Springtime is asparagus time! When I was just a young novice one of my most favorite morning responsibilities was to check the asparagus patch. What a way to start the day! The sight of new spears shooting up through the soil was an absolute delight. Then to calculate how many would reach their full height by the end of the day was a “lifegiving” exercise.
Because their growth is so rapid and so obvious from hour to hour, it is unlike most other growing edibles except perhaps mushrooms. In any case, the sight, as well as the taste, of asparagus still pleases me to no end.
Whether it be out in the garden straight from the soil, whether it be simmered and slightly salted right out of the pot at the stove or topped with hollandaise at the dinner table, I always welcome them.
Now that they are so popular roasted I have come up with this simple version that many people seem to like ……bacon wrapped and roasted with a touch of brown sugar and crispy crumb topping.
- Heat oven to 400º Fahrenheit. In small bowl, mix bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Add parsley, lemon peel; toss well.
- Microwave bacon till fat is melted and the slices are easy to roll around the asparagus.
- Divide asparagus into 4 equal bundles. Loosely wrap each bundle with one slice of bacon. Press brown sugar onto bacon. Press crumbs onto sugared bacon. Place prepared asparagus into shallow baking dish. Brush asparagus tips with oil. Bake uncovered until bacon is crisp – 15”-20”.
Lemon meringue pie has always been my most favorite lemon dessert, but recently I was introduced to another lemon dessert that really rivals it: Lemon Cream Custard Pie. Similar in its fresh tangy flavor, but different in texture and topped with whipped cream instead of meringue. I have only had it once but definitely want it again.
Lemon Cream Custard Pie
- In saucepan, mix sugar, pinch of salt, cornstarch, butter, lemon peel, lemon juice, egg yolks and milk; stir and cook until thick, about 5-10 minutes.
- Fold in sour cream.
- Pour into pastry shell.
- Refrigerate at least 12 hours.
- Serve with sweetened whipped cream.
- Garnish as desired.
I happen to be one of these people who have a natural love for vegetables and never had to be coaxed or made to eat them – I realize that this is not the case with everyone. Just recently I overheard two mothers talking about this. One was telling the other that the only way she can get vegetables into the family diet is to blend them into spaghetti sauce. Of course a good Bolognese sauce already has carrots, onions, and celery in it. I suppose one could slip a little green vegetable in if they were careful not to overdo it.
The other mother maintained that her trick was to always serve them with tasty dips and sauces. I would like to offer another suggestion that works especially well with broccoli, the widely acclaimed miracle food, medically proven to be a nutritional super star. Hidden within each stalk and floweret is a powerful substance effective in lowering cholesterol and preventing cancer and contributing to overall health in general.
Try my Broccoli Bake and see for yourself if you don’t immediately feel stronger, healthier and more satisfied than you ever have after eating this nutrient rich vegetable!
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Beat egg whites until soft peaks form.
- Fold in mayonnaise.
- Stir in cheese, parsley, and lemon peel.
- Arrange cooked broccoli in oven-proof serving dish.
- Pour melted butter over broccoli.
- Top with egg white mixture.
- Sprinkle with paprika.
- Bake 5 minutes or until puffy and lightly browned.