As we round the corner into the final lap before summer, I wanted to talk briefly about the asparagus, as their stellar appearance will soon be waning in our share boxes. We love the tips, we love the stalks, but what about the woody stems? Most folks snap them off and toss them aside without a second thought. But is this a part of the veggie that could use a little extra loving? But of course!
Recently, we used the woody stems to flavor a stock for our Creamy Spring Soup, and it was absolutely fabulous. Tonight, some of these stems made an appearance in our dinner. Simply peeling the woody stem reveals a tender and delicious middle thats a crunchy and flavorful addition to any salad.
My fellow Springdellians, if you haven’t already, I encourage you to take this journey with me: If you have any asparagus getting used in your house before the season ends, pop the woody stems into a freezer bag and toss them into the freezer. In a couple of months, when the fresh local asparagus falls out of the seasonal rotation and we are missing it, we’ll pull the stems out of the freezer together and I’ll post a recipe for these that will have us yearning for spring. Until then, my lovelies!
So back to today’s meal. Still remaining from my share box are some scrumptious shiitakes, greens and tomatoes.
If you belong to a CSA, chances are the salads are flowing at many a meal! So how does one keep them from getting boring, especially for little ones? I have a few tricks in my repertoire that I’ll share, and hopefully you will have some to share as well!
Firstly, I often leave the salad making to the family. I’ll prepare the veggies and set them up on little plates and in little bowls that make them look yummy. Pre-loading a plate with the greens is helpful for those that might not serve themselves greens (I forgot this tonight and my five year-old made a noodle, strawberry and cheese salad, before I reminded him about the spinach). I can’t blame him, these Springdell beauties are irresistible!
Other crunchy options that usually live in the pantry include sliced almonds, seasoned and dried chickpeas, sunflower and pumpkin seeds, pecans, maple candied walnuts, and the list waxes and wanes. Mason jars are great for keeping things fresh and visible.
Thirdly, I also like to keep a selection of cheeses on hand. Crumbled feta, goat and blue cheeses are the usual suspects, but it’s great to keep it interesting with a new addition from time to time.
Tonight we challenged our taste buds with a farmstand cheese from West River Creamery, the “Londonderry”. A mild cheese with a nice crumble to it, it was delicious against the sweetness of the strawberries, the saltiness of the shiitakes, and great on its own. As I tasted it, I just kept thinking that it tastes like… Vermont.Some great varieties from West River often available at the stand include Cambridge, a Farmhouse Jack, and a Firehouse Jack.
So aside from the strawberry noodle cheese salad my five year-old enjoyed, here were some others that we had fun with tonight.
A warm spinach salad with goat cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and strawberries, (all from Springdell).
More warmed spinach with buckwheat noodles, shaved asparagus stems, shiitake bacon and homemade orange ginger dressing.
Lastly, pan fried tomato with Londonderry cheese crumble, and balsamic glaze on top of spring mix.
Salad nights are fun at the Anderson household. Lots of tasting sharing, creating. I truly hope you enjoyed this dinner table ditty. As always, my fellow Springdellians, if you have tips and tricks to share, we love to hear them! Thanks for tuning in!