Spring Heaven: Asparagus Salad with Goodies

April 29, 2013

Shhh. I’m going to whisper so I don’t curse myself, so lean in close, readers.

*I think I might be able to retire the snow shovels to the corner of the garage. At last. Maybe.*

I’m hopeful, because after the wintry weather early in the week, Mother Nature decided to quit being a jerkwad and send some sunny skies this way.  Once the snow melted, I sniffed the air and detected promising signs that spring might, at last, be coming to the square dance.

~ I saw three very small, very fluffy baby bunnies scampering in the backyard. I hoped the girls wouldn’t insist on naming them, because I’ll never be able to get them straight. I had enough trouble keeping track of Peanut Butter last year.

~ grass that’s ditching the gunmetal gray look and rockin’ a more verdant color.

~ a noisy robin on a branch, plumper than pudding. Honestly, I thought the branch was going to snap on Miss Fatty. I kinda lingered, because I am mean.

~ I took a walk around the lake and heard the first yoo-hoo bird of the season. I have no idea what the official name of this bird is, but Mama and I have always called it the yoo-hoo bird. I’ll try to explain and if any of you own an aviary, maybe you can tell me what it is. The call of this bird is a sharp, high pitched whistle–and it seriously sounds like that bird is calling “yoo-hoo!”  Many times, but not always, the yoo-hoo bird lets loose right after the chirp of a meadowlark, almost like an answer. Whenever I hear those two feathered guys having a conversation, it makes me grin. It’s a harbinger of spring.

~finding asparagus that doesn’t look like rat-bait at the grocery store. Asparagus that’s fairly snappy and fresh, actually. I promptly invited Mama and Daddy up for Sunday lunch and we feasted on “un-ratty” asparagus salad. It was just the thing. A mouthful of spring and full of glorious contrast: crisp asparagus, tender mushrooms, sharp Parmesan and lively pistachios. Even Daddy-o, staunch lover of the iceberg-wedge, declared it delicious.  I may have to make it again Wednesday, just to cheer my soul, because…


**Breaking News**:  we are due for a huge cool-down on Wednesday with possible wet sn…I won’t even say it. Swear Jar!  Condolence cards are now being accepted.

But no matter (unless it snows buckets and then I will unleash my fury on the universe). Spring came this weekend, and we listened.



Raw Asparagus, Mushroom and Parsley Salad

recipe by Sara Moulton

serves 4


Kosher salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1/2 pound asparagus, tough stems trimmed and discarded

1 cup flat-leaf parsley leaves

4 ounces white button mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/3 cup pistachios

1 ounce shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese


In a big bowl, combine a generous pinch of salt, some grinds of black pepper and the lemon juice. When the salt is dissolved, whisk in the olive oil. Set aside.

Slice the asparagus, a few stalks at a time, thinly and on a diagonal to create oblong slices. Add asparagus to the bowl along with the parsley leaves and toss.

Add the sliced mushrooms and pistachios. Toss.

Divide the salad among 4 serving plates and top with shaves of cheese.


ps: People who avoid asparagus because of the skunk-piss factor, take heart! I–a fellow skunk–had very little problem with asparagus in the raw form. Is there something about cooking asparagus that renders your urine like something out of a polecat?

pps: 2 questions for you today…1. WTF is the yoo-hoo bird?  2. Is raw asparagus the answer?

Sending you love and white light this week. Miss M. and a few other renegade first-graders are performing in the talent show this week, which should provide stunning hilarity.  We also have a parent meeting/orientation at the (holymoly) middle school for D., and D.’s art show to attend (which I predict will result in yet again *swear jar-ing* her over, but hey, it’s like the Oscars. It’s an honor to be in contention, ja?

Hahahaha.  As if.  Y’all know I’ll be hissing like a rattlesnake if she loses. Mama Bear strikes again. :)

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

elizabeth April 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

And here I’ve been cranky about having weather that can’t make up its mind: cool one day, hot the other, then freaking freezing, with the only inevitability of us pushing headlong into hot summer weather.

At least I can invoke my father-in-law when I look out the window today and see the rain: “Well, this could all be snow.”


Abby April 29, 2013 at 9:51 am

As you know, I am also cautiously celebrating the fact that spring might just be here. I even put away the Ice Melt this weekend…we’ll see.

