March 29, 2006

Queen of Vegetables

No, not me. I'm not the Queen of Vegetables. Asparagus is. So say people who know such things.

Inspired by my desire to do something nice for our neighbor, I baked a couple of quiches yesterday. One for us and one for her. As she is a quasi-vegetarian, I chose to use asparagus as the featured ingredient.

The asparagus available at the grocery store was a product of Mexico. I've never seen how they grow which set me briefly thinking about other stalky things, like celery. But celery grows in a clump all connected at the bottom, whereas asparagus are individual spears. What does a field of asparagus look like, I wonder. Evidently the spears grow from the crown of the plant and must be harvested by hand, one reason they can be so expensive.

A fact gleaned from the label on the bundle I brought home informed me asparagus has been used in traditional Chinese medicine as a tonic and to stimulate hair growth. The label does not indicate where hair is stimulated to grow, hence it could be a good or bad thing. It supposedly has other medicinal-like properties, from easing a toothache to curing cancer. Who knew?

There was no mention of how or why it makes one's urine smell so... pungent. I'd really like to know the science behind that phenomenon.

.

13 comments:

Kiker said...

Nice job with the quiche! I would never have thought to try asparagus. I think spinach goes in everything... so I have made quite a few spinach quiches. But asparagus... maybe you are on to something.

Want to come over to our house for Snoopy Surprise? (Dear Lord, Suzanne, that was the WORST food I have ever had).

Gina said...

Yes, I hate the man-pee smell when I eat asparagus.

But, grill it with some olive oil and a pinch of sea salt, and I'll gladly bear the uh, results.

That quiche does look mighty tasty.

Eyes said...

When I was dating my husband and driving to our summer cottage, he said "It's aspargus time." I was like, huh? What? That must only grow in Hawaii. My husband said oh no it grows here. He pulled over on the side of the road in farm country-- and there is was among the grass!

Little shoots all over in groups, popping up in the soil between the grass. We plucked them and I got all excited. You'd find 4 or so in a group and then you'd have to find another grouping. We hunted all day -- and the next day took my mom! She loved it too. We came up with about three to four bundles. Lots of hunting!

It grows into a big bushy plant after it seeds from the head if it is not picked. I am sure it grows where you live along the roads in late April! Here is comes in early May. You can grow it in your yard, but it does become invasive.

Eyes said...

One easy way to find it if you have interest is to find a photo of asparagus once it blooms into a bushy plant. Once you can identify the "bush", usually underneath it -- you'll find young sprouts ready for eat'n! That way you can hone in rather quickly :)

Geeky Dragon Girl said...

I'd never thought about what a field of asparagus would look like. I've no clue. I was surprised to find out that cranberries grew on water and not in bushes.

I am so jealous of your neighbor. I LOVE quiche! Wanna move to LA?

C said...

I'm trying to get my boyfriend to apply for jobs in VA. If we do, you're going to have to bring us some of that quiche!!!

Chaps said...

When I was in QLD a couple of years ago I seen pineapples growing, I couldnt believe these huge big paddocks with pinapples everywhere - I assumed they grew on a tree like coconuts

Anonymous said...

Liz from I speak of Dreams My uncle was (among other things) an asparagus farmer in the San Joaquin Delta. Love that grass!

Asparagus urine:

" The smell cannot be noticed in raw or cooked asparagus, so it is believed that the body converts a compound within asparagus into a metabolite, which can then be smelled in the urine. The odour is often described as the smell of rotten or boiling cabbage, or even ammonia, and is believed to be due to the presence of methyl mercaptan, also known as methanethiol, which is a sulphur containing derivative of the amino acid methionine."

Way too much detail You Should know, you're a medical student

Steamed with lemon butter, steamed plain served with a vinaigrette, grilled (YUM!) -- it is all good.

Sharon said...

I've also read that, in men, urine is not the only bodily fluid that is affected by asparagus.

Ah, those useless little facts that stick with us...

Elizabeth said...

The queen of vegetables?

It's more like the penis vegetable. Look at it. It's so penis-ish. It has to be cooked just so if I'm gonna eat that stuff and even then...it's really hard to swallow.

Very nice of you to give your neighbor a penis quiche.

Mwwwahahahaha.

WordsRock said...

Ah ha! Liz brings us the science! Many thanks.

Eyes, what a score to find wild asparagus to harvest.

GDG, LA is not in my future. But C, if you end up in VA, sure, I'll bake you a quiche. :)

Honeysuckle, maybe Gina can confirm or deny that theory. Gina, what say you? ;)

eb, my neighbor likes penis. Or at least she did at some point in time...

Suzanne

TDharma said...

beautiful looking quiche.

i've seen asparagus growing and in my case, it's been individual shoots popping up outta da dirt -- funny lookin' and no bushes. Hmmmmm.

if I have ONE bite (who ever has just one?) my pee smells. that's powerful stuff there.

viagra online said...

Your quiche! looks really delicious .. did not know that the asparagus is from Mexico .. good to know more about