"Honey, I just remembered asparagus is a thing," he said to me, eyes wide and full of longing.
Our CSA has included an excessive amount of different varieties of cabbage and "salad greens" lately making using exclusively our CSA veggies and meat a bit less a fun game of Chopped and a bit more of a not so fun chore. Actually, Korea right now is feeling less like a fun adventure and more of a not so fun chore, so I went a little crazy last time I went to Costco.
Mostly when I go to Costco and I'm not shopping for a party, I stay away from the produce other than the citrus. For the most part it's not actually cheaper than other stores, there's just more of it and the more "western" vegetables aren't the greatest quality. But I check it out every time just in case - maybe the brussels sprouts won't be the size of my fist. This time I was rewarded with asparagus that looked "fine" instead of it's usual "the actual worst" and I thought about what Dan had said a few days earlier and I thought about how much I missed being able to make good, simple, not meat heavy dinners and then I blacked out and I guess I turned into chef Hulk because I came to and my cart also had a big box of basil, crimini mushrooms, avocados and a bag of limes. <insert money with wings emoji here>
That night I didn't have a plan for dinner other than to use as many of my fancy new ingredients in a meal as possible. So I peeled the bottom of my asparagus, chopped it in thirds, tossed it in olive oil, salt and pepper and threw it in the oven. I hadn't had pesto in months and handful after handful of basil was subjected to my immersion blender, a hearty dose of olive oil and some of the garlic chives from my CSA because why not? Some lemon zest, grana padano, red pepper flakes and salt later, I had a delicious sauce and a plan. The mushrooms were sliced and went into a pan with bacon lardons, garlic and (dried) herbs. I started one pot for rigatoni and another for poaching eggs. The asparagus came out of the oven and was treated to a generous sprinkling of lemon zest.
My pasta, asparagus, bacon, mushrooms and pest all went in a BIG bowl to get tossed together. Next, it went into our smaller bowls and got topped with a poached egg and fair amount of grana. I was so happy as I stuffed bite after bite of what would be a lazy, low key meal in America but in Korea felt like crazy indulgence.
Dan ate a bowl cold for breakfast the next day and I had the rest for lunch. Even cold, it was fantastic.
We managed to stretch out the rest of our asparagus into two more meals and had pesto for one more. Only about a third of each of our avocados was edible but we put them on as many things as we could, covered in fresh squeezed lime juice. The remaining precious limes are waiting to get used in cocktails, probably with some of the liquors we've been infusing with Thai spices.
This week, thankfully, tomatoes made an appearance in our CSA (already! I know!) and last night's dinner was a giant bowl of poached egg salad.
On the other hand, I just froze enough butter braised cabbage to keep us in pierogis until we leave Korea, I got another half of a giant cabbage and I still had another in my fridge. Any ideas*?
*Other than kimchi