Life on Regal-Hill: May 27, 2009

Well we got another frost last week Tuesday at Regal-Hill. I am disgusted with myself that I didn’t cut the asparagus. I went to check it this morning and it had definitely been frozen. I knew it was there too and just didn’t remember to go out and cut it and bring it inside. Now I have to cut it and wait for it to grow again before serving it in any meals.
I have been busy taking care of rhubarb. At least the hard part is done. The hard part working with rhubarb is of getting it, removing the leaves, washing it and cutting it up. I was so glad to have Allegra’s help in cutting it up. She seemed to enjoy herself as well. After it is cut up the fun begins. Pie, like rhubarb-custard or strawberry-rhubarb, jams like strawberry-rhubarb that is one of Allegra’s favorites, as well as other desserts, as sauce just like you would serve applesauce, punch and even salsa to serve with meats. As you can see there are many uses for rhubarb. You just need to remember that it requires plenty of sugar. It also freezes well if you are short of time and want to use in later.
Since many people have their own rhubarb patch or at least did in the past, it makes sense to make the most of it. Especially since it is the first fruit of spring and it is too early for there to be much in the garden to be ready to use. Even if you don’t enjoy it all now, next winter you will be glad you thought ahead to preserve some for then.
Asparagus is the first vegetable of the season. We have already enjoyed some. It hasn’t been doing as well as I had hoped it would but at least we have some to enjoy.

Asparagus & Pear Salad
1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed
1 large pear, sliced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1-fourth cup chopped walnuts, toasted
2 tablespoons prepared honey Dijon salad dressing
8 romaine lettuce leaves
In a large skillet, bring 1-half inch of water to a boil. Add asparagus; cover and boil for 3-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. Drain and immediately place asparagus in ice water. Drain and pat dry; cut into 1-half inch pieces and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine pear and lemon juice. Add the onions, walnuts and reserved asparagus; drizzle with dressing and toss to coat. Arrange lettuce on four salad plates; top with asparagus mixture. Serve immediately.
Yield: 4 servings
Taste of Home April/May 2009

Asparagus Scallop Stir-Fry
1 pound bay scallops
3 tablespoons corn starch
2 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 cups cut fresh asparagus (2-in. pieces)
1-half cup chopped onion
1-half cup chopped celery
2 Tablespoons canola oil, divided
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1 can (8 ounces) sliced water chestnuts, drained
1-fourth cup silvered almonds
Hot cooked rice, optional
If scallops are large, cut in half and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the corn starch, chicken broth and soy sauce until smooth; set aside. In a large skillet, sauté the asparagus, onion and celery in 1 tablespoon oil for 3 minutes. Add mushrooms and water chestnuts; stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove vegetable mixture and set aside.
In the same skillet, stir-fry scallops in remaining oil for 2-3 minutes or until scallops are firm and opaque. Stir chicken broth mixture; add to pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Add vegetables; heat through. Sprinkle with almonds. Serve with rice if desired.
Yield: 4 servings
Taste of Home Simple & Delicious March/April 2009