Asparagus. The fact that my avatar is of me smoking asparagus, it would be safe to assume that it’s a staple in my life. Yes, I eat it raw every single day with my lunch. Don’t judge.


Arnebya April 29, 2013 at 10:53 am

Abby, does that mean that in raw form asparagus does NOT make your pee smell like Andre the Giant’s feet after he’s walked through 256546342 miles of pure shit mixed with garbage and cat carcasses? Because that would be awesome (please note that I cook and eat it even though I know what it’ll do but when I’m in public I give courtesy flushes or flush immediately because I am caring like that.)


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:13 am


That’s quite the vivid description there! You crack me up!


Arnebya April 29, 2013 at 10:56 am

*does a naked nonsnow dance*

There is a bird I hear but never see. It makes me SO happy! I have NO idea what it is, but it sounds like: doooooooooot dooooooooooot dootdootdootdootdoot. Any guesses? I HAVE GIVEN YOU A SCIENTIFIC DESCRIPTION; HELP ME. When I hear it, no matter where I am or how I feel, it makes me smile.

*dances a naked and body painted art show winning dance for D*


unicorn April 30, 2013 at 2:50 pm

You have a cardinal.

Sounds like machine gunfire (dootdootdootdoot) after dropping bombs (doooooot doooooooot).


TKW April 30, 2013 at 3:28 pm

Unicorn! You minx! Where have you been? I’ve missed you.

And your knowledge of birds, of course.


Tiffany April 29, 2013 at 11:17 am

We saw a glimpse of spring here in Ohio this weekend too…it was lovely.


Jenna April 29, 2013 at 11:38 am

The world woke up this morning screaming “spring!” to me, and it felt so good. I feel like I just got younger or something. (And the funky pee factor has never stopped me from chowing down on asparagus.)


The Curious Cat April 29, 2013 at 1:34 pm

This sounds delicious though not sure about the parsley…never been the biggest fan…xxx


SuziCate April 29, 2013 at 4:33 pm

1. Black capped chickadee…ok, I cheated and googled!
2. Really, raw makes the difference? Going to see if it works for the folks around here. We love us some asparagus, but we hate that pole cat piss!


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:15 am


What did you google? Yoo-hoo bird?

I am so happy to know what it is! Now, can you help Arnebya with her Doooot bird?


SuziCate April 30, 2013 at 8:25 am

Yes, I did google Yoo hoo bird. Just tried to google bird that goes doot doot doot…didn’t get the name of the bird, but apparently there are a lot of songs written about it, lol!


unicorn April 30, 2013 at 2:56 pm

Yes, it’s a chickadee.

The song is a high pitched whistly yoo-hoo.


TKW April 30, 2013 at 3:29 pm

Woot! Now I can yoo-hoo back and say, “take that, Chickadee!” Whomp!

Robin April 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm

The weather has certainly been crazy this spring – cold one day, pretending to arrive the next, hot enough to wear linen (yes), and then cold and windy – blowing away the blooms of the tulip trees. Even though it seems colder than usual, I think we are finally seeing spring.

SNOW? So sorry! But, you do live in one of the most beautiful states in the country – weather aside. One day, I will have to tell you about how many, many, many years ago, my husband and I almost moved there – in a tent – CRAZY! We were young, but we had an infant at the time.


Robin April 29, 2013 at 4:37 pm

Oh, the asparagus recipe sounds amazing! One of my favorite foods :)


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:15 am

In a tent, with an infant? Robin, you must tell!


pamela April 29, 2013 at 5:03 pm

This salad looks amazing. SO happy spring is at least circling the block. You made me laugh as always – thank you for that too!


Dawn April 29, 2013 at 5:11 pm

Yes spring DID come this weekend and it was glorious! Glad you enjoyed. Some people a bit south of Michigan actually have asparagus coming up in their yards. Lucky people.


Katrina Kenison April 29, 2013 at 6:49 pm

My kind of salad — will make this for sure. I took a photo this afternoon of the last snowbank here in my New Hampshire neighborhood, in the yard of a house down the road that’s for sale. Ummm, I don’t think the place is showing particularly well, given that it’s nearly May, and that pile of snow is still nearly a foot high in the middle, a spot where no sunshine ever penetrates. . . .


