Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New adventures in Asparagus

We spent a really nice day yesterday with a visit to one of my favorite local places, The National Shrine of St Therese. While it probably has a deeper meaning for my husband ( and completely different one for my son), I enjoy visiting because the place is so peaceful and visually pleasant. Lots of artifacts from the life of St Theresa, displayed in a way that could serve as a good tutorial on how to decorate. It's not about placing everything together in a kind of cluttered fashion, but rather place each piece in a small area where it stands out alone. I could take a lot of lessons away from that !
 Later that day we came home , and eventually it was time to make dinner. I had planned a meal, but forgot to factor in a very strange personal phenomenon in the planning. For some very odd reason  I have no problem cooking very good meals when I have spent the day at home, but put me in an afternoon outing and I seem to lose all desire to cook. It's something that strikes me a just very odd- and perhaps the reason why I do not like going a lot of places. However, when you are the Mom and the one who usually cooks, such things must be overcome, lest children and husbands become like ravenous zombies and threaten to devour you . Well, not exactly true, and my husband is more than happy to run out and pick something up any time I choose not to cook. I worry about the expense, the additives, the possibility of learning he has formed a meaningful bond with Wendy, and so I buck it up and cook most days.( and just kidding about the Wendy Affair- it would more logically happen if a certain local sandwich chain turned out to be founded or named after a woman, and only after a prolonged period of time - and that I cannot let happen). I had planned to make Polish Sausage and Steamed Asparagus. Only I did not wish to drag out the steamer. And I did not have a bottle of beer to cook the sausage in. Oh Bother- what is a Mom to do ?

Brainstorm- if you can fry a potato and a green bean, why can't you fry an asparagus ???
Cut the woody ends off
Fire up the deep fryer on the counter and toss those babies in the fry basket
Deep fry at 375 for about 3 minutes, drain on paper towels and salt. Verdict ? It removes the weird asparagus over taste, and has a crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside kind of taste. Not bad, but not something I would make all the time because it was too delicate tasting for something deep fried. However, if young children were involved this could be a good way to get them to eat asparagus ! Then came the polish sausage issue. I sliced up a couple of onions, sweated them in a pan with some olive oil and tossed them in the pan, covered, and hoped that between the onions and the sausage grease it would have enough moisture to steam cook. A few minutes into the process it became clear that some aid was required. No beer available ( best flavor option), water would just be too whimpy, only stock in the house was frozen, so what to do ? My brain scanned through the available options and realized that polish sausage is simply seasoned pork in a casing and that people use soda often to make pulled pork. Therefor, a can of soda just might work here. A can of Sierra Mist was sacrificed for the cause, and I would rest easy on the fact that my guys are usually pretty good sports about eating my experiements.

The results ? A winner ! The soda took out something that normally gives me a brief headache when I eat polish sausage ( or any sausage other than Italian), and made the onions turn to a really nice caramelized, warm smooshy consistency. This one is a definite do again kind of dish .

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