Asparagus is awesome. Don’t you agree? I think it may be the most elegant vegetable out there. I feel fancy when I serve it and sophisticated when I eat it. And, bonus, it’s good for you, too!
When we planned our first garden last spring we knew we wanted to grow asparagus even after we discovered that our first harvest would be about a year away. Asparagus is unique among the other items we chose in that it is perennial and uses its own stored energy to grow. We planted one year old crowns, instead of seeds, to give ourselves a head start on the growing process since it takes two years for plants to yield their first crop. You can read more about how asparagus convert energy into new shoots here.
A couple weeks ago when the first new shoots sprung up in our asparagus bed we were ecstatic. We ate asparagus and eggs that first morning. It was the best asparagus I’ve ever eaten. There is nothing more satisfying than eating food grown under the care of your own hands. This year’s harvest was not very large (as was to be expected), but it gave us a taste of what is to come for the next twenty or so years (asparagus live forever!).
Even if you don’t have fresh asparagus springing up in your own garden right now, be sure to pick some up at the store or market while it’s in season. Done up in the skillet with eggs in the morning or roasted on a salad in the evening this vegetable is not to be missed!
Posted by Erin on May 5, 2013
I ate a tomato this weekend. Granted, it was store bought, but it was ripe, firm, and juicy and all of the sudden I could barely wait for the middle of July and fresh veggies from the garden.
This weekend we did some prep work on our garden boxes from last year. We removed some old string and mixed in new compost. We loosened up the soil and added some natural fertilizers.
It didn’t take us long to come up with our plan for spring crops this year since we’d learned a lot from our experience last spring. (Our major take away – we planted too many things too close together last year.) This time around we just planted our favorites and can’t wait to see them sprout.
By the end of a quiet rainy weekend our spring crops were planted. In the next few months we’re expecting:
- Green Onions
- Swiss Chard
- Purple Plum Radishes
- Easter Egg Radishes
- Pak Choy
How are you getting ready for Springtime? What’s growing in your garden?
Posted by Erin on March 11, 2013
I’m not huge on the mint chocolate combo unless it’s a box of Thin Mints, but it never fails to be a crowd pleaser. So, when I was thinking of a way to dress this chocolate cake up for Spring some lovely pale green mint icing was just the ticket. I wish I had thought to snap a picture of this cake after it had been cut, the layers were perfectly displayed with the dark richness of the cake and the pale creaminess of the buttercream. I guess you’ll just have to make it and see for yourself!
PS. Many, many thanks to my friend Kara for taking these beautiful pictures of my cake. You’re the best!
Chocolate Cake (makes 3 9in round cakes)
adapted from Sandy on AllRecipes.com
3 cups sugar
3 tbsp molasses or dark karo syrup
2 tsp vanilla
2 2/3 c flour
3/4 c cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/3 c light sour cream
1 1/3 c boiling water
In the bowl of a stand mixer cream together the sugar, molasses, and butter. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Continue to beat on high until light and fluffy. Blend in the vanilla.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. Add 1/4 of the four mixture and 1/4 of the sour cream alternately to the butter mixture. Mixing to combine after each addition. Carefully add the boiling water and stir to combine.
Pour evenly into three cake pans that have been greased and dusted with cocoa powder. Bake at 350 for about 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick in the center comes out clean. All to cool for a few minutes until the pans are cool enough to handle, carefully turn out onto a baking rack to cool. Allow cake to cool completely before icing.
3 sticks butter, softened
6 cups powdered sugar
3 tbsp milk
2 tsp mint extract
Cream the butter until it is light and fluffy. Slowly add in the powdered sugar. Mix in the milk until you reach your desired consistency. Mix in the mint extract and, if you like, some green food coloring. I enjoy using Wilton’s gel food coloring.
For some tips on icing a layer cake (don’t forget the crumb coat!) look here.
Posted by Erin on April 14, 2012