This may well be the first time I try to discuss a cooking project here at WillOaks Studio. A very special convergence yesterday made for a wonderful experiment...which makes a good little story. A delicious story, actually....and since I barely cook...well, bear with me.
Of course, it all starts at the asparagus patch and this is where Mariah spends a lot of time. Not because she likes asparagus, but because her catnip happens to be right next to it. The patch itself, you can see, is under a fresh new coat of wood chip mulch added this Spring.
Now did I bother to take a photo of the spears peeking their little heads out of the ground? Oops, no, I forgot. But here you can spy the buds of Coral Bells (Heuchera variety) and although they are red...it tickles me how they look a bit like tiny asparagus peeking up. (BTW, they will bloom soon and then the Hummingbirds will arrive!!)
But back to asparagus and what the heck I was up to here. You can see it was quite a bounty harvested today! Here the spears are all nicely washed and trimmed and are draining in the colander.
So the purpose of this cooking experiment? A dinner party for the girls. A dear friend of ours, Cathy, is just about to move to Canada. Our little girls group is going to miss her terribly...so before I gave this much thought, I was on the phone Monday morning with a "come on over for supper....I've got tons of fresh asparagus....and a new idea for how to cook them." My three friends were all game and this was our send-off for Cathy.....
Frankly, asparagus alone does not a meal make. Well, maybe if it's a cream soup, but not this meal. I happened to have a bag of frozen shrimp handy, and since I was aiming for an oven baked meal here, I decided we would up the ante and see what happened if we baked both the shrimp and the asparagus!
So both piles of food were washed and dried, and then, I made a mixture of half melted butter and half olive oil with just a touch of garlic, onion and fresh ground black pepper. I dipped each spear and each tail in that mixture, arranged them on the oiled sheets, and lightly sprinkled them with sea salt. The oven was high--425 F....
...and the spears went in first. Here's a peek through the oven window. About 15 minutes into it, the pan of shrimps was added for a grand total of perhaps 10 minutes more, then both pans were removed from the oven. I had a nice bowl of brown rice seasoned with a bit of wild rice on the side, and put a scoop of each of these three things on each plate to serve. Screwed up again because in my excitement to serve the supper, I totally forgot to take a photo of these pretty trays as they came out of the oven and the pretty plate arrangements....oh well....
....here's the dab of leftovers after everyone had their fill!! The thing about asparagus season is I truly get sick of the vegetable after just a couple times of steaming and eating them in the "normal way." This oven roasted version was amazing!! Much more interesting and a recipe I will surely repeat several more times as I harvest this season of asparagus from WillOaks Farm!!
Oh, and the girls all liked it very much, too!! I almost felt like a real chef...which was a very strange sensation! And just in case you get the wrong impression that we were only eating sort of healthy food? Linda brought a big Red Velvet cake for dessert!!
Bye bye, Cathy...we'll miss you!!