TKW April 30, 2013 at 4:02 pm


Two… (I think–my memory is weak) winters ago, we had snow on the ground from December through March. When it finally melted, we were graced with the sight of tracks–burrowing tracks–all over our lawn. Looked like a NasCar venue.

I called someone out and he said, “Well, shit. You have voles.”

Voles? What the heck is a vole? I’d never heard of them. Turns out, they are black, rat-like thingys that munch/ K.O. your lawn in no time. Niiice.

We called the exterminator and he put pretty little kill boxes out for them, and I felt much better.

Until I began to find carcasses of voles–mid-scamper, on my lawn, toten. I picked them up with a rake and carried them to the trash can, but I kept dropping those dang things en route. Not surprisingly, we still have the pretty little kill boxes out, just in case.


jacquie April 29, 2013 at 7:07 pm

my condolences on the snow – YUCK. we have had back and forth weather here also but not snow thank goodness. can i suggest wine and chocolate if it does unfortuneatly snow?


Alison April 29, 2013 at 7:21 pm

Yoo-hoo Bird sounds scientific. Sort of.
Okay, not at all but it’s a cool bird name.
I’ve never eaten raw asparagus. I know, right?


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:16 am


I never had, either! Never crossed my mind!


Jamie April 29, 2013 at 10:25 pm

I’ve NEVER gotten funky pee from asparagus–raw or cooked, regardless of quantity. Does this make me a freak? And I hate the smell of pee so I would totally notice if something was off. Ok, now I sound like a freak…


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:17 am


No, you aren’t a freak. I heard somewhere that only 50% of people get the funk-i-fied piss. Believe me, you can’t miss that stench!


Contemporary Troubadour April 30, 2013 at 7:23 am

We are rockin’ the asparagus on our menu here this week too. It looked too beautiful at the grocery store to pass up! Did not know about the rank(er) pee odor issues associated with the vegetable, though. Fun fact, semi-related: fenugreek (an herb commonly recommended to help with milk supply in lactating mothers) will make your pee smell like maple syrup. I wonder what would happen if you consumed both in the same meal. Cancel the effects of either? Or would the fenugreek win out?

Clearly I should be paying more attention to what goes on in my bathroom. Science is happening in there.


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:19 am


Asparagus piss is so rank that I don’t think even fenugreek could save it. But it would kind of be fun to pee maply syrup…


Mary Lee April 30, 2013 at 7:50 am

Looks delicious enough to send me to the Farmer’s Market today. (Note to self: look for non-rat bait asparagus.) I don’t have any trouble with fresh asparagus, cooked or not–I love it both ways, but oh my gosh, open a can and one whiff is enough to make me retch. You have identified the scent perfectly.

I hope there will be video of the divine Miss M at the talent show (which talent is she showcasing?) and definitely, we’ll want to see Miss D’s artwork. She’ll be a shoe-in on a blog vote. Middle school? GULP!


TKW April 30, 2013 at 8:22 am

Mary Lee,

No video, probably, but definitely a picture. She and 4 other first-grade girls are doing a “gymnastics”–and I use this term loosely–routine to the song “Dynamite.” It’s absolutely hysterical.

And our budding middle schooler did not win. AGAIN. I am bitter. I’ll try to put a link up or a picture of it later this week. And yes. Middle school. Ouch.


Biz April 30, 2013 at 9:06 am

I still have my shovel on my deck with the hopes that Mother Nature will see it and realize I don’t care if it snows again, and then it will officially be spring – kind of reverse psychology!

Temps today near 80, then lows in the 50s the weekend. Oh well!


TKW April 30, 2013 at 3:25 pm


Hoping our snow doesn’t meander your way…


ayala April 30, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Looks as yummy as your words Mama bear ;) you are so funny :)


Jennifer April 30, 2013 at 1:05 pm

We are expecting record breaking lows to start off Saturday. In Texas. In May. It is so wrong that I have no words for how wrong it is.


TKW April 30, 2013 at 3:26 pm


Wanna make smores together via Skype? :)


Katybeth May 1, 2013 at 7:57 am

Love asparagus! Sweet pea, I know Spring is in your very near future…just keep the faith and hold on to hope and you will be cursing the heat before you can say Peanut Butter. And when those girls find that featherless baby bird and bring it home, we will be here for you.


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