Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Asparagus Saga

Our story begins last weekend, at Easter dinner, when I cooked a lovely side dish of asparagus to compliment the platters of assorted meats and potatoes. I was so impressed with the dish, and my apparent aptitude for roasting yummy, plump asparagus that I decided to make it again (yesterday). So off I went to Yuri Mart (aka "The Cheap Fruit Stand") where asparagus was 2 bunches for $1. Hooray!

Later that evening, having committed myself to a "Night of Productivity" -- filling jewelry orders and finishing my taxes-- I decided to throw my delicious asparagus in the oven. They could roast for the requisite amount of time, and then I'd put them in the fridge to snack on later in the week. I warmed up the oven, washed my asparagus, tossed them in some olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper, and laid them out on a tinfoil-lined cookie sheet. Into the oven they went.

Fifteen minutes later, I heard a banging sound on my ceiling -- my upstairs neighbor. For months Taylor and I have attempted to communicate by rapping on our shared ceiling/floor, but every time it has been an utter failure. But there it was -- i distinctly heard him this time! I grabbed a broom and punched at the ceiling in response. He knocked back. Again, I hit the ceiling with the handle of the broom. Ten seconds later, Taylor came running into my apt. We were both laughing with joy, jumping up and down and hugging. Our stupid, juvenile attempt at "communication" had finally worked!!!

We decided to celebrate with a drink. So long "Night of Productivity." MIRACULOUSLY, I remembered to turn off the oven before we departed, thus leaving my asparagus in mid-roast. I'd attend to them after the victory drink.

Cut to four hours later. It's 2:30am, and as I stumble into my apartment, the last thing I'm thinking about is roasting asparagus. The long green stalks will have to sleep for the night in their little tinfoil bed.

The next morning, as I'm deliriously prepping my first cup of coffee, I step on something. It's the end of an asparagus stalk that managed to escape from the cutting board the previous evening. Ahhhh yes. I open the oven, and there lay my asparagus. A little droopier, a bit yellowish. But still. I turn on the oven and begin my day. The sun is out, and I retreat to the balcony to soak it up.

An unknown amount of time has passed when I finally drag myself out the of the beach chair I'm relaxing in and head into the apartment, only to be greeted by a putrid smell as soon as i cross the threshold. Damn it! Nooooooooo! Smoke fills the kitchen as I yank open the oven door. A layer of black crust now lines the tinfoil and the asparagus gaze up at me as if to say, "How could you?"

Defeated, I throw the pan onto the range and stare at my now-charred veges. My beautiful asparagus are shriveled to a third of their former plumpness, and the ends have now taken on the brittle texture of sun baked stalks of wheat. "They never really had a chance," I think. But still. I pluck a stalk and bite off it's top. It crunches and crumbles in my mouth in a satisfying kinda way. It has a smoky, garlic-y kinda taste. Hmmmm. Not bad. Not bad at all.....

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