30 years of asparagus

I've spent the last week wondering where the month of May went.  Much happened this May.  But how could we possibly be entering into June?  I spent the last two days in the sun and water.  

Oh hey, welcome, summer.  I hadn't noticed you there.

That being said, we have plenty of spring veg to still enjoy.  Such wonderful vegetables in such a short time.  When I think of the farmers market in spring, I think of one thing: asparagus.  For the six or so weeks that it's available (meaning, fresh and seasonal), I eat as much as I can.  I get this from my mom. Mostly I love asparagus roasted or grilled with a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  It is asparagus, that stately soldier of spring, in it's purest and most delicious form.  But I've had this lovely little recipe for an asparagus tart milling about the kitchen for ages.  I tore it out of the newspaper once, captivated by it's rustic beauty.  It is simple and easy and a delicious taste of May.    The pastry puffs up nicely around the edges, framing the asparagus in all it's glory - roasting tenderly as the chevre browns and sets.

I suggest you set a date for your local farmer's market this weekend and get a move on. You haven't got much time.

Asparagus Chevre Tart
Adapted from the Chicago Sun Times
Makes 6-8 servings

5 ounces chevre (goat cheese)
1 egg
1/4 cup heavy cream
10 grinds fresh black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
a bunch of asparagus
1 sheet frozen puff pastry, defrosted per package instructions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Combine chevre, egg, cream, pepper, and salt in a small bowl.  Snap off the bottoms of the asparagus.  Unwrap the puff pastry and place on a sheet tray lined with parchment.  Place asparagus spears on opposite ends of the puff pastry (short side), about 1/2 inch from end.  Using the spears as a guide, spread the cheese mixture from center of the dough outward into a rectangle, stopping at the spears (mixture may be runny, so be prepared for some spillage).  Lay remaining asparagus spears on top of filling, alternating tips and ends.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until asparagus are tender and pastry is golden brown.  Allow to cool slightly and serve.

PS.  Today is May 29, 2012.  And my parents' 30th wedding anniversary.  My sister and brother and I put together a little card with a collection of memories and "thanksgivings." Did you know that my mom and dad once invited a homeless man to join us for Christmas? I'll never forget that.  Or that when I was living in another hemisphere I was missing autumn so much that my mom sent it to me in an envelope (well, in essence)?  One summer, we spent a month in a pop-up camper together, driving the east coast.  My dad loves to watch Pride and Prejudice with me.  They have taught me how to love and be loved. They showed the world that a family can grow up to be the best of friends.  

And they eat lots of asparagus with me.  

It's been an age of wonders.  Here's to 30.  May the next be filled with as many marvels, as much beauty, and far more joy.

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