUTANT (in a good way), asparagus-on-steriods I’ve ever seen. I am not kidding.
I know what you’re thinking. “Mary, you’re a whacko. It’s nice and stuff but it’s not blowing my hair back.”
And to you I say, take a second gander.
THAT ASPARAGUS. IS THE SIZE. OF A WINE BOTTLE. I wasn’t planning on blogging tonight, but come on…you can’t pass something like this up.
Also, on a side note, what are your thoughts on this photograph? I may or may not have (I did) purchase a fancy iPhone app that takes old-timey photos. Yes? No? Lame? Artsy?
Anyway. The asparagus, you guys. Please…just gaze in awe.
I didn’t want to do much to these, lest I tarnish the pure asparagusness of them. So I tossed them in olive oil, salt and pep, with a dash of garlic powder, and grilled ‘em in the grill pan.
The giant mother-of-all-asparagus (above) obviously took a little longer to cook than it’s smaller but still delish brothers and sisters, but oh my. It was worth the wait.
Oh yeah, I also made some salmon.
Rosemary & Lemon Salmon (again ‘en papillote’ which is my new fave way of cooking fish)
- 1 lemon, sliced
- 1 medium sized salmon fillet
- 2-3 Springs of fresh Rosemary
- drizzle of Olive Oil
- Splash of white wine
This is so easy it’s hardly a recipe:
- cover salmon with slices of lemon and rosemary
- Drizzle with olive oil and splash with white wine
- Wrap it up in parchment paper, seal tight, bake for 15-30 minutes.
It was simple and, according to H, “one of my better meals,” which just goes to show you that it’s all about ingredients. Fancy cooking doesn’t hold a candle to fresh ingredients.
And for my last trick, I actually attempted dessert. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth (I have a ‘salt tooth’, actually), but today I found a recipe that I just couldn’t resist (um, because it has the word SALTED in the title). I got it from the website “Sarah’s Cucina Bella” which is adorable and girlie and oh, also has some ridiculous recipes.
I can’t take one once of credit for these bars. Just trust me. They are TO DIE FOR. If you like that sweet/salty thing. Which, if you don’t, I don’t want to be your friend.
Let’s see if I can figure out how to link it…
Success! It really is worth a visit. Go.
H’s Dad also gave us a big bunch of rhubarb and a big bucket of freshly dug Duxbury Bay littleneck clams. Yeah, I know. Going up there is like going to the world’s best FREE farmer’s market.
Confession time: I don’t think I’ve ever eaten rhubarb. Not in a pie, not in a chutney, not in anything. Guess there’s a first time for everything. Pie intimidates me, but I do have some other ideas in the works…
And as for the clams, I’d tell you what I’m doing with them, but H’s Dad told me I would be excommunicated if I broke his super-secret baked clams recipe to the world. So, sorry. None for you.