Category Magazines

Asparagus and other Delights of Spring

Our lilac is blooming. A small basil plant has taken up temporary residence in a sunny spot on our kitchen island, waiting until it is warm enough to move outside. And it’s raining.¬† In other words, spring is here!

The season brings fresh peas, fava beans, and fiddlehead ferns. It also brings recipes for asparagus. Every magazine, newspaper and cooking blog seems to be offering its take on the quirky vegetable. (I guess asparagus is to May what turkey is to November!)

Over at The New York Times’ Sunday Magazine, Mark Bittman recently offered a dozen recipes, with options for steaming, roasting, grilling, and stir-frying. Some of his suggestions seem worth trying — steamed asparagus served with home-made aioli or a fried egg, for instance, or asparagus roasted with carrots and drizzled with soy sauce. But none of the twelve feel substantial enough to be the main course of a vegetarian meal.

Deb, the cook and writer behind the lovely blog Smitten Kitchen, has a recipe for Ribboned Asparagus Salad, and I’m dying to try it. The salad isn’t main course material, but she also offers a recipe for Shaved Asparagus Pizza — a dish The Professor will be sitting down to soon.

Over at food52, a recipe for Absurdly Addictive Asparagus rose to the top of the site’s Your Best Asparagus Recipe competition. The recipe calls for cubed pancetta, though I’m going to try a vegetarian version.

Do you have a favorite asparagus recipe? If so, send it to me. In the meantime, I’ll be cooking up Deb’s asparagus pizza and will let you know what The Professor thinks of it.

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Vegetarian Times

Vegetarian Times bills itself as a healthy food and lifestyle magazine and boasts “the world’s largest collection of vegetarian recipes.” I’d never read it, in part because just as my Mom didn’t use vegetarian cook books, she didn’t read vegetarian magazines. The food mag around the house when I was growing up was Gourmet. But on a recent trip through the check-out aisle at Whole Foods,¬† curiosity got the best of me and I bought the March issue of Vegetarian Times.

I flipped through the issue a couple of times over the weekend and found it disappointing. A few recipes seemed worth trying: a curried chickpea and greens soup, for instance. But with two possible exceptions — Black Bean and Edamame Sliders¬† and a Cuban Black Bean and Potato Soup — none of the recipes could work as the anchor dish of a vegetarian meal for The Professor. As tasty side dishes or first courses, sure. But none of the recipes seemed to have the heft that a main course requires. They all seemed too, well, vegetarian. A medley of grilled vegetables served over wheat berries? I can see The Professor’s eye brow raising as I type!

As a former magazine editor, I know that each issue is different from the last, so I’ll browse the Vegetarian Times Web site before writing it off entirely.