Asparagus 101: How to Choose, Prepare and Enjoy

Get ready to take notes, class is in session! Gina Ferwerda, Resort Owner & Food Blogger, gives us a lesson in Asparagus 101!

What to look for when purchasing fresh asparagus~

– firm spears, they should not bend

– closed, compact tips

How to store fresh asparagus~

– keep asparagus cold (DO NOT leave on kitchen counter at room temperature)

– store spears upright in a jar with some water at the bottom

– lightly tent with a paper bag that is breathable (asparagus has a high respiration rate so you don’t want to trap moisture in the spears)

Cooking Tips from Michigan Asparagus http://www.michiganasparagus.org/cookingtips/

National Asparagus Festival:

This weekend, June 9, 10 & 11th in Oceana County. It’s a great road trip up north, about 5 hours away. Tons of activities for the whole family at the Asparagus Festival and over 3,000-acres of sand dunes nearby. Great family getaway!

http://www.nationalasparagusfestival.org

ANCHO CHILE ASPARAGUS GUACAMOLE

INGREDIENTS:

1 pound Michigan asparagus, chopped and steamed

1 avocado, peeled and seeded

1 garlic clove

3 tablespoons green pepper Tabasco sauce (or 1 small jalapeño, de-seeded)

1/4 cup cilantro leaves

1/4 teaspoon ancho chile powder

1 teaspoon celery salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

1 teaspoon cumin

Juice of 1 lime

2 tablespoons red onion, minced

1/2 cup roma tomatoes, diced

PREPARATION:

Add all of the ingredients, except for the onions and tomatoes, to a food processor and pulse until thoroughly combined. Transfer to a bowl and gently fold in the onions and tomatoes. Serve with tortilla chips.

BLUE CHEESE RIMMED BLOODY MARY-TINI with Pickled Asparagus

2 ounces vodka

1 ounce dry vermouth

3 ounces bloody mary mix

½ ounce pickled asparagus juice

¼ teaspoon horseradish

⅛ teaspoon celery salt

1 tablespoon blue cheese crumbles

Splash of milk or cream

Garnish

Celery

Pickled asparagus

Blue cheese olives

Add 2 ice cubes to a martini shaker. Next add vodka, vermouth, bloody mary mix, pickled asparagus juice, horseradish and celery salt. Shake well and set aside.

In a small bowl, combine blue cheese crumbles and a splash of milk or cream, then add a thin layer of the blue cheese mixture to the inside rim of a martini glass. Pour the bloody mary mixture into the glass. Skewer optional garnishes and add to the glass.

Soba Noodle Asparagus Chicken Satay

INGREDIENTS-

For the peanut sauce:

2 tablespoons peanut butter powder

4 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons rice wine vinegar

1 teaspoon garlic paste

1 teaspoon ginger paste

2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil

1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into cubes

Skewers (if using wooden skewers, soak in water for 30 minutes prior to grilling)

For noodles:

12 ounces soba noodles

1 cup red cabbage, thinly sliced

1 cup fresh asparagus, cut into bite size pieces

1/2 cup leeks, washed and thinly sliced

1 cup bell peppers, thinly sliced

PREPARATION-

In a small bowl, add peanut butter powder, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and sesame oil. Whisk together and set aside.

Add chicken to a large, resealable bag and pour 2 tablespoons of the peanut sauce over chicken. Seal bag and refrigerate for at least 10 minutes.

Add water to a large pot over high heat and bring to a boil. When water is boiling, add soba noodles, cabbage, asparagus, leeks and peppers. Bring back to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low and cook for 3 minutes. Drain and set aside.

Remove chicken from bag and discard used marinade. Thread chicken onto skewers and grill over medium-high heat for 3-4 minutes each side or until done. (Grill outdoors or indoors on a cooktop.)

Heat the remaining peanut sauce over medium low heat until hot and add the noodles and veggie mixture back to pot and lightly toss together.

Add soba noodle mixture to plates and top with chicken skewers. Enjoy!

Optional garnishings-

Like it spicy? Add some sriracha or red pepper flakes to this dish-

Need some fruit? Add some mandarin oranges while plating this dish-

Need some fresh herbs? Top with chives at the end-

Need it over-the-top decadent? Add some blue cheese crumbles at the end (this is how I like it)-

Substitutions:

Want to make this dish into a burger? I have Soba Noodle Bun Burger recipe that uses the soba noodles as the bun. It’s similar to the ramen bun burger that was so popular a few years ago. And the burger is gluten and dairy free.

Full fat recipe – use chicken thighs and regular peanut butter

Low fat recipe – use chicken breasts and peanut butter powder

Gluten free recipe – use coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and make sure soba noodles are 100% buckwheat noodles and have no wheat fillers.

Vegetarian recipe – use tofu or mushrooms instead of chicken

Vegan recipe – use tofu or mushrooms instead of chicken and coconut aminos instead of soy sauce

Dairy free – this recipe is dairy free

To learn more, visit:

Resort Owner – www.SilverLakeTV.com (View live web cam of the Silver Lake Sand Dunes)

Food & Travel Blogger  www.NomNews.com

Facebook – www.facebook.com/NomNews

On Instagram & Twitter @ginaferwerda