Wednesday, April 28, 2010

I cuss, you cuss, we all cuss for asparagus.

asparagus soup

Suddenly asparagus is everywhere, and rightfully so. Asparagus is delicious and easy to cook. Sure, as a child I may have called it "braided worms", but I have come around. Now I love it barbecued, broiled, steamed, or made into fantastic soups like this one.

I was at my final Master Gardeners' lecture last night (lectures from master gardeners, not for master gardeners. I've got years to go before I can claim that title) and the lecturer posed the question, do we really need asparagus available fifty two weeks a year? No. No we do not. Part of the romance of asparagus is the fact that it tastes best when in season and that season is fleeting. I have also been told that its deliciousness decreases quite quickly once it's picked, so always eat your asparagus as soon as you buy it if you want to reap the full benefits of its excellence.

And, because I did not take enough photos while making this particular soup, please enjoy this photo of four of our five pets all occupying the same bed. You're welcome.

four corners

Asparagus Soup

1 bunch of asparagus
1 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, chopped
2 bay leaves
4 cups soup stock
1 tsp dill
1 tsp tarragon
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
salt and pepper to taste

Chop asparagus into 1 inch pieces. Steam these until they are bright green and slightly tender (about 3 minutes).

Heat olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until onions are tender.

Add potatoes, celery, and bay leaves, stir to combine, cover pot, and let cook for five minutes.

Add stock, dill, and tarragon. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat slightly and let simmer until all vegetables are tender. You should be able to easily mash the potato against the side of the pot with a fork.

Add aspargus and nutritional yeast. Let cook for five more minutes.

Blend soup using an immersion blender or by transferring it in batches to your blender or food processor. If soup is too think, thin it with water or unsweetened soy milk.

Season with salt and pepper.

Makes four servings.

soup and sandwich

Some Notes:

-I'm not the only one making asparagus soup this week. Check out Haymarket8's version over at The Life.

-When you are adding celery to a pureed soup, make sure you chop up the celery into very small bits. Otherwise you will end up with stringy soup. This tip brought to you by an ex-boyfriend of mine who used to work in a kitchen. One night I made stringy soup for dinner and he quite diplomatically explained to me why it turned out that way.

-My first volunteer shift at the Hope Garden was slightly overwhelming but mostly just wildly interesting. The garden is giant and it is part of an even gianter allotment. It was so cool to see what people do with their plots and to watch the people who have been gardening there for years interact with each other. The Hope Garden plot is actually right next to the plot of the master gardener who provided last night's lecture on vegetable growing. I am excited to be in such good company.


This Time Last Year: Tomato Lentil Soup and Flatbread


Keri - I Eat Trees said...

Yum, sounds delicious! Love the pets! haha

The Ordinary Vegetarian said...

Thanks for the giggle-worthy pet pic. And you must have read my mind, just this morning I was thinking about how I'd like to make a creamy pureed asparagus soup soon and dreaming up how I would do that. Dream no more! I think I'll go with your version ;)

The Voracious Vegan said...

I LOVE asparagus but it is most definitely not available year round over here, in fact, it is almost never available, even during the spring and summer. And when it is...well, let's just say the specimens we get are far from pretty.

Your soup looks delicious, I love that mellow green color and I wish I had a pot of it simmering away on my stove right now.

Your bed looks like my bed, most of the time! A whole herd of silly dingos cuddled up.

Trinity (of haiku tofu) said...

That soup looks cussin' great. I thought I was going overboard with my three dogs, but I guess in veganworld, I am quite normal.

Veg is Sexy said...

I HAVE to make that soup, it looks amazing!

VivaciousVegan said...

First off love the pets on your bed, it looks like mine...except yours is made. Secondly I think your soup rocks!

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Keri: Thanks! And thank you from the pets.

OV: let me know how it turns out!

VV: I guess you aren't exactly in the prime climate for asparagus growing! Maybe that's why I never really got to eat it as a kid!

Trinity: I saw a woman walking three dogs this weekend and when I told her I had three as well she said, "People think we're crazy!" Not crazy just, uh, soft hearted. :)

Veg is Sexy: Go for it! Now's the time!

VV: It was a fluke that the bed was made. It doesn't always work out that way. :)

Jacqueline said...

Oh my, where do you sleep?

Pearl said...

love the pet pic too.

a nice thing to whiz into asparagus soup is any avocado you have around.

bitt of raw said...

i love your dog and cat pic! i have one of those too, pretty rare to get all 4 at once.

is that a bubbies pickle?

Jennifer (It Ain't Meat, Babe) said...

Jacqueline: For that very reason we have a king sized bed. Since only the little dog and the cats like to sleep on the bed WITH the humans, we all have room... most of the time.

Pearl: I'll try the avocado next time!

Bitt: It IS rare! Luckily I had my camera at hand. And no, not bubbies pickles, but they are similar!

Panya said...

Whenever I use celery for cooking, I always slice it super thin on a mandoline first. All your favorite celery taste, none of the strings!

viciousveggies said...

Well played! Think i'll have to try this out this weekend. Also, excellent note regarding the celery - something I'd never considered, for whatever reason.