Tip of the Year

 Image Via Real Simple

I love Real Simple magazine. I have a subscription and love a lot of their advice, recipes, tips, photography and whatever else comes in magazine articles... So, in my browsing of the latest issue, I saw a snippet of advice concerning asparagus:

How To Buy

Choose firm, bright green asparagus stalks with plump, tightly closed tips. Fading color is a sign of deterioration. Check the stem ends to make sure they look freshly cut, not shriveled or dried out.

How To Store

Uncooked asparagus will stay fresh for three to four days in the refrigerator. The secret is to keep the vegetable cool and damp. Store spears upright in a container with the stems wading in an inch of water, then cover loosely.

It's brilliant! It works brilliantly and saves me from having to toss out half bundles of wilty, wiggly stalks. I love asparagus, but rarely want to eat it two days in a row... I don't know. I was impressed. I definitely thought it was worth sharing. Maybe someone who reads this blog also feels guilty throwing unused vegetables away...

And since I've got firm squeeky delicious asparagus in my refrigerator, tonight for dinner I'm going to make this Asparagus-Gruyere Tart from Martha Stewart:

 Image Via Martha Stewart

Serves 4
  • Flour, for work surface
  • 1 sheet frozen puff pastry
  • 5 1/2 ounces (2 cups) Gruyere cheese, shredded
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium or thick asparagus
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. On a floured surface, roll the puff pastry into a 16-by-10-inch rectangle. Trim uneven edges. Place pastry on a baking sheet. With a sharp knife, lightly score pastry dough 1 inch in from the edges to mark a rectangle. Using a fork, pierce dough inside the markings at 1/2-inch intervals. Bake until golden, about 15 minutes.
  2. Remove pastry shell from oven, and sprinkle with Gruyere. Trim the bottoms of the asparagus spears to fit crosswise inside the tart shell; arrange in a single layer over Gruyere, alternating ends and tips. Brush with oil, and season with salt and pepper. Bake until spears are tender, 20 to 25 minutes.

Sounds delicious, no?

I had no idea that frozen puff pastry was so expensive! $12 for one sheet at Whole Foods last night. It just wasn't what I was expecting to pay for frozen dough. Pizza dough costs around $2.00 and is enough to make two pizzas. Hmm, is this a Whole Foods phenomenon, or is puff pastry generally the most expensive item in the frozen foods section? Are there any alternatives for puff pastry that are decent?

I feel like I've seen a resurgence of tarts as of the last 2 months or so (Ready Made's cover story May/10) and they all recommend using puff pastry as an alternative to spending hours making tart crusts. I'd like to experiment and for less than $20/pop preferably.

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