I just recently found out about Fine Cooking Magazine. Does anyone else read this? It’s actually great — a glossy magazine devoted entirely to recipes and useful cooking tips. None of the boring wine recommendations or 10,000-word essays on strolling through Paris that clog up Gourmet and BonApp. It’s actually more like Cook’s Illustrated, except with color photos.
In the front of the magazine, they have a feature called “What We’re Cooking Now.” They select three seasonal ingredients, and each of three editors details a quick, easy way to use them up. In a recent spring issue, they covered asparagus, arugula, and rhubarb. As you know, we’ve been fiending for ways to use up all this beautiful spring asparagus and arugula, so I was into this idea, and particularly loved one ed’s suggestion for asparagus:
I like to steam asparagus, then shave the salks in fettuccine-like strips with a vegetable peeler, reserving the tips. I toss the asparagus “fettucine” and tips with real fettuccine and a creamy sauce flavored with lemon zest and tarragon.
Brilliant, right? I rushed out to buy some asparagus, envisioning a gorgeously green spring pasta dish, where you couldn’t even tell whether the strands thrown in were veggies or just green pasta.
I boiled my pasta, steamed my asparagus, and then set about “shaving the stalks in fettuccine-like strips with a vegetable peeler.”
Um, no. I did not get fettuccine-like strips. Not at all. I got the mess you see above. Some tiny, ugly little strands that peeled off, and asparagus stalks that just fell apart when I tried to peel them? WTF?
So I ate fettuccine tossed with asparagus tips – and no fancy strands.
The nasty, disintegrating asparagus stalks were too painful to look at and had to be disposed of. Good thing I saved those tips, but this was in no way the classy, impressive spring meal I had in mind.
Where did I go wrong? Did I steam them for too long? Does my vegetable peeler suck? What’s my effing problem?
PS – Fuck-up a dish of your own? (On Friday or any other day?) Do Tell! firstname.lastname@example.org