Someone once told me that, in any good relationship, there is a gardener and there is a chef. If you have read anything I've written you probably understand that while I can tell you that asparagus is spindly in its first few years, a long time ago, when a friend handed me a butcher knife and said, "Take. Cut. Prepare." I shrugged out a nervous giggle before trying to explain that I wasn't even really sure which end to eat.
Thankfully, now when I am confronted with a new vegetable I have grown but never before prepared I respond with, "You know, someone once told me that, in any good relationship there is a gardener and there is a chef."
I am a single man. A bachelor. And while I have given it many honest attempts, I've only ever had one really successful relationship. I am not proud of this fact, and while I have a number of good friends who CHOOSE TO BELIEVE it was "them" and not "me," I can't help but feel a little guilty for morphing into a total bat when I become involved. But, eventually, when things do come to a close, for better or for worse, I pick myself up, dust myself off and hope that the next attempt will bear much sweeter fruit.
It's important for me to tell you before I go on, that at this moment in the game, I do not go on blind dates and say, "You know, someone once told me ... that in any good relationship, there is a gardener and there is a chef. So, c'mon, quick, which are you?" But I will admit to you, that everytime I meet someone for that nervous first dinner or that awkward first movie, I always sit and think to myself, "I wonder what this person would do ... if I handed them an artichoke."
For the record, I have since learned how to pick and prepare just one asparagus dish. And here, I'm sharing with you, my simple little recipe that any gardener without his chef could easily make. I hope that in return, in the comments section below, you leave a little recipe you think even I might be able to handle.
Photo by Esteban_Cavrico/Courtesy Flickr
The Asparagus Recipe Every Gardener Should Have
• 1 bundle asparagus
• 2 cloves garlic
• Olive oil
1. Pick up a bundle of asparagus with unwrinkled stalks and tight leaf tips. Smell the heads: Good bundles will have a fresh clean smell, while spoiled or aged bundles will have a fishy odor.
2. Take one spear from the bundle and snap off the woody end. (This is usually where the stalk turns from green to white.) Put it back with the rest of the bundle to use as a guide point, and chop the rest of the spears for quick preparation.
3. Lay spears on a cookie sheet and drizzle them with olive oil. Sprinkle chopped garlic cloves, salt and pepper and mix with your hands. Bake at 325 degrees until tender with a fork. Eat and enjoy!
About asparagus: Asparagus enjoys a long herbal history as a plant with plenty of nutritional purpose. It is said to help prevent heart disease, aid the digestive system, re-energize the body, and serve as a low-calorie, healthy source of folate, potassium, vitamin C and beta-carotene. Asparagus also pairs well with tomatoes in companion planting, both preventing eachother's most common pests.
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