Last weekend was the first-ever Markel Family Spargelparty!
When I first came across the idea of an asparagus celebration in one of my Duolingo lessons, I think my family thought I was joking when I said it was something we should do this spring. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized I could run with the idea of a meal centered around asparagus…(and it even makes a pretty centerpiece, especially when you have all three colors Eckert’s offers!):
I picked five recipes, all of which were at least somewhat new. There was an asparagus tart, bacon-wrapped asparagus bundles, cream of asparagus soup, asparagus and bacon quiche, and sautéed asparagus with (homemade!) Hollandaise sauce. Many of recipes included lemon, nutmeg, or a combination, and I discovered both are great additions to asparagus dishes. The overwhelming favorite was the soup…it was smooth and delicious.
It was a very spring-y meal!
I offered to incorporate asparagus into our dessert, as well (perhaps an asparagus cheesecake?), but no one took me up on my offer. Instead, I used a mix from Dr. Oetker to make a Käse-Sahne Torte. German Girl in America’s website was very helpful in translating the directions on the box, and I also followed her tips of using plain Greek yogurt instead of the quark, which you can only find around here sometimes, and serving it with fresh strawberries. It was the perfect end to our celebration of spring!
For years I’ve told my children the story of how they ring the church bells in Germany when the asparagus season begins…I’m glad I found a way for us participate in this tradition of celebrating the arrival of spring in a uniquely German way here at home!
Yesterday, we did something new…we went to Eckert’s and picked asparagus!
I was really curious about this whole process. I had no idea how asparagus grew (I figured either in single stems like grass, or in bunches like celery…they grow singly). I also had no idea how you harvest them…do you cut them, or just pull them out of the ground? (They give you a flat spade-like tool with a straight edge that you angle next to the asparagus, and then give it a push through).
It ended up being a beautiful day to be out at the farm…we had a break in the weather, it wasn’t even that muddy, and we really enjoyed the tractor ride (plus our driver was really, really nice!).
I’m so glad we got to have this new experience, and I’m really looking forward to enjoying the, um, fruits of our labor, if you will, when we have our first-ever Markel Family Spargelparty…stay tuned for details!
I almost always serve asparagus with our Easter dinner…this is the best time of year to buy it, and it’s pretty easy to find local asparagus around here at Easter time, which is a bonus. I’ve prepared it different ways in the past, but this is the recipe that I’ve used for the last few years, because it’s my very favorite!
1 lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed
2 Tbsp. olive oil
5 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
Melt butter in a skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the olive oil.. Cook garlic in butter for a minute, but do not brown. Add asparagus, and cook for about 10 minutes (less if your asparagus is very thin), turning asparagus to ensure even cooking. Season with salt and pepper.
The Big Country is another amazing creation from Beast…it’s currently tied with the Beefcake for my favorite beef-based sammich. Brisket and burnt ends, smoked bacon, plus brisket gravy (yeah, they do that!), and asparagus fries, which, as far as I could tell, was really just pan-fried asparagus, similar to how I cook it, and was delicious!
I think I’ve made it clear by now that I absolutely love Beast’s burnt ends, and the brisket is also amazing. The brisket gravy was new to me, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Let me just say, it’s delicious. I have to admit that I let the sammich get a bit cold while I was taking pictures of it and doing a few other things, and I think the gravy would have been even better if I had gotten to it before it cooled off, but even at room temperature, it was great. And the asparagus was a great contribution…a nice little taste of spring, plus, you know, it makes the sammich healthy!
As always, I will be anxiously awaiting Beast’s next creation…I don’t how they keep coming up with interesting and unexpected combos that work so well, but they really do!