Saturday, April 23, 2011

Asparagus - Love or Hate It

When I saw this fresh-looking bag of asparagus at Costco, it started calling my name. My first thought was, just roast it, and it will be OK. Well, this time, I decided to just web search for recipes and how-to’s instead of risking another soggy dish. That bit of research definitely helped. My asparagus was cooked to perfection!

This bunch was two pounds and perfect; no bruises or cuts and tender.
My asparagus cooking has been sort of SO SO…. It’s either been over-cooked or under-cooked. But, I ate it anyway.

A good thing about asparagus other than it being delicious is that it is very low in calories and has no fat. That two-pound package is about 120 calories! It requires very little seasoning; a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese is sufficient for a simple dish.

• Asparagus is a member of the Lily family.
• Asparagus spears grow from a crown that is planted about a foot deep in sandy soils.
• Under ideal conditions, an asparagus spear can grow 10" in a 24-hour period.
• Each crown will send spears up for about 6-7 weeks during the spring and early summer.
• The outdoor temperature determines how much time will be between each picking...early in the season, there may be 4-5 days between pickings and as the days and nights get warmer, a particular field may have to be picked every 24 hours.
• After harvesting is done the spears grow into ferns, which produce red berries and the food and nutrients necessary for a healthy and productive crop the next season.

Nutritional Yeast
I have a container of nutritional yeast flakes that I had not found much use for. Thru my investigative searching, found that there are numerous uses for nutritional yeast.

Nutrition Facts
Nutrition (per 1 tbsp serving): 30 calories, <1g total fat, 2.5mg sodium, 160mg potassium, 2.5g carbohydrates, 2g fiber, <1g net carbohydrates, 4.5g protein, <1mg iron.

Info from
Definition: Yellow in color and with a nutty cheesy flavor, nutritional yeast is inactive yeast that is a favorite amongst many vegans because of its unique flavor and similarity to cheese when added to foods. Sprinkle some on hot popcorn or garlic bread, or add a generous spoonful to a stir fry or pasta sauce. Nutritional yeast is also the only reliable food source of vitamin B12, so if you're vegan, it's a good idea to add some to your food regularly. Nutritional yeast can be found in the bulk foods or supplement section of your health food store. You can look for either nutritional yeast flakes or powder, but be sure you don't get brewer's yeast by mistake, as it’s quite similar in appearance. In Australia and New Zealand, nutritional yeast is also called "savory yeast" or "savory yeast flakes".

Roasted Asparagus

Simple Steps
Combine 1 tbsp Nutritional yeast and 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese, set aside (or more to your liking).

Combine 1 tsp Garlic Herb mix, 1/4 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper, 1/2 tsp oregano flakes, set aside.
Set the oven to 425F.
Wash and snap the bottom 1/2 inch of the stalks off
Put the asparagus into a plastic food bag with about 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Shake to coat with olive oil
Cover a large baking sheet with aluminum foil

Spread the spears over the baking sheet, pointing the bottoms out.

Sprinkle the spice mix evenly over the pan.

Bake about 12 minutes
Remove from oven and sprinkle the Parmesan Cheese/ Nutritional Yeast flakes evenly over the pan.

Return to oven for 5 minutes.
Remove from oven and place on serving Dish.

East clean-up: discard the aluminum foil ..
That was a lot easier than I had made it in the past!

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