Asparagus again... Quick Asparagus and spinach pasta

I think that I need to learn how to 'tie in'.  Lately I've been sucking at it.
My last post, for example, had nothing to do with the recipe.  I didn't even explain the recipe.  Was there even food?  I talked about tv, about maybe not watching tv for a while and complimenting a kid in a way that sounded like it was an insult but it wasn't.  A proper blog should tie everything together.  Start by writing something interesting that pulls all you readers in and then expertly steers the writing to the recipe of the day.
I seem to want to use this blog as my journal or something similar.  In theory I like the idea of that.  In practice however it's kinda weird.  I have had a lot of journal years in my life.  It's awesome having a journal and it's especially awesome going back to your journals year later. Is journal writing a girlie thing - that concerns me.  I used to write a lot of crap in my journal that absolutely nobody should ever read.  Remember when you wrote in your journal (maybe you still do) the stuff that you needed to get out... about life, your friends, your parents, your boyfriend.  How you really felt about all that crap you were supposed to do but were fighting with still because you were 16 yrs old and just not ready to take it all on?  Or how about the stream of conscious ramblings.  The stuff that, when you go back to it years later, not even you can get your head around what you were trying to articulate.  Yeah... that's what I still do sometimes.  Only I do it out here, in public (well kinda public).  I wonder if I were you would I read me.  So I'm going to try to be better.  A proper food blogger and not a self-absorbed-journal-writing-wanna-be.

Fingers crossed.  Here is my 'tie in' attempt:

A while ago I promised you all yet another asparagus recipe AND my last for the season (wiping away a tear).  I know that you've all been waiting with baited breath for this and I've been holding out on you.  Asparagus is amazing.  Asparagus is green.  It tastes good when you cook it and you can cook it many different ways.  I like asparagus.  The asparagus season is short but you can make pasta in any season (ok, that was random - I'll give you that one).  If you like asparagus, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, pasta and cheese then maybe this is just the recipe for you.  It was easy.  It was FUN and it was tasty.  Try it and it will change your life forever.  If you have kids they will write for your and paint you awesome pictures.  If you make this for your partner he/she will never leave and your life with him/her will be 10/10 all the time.  Asparagus is the best.

I got so jazzed about this stuff that I put some in Kid #2's bowl and ate it straight up.
What do you think?  I'm not sure that this translated well.

Quick Asparagus, Spinach Pasta
serves 4

1 lg bunch asparagus, chopped into long chunks
3 cloves garlic (or garlic scapes if we're goin' the seasonal route), crushed or minced
3 cups mushrooms, halved
4 cups spinach roughly chopped
4 tbsp herbs (I used basil, parsley, chives and oregano) - using fresh herbs, about 1/2 cup, chopped
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne or pepper sauce
1 cup cream
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated

Heat a large pot over medium heat.
Add about 2 tbsp of oil.  Throw in the asparagus, garlic and mushrooms.  Keep it moving in the pan and cook for about 6 minutes.
Add in the spinach.  Stirring regularly, let the spinach wilt.  Add in the paprika, herbs and salt.
Add the cayenne or pepper (if you want to go there)
Turn the heat down to low.
Add in the cream and the grated parmesan.
Check the taste and adjust if necessary.
Serve over pasta (I like the penne kind but go with your heart on this one).

Potato, Yam and Pea Curry

< what you are about to read has absolutely nothing to do with the recipe that follows it >

I've started to wonder, I mean seriously wonder, recently just how much crap I could accomplish in a day if I didn't watch tv.  Allow me to explain...
We had our awards ceremony recently at school.  This one kid cleaned up.  Seriously, mopped it, waxed it and buffed it afterwards.  So much so that I told him that he'd better keep his head together because with his mind he could easily turn into the anti-christ or something and take over the world.  You know, as I'm writing this I'm thinking that it probably wasn't the most eloquent or straightforward way I could have chosen to congratulate a 15 year old kid... I'll fix that in September.
Anyway, I did get talking to him about his life at home because I figure that there might be something that I could learn for my own Kid #1 and #2 so that they could also become the anti-christ and the 3 of them could like co-rule or something.  So, one thing that really stuck out in my conversation with him was the fact that his family has no tv.   They've never had a tv.  No cable.  No PS3.  No Wii.  No PSP.  They do have a computer.
Did it mess you up?  I ask.
He says: At first, when I was a little kid, I felt like the poor kid (they're so not) because it was like a status symbol - to have a tv.  Then I got into High School and kinda stopped caring.  Now I'm glad.  I feel like I'm better because of it.  (I'm paraphrasing)
Whoa... hold up.  What?!  The conversation kinda stopped there (probably because that's when I blurted out the whole anti-christ thing so that's as far as I got with it).  So I've spent that last few days wondering just what the hell I could accomplish without tv.
Let me be honest with you and tell you that I'm not an addict.  I watch between 4 and 5 hours a week (sometimes less).  Still, generally it's crap.  And... it's 4 or 5 hours right.  My roomie in university didn't have a tv.  So, when I lived with her 'we' didn't have a tv.  I stopped caring after a while too.
So, what would I do with that 4 - 5 extra hours?  Here are some thoughts:
Read 1 1/2 hrs
Talk 1 hr (but not on the phone - dang), maybe to myself definitely to my family and even to friends
Clean 1/2 hr
Write 1 hr (or cook and write - whatever)
and any additional time... lie on the couch and listen to trippy music like a hippie.
I know that world domination isn't on the list but I still think that I should try it.  It could be kinda like my summer experiment.  Since nothing is on tv in the summer anyway it's like I've lost nothing.
So, I'm not saying that you should do this too.  I'm not even trying to suggest that it's a good thing.  I don't know yet.  I'm saying that I'm fascinated by the idea and I think I might be willing to give it a whirl... do Blue ray movies or Netflix count???????

Potato, Yam and Pea Curry
serves 4 - 6

3 1/2 cups Potato in large chunks
1 1/2 cups Yam in large chunks
2 medium carrots in large chunks
2 ribs of celery diced
1 smallish onion diced
2 cups peas
3 cloves garlic crushed or 1/2 cup garlic scapes, diced
3 tbsp curry powder (I used West Indian)
1 tsp salt
1 heaping tbsp brown sugar

parboil the potato, yam and carrot for about 3 minutes.
Add in the shelled peas (omit this step if the peas are frozen and just throw the peas in later)
and parboil for another 3 - 4 minutes.
Drain the potato stuff and set aside.
Heat a large (I used caste iron) skillet over medium heat.
Add in some oil (use your discretion) and throw in the onion, celery and garlic.  Swish that stuff around for about 5 minutes, letting get limp and transparent (the onion that is).

Add in the parboiled veggies.  Continue cooking over medium heat.  Stirring every few minutes so that the bottoms don't burn (it's nice when they do just a little though) and keeping them coated with oil.
Combine the curry powder, salt and sugar together in a bowl.
Once the veggies have started to brown up a bit (after about 7 -8 minutes) sprinkle on half of the curry powder mixture.  Stir it in.
Check the tastes and sprinkle more curry powder until you like what you taste.

Nanaimo Bars

I hardly ever do this - post sweet things back to back - but today was a 'hardly ever' day I guess.
It seemed fitting to post this recipe .  Two things recently brought BC (British Columbia, just in case) to the front of my thoughts.
The first thing was what I did yesterday.  I'm not going to talk about it.  I told myself that I wouldn't.  I'm not one to gloat.  I won't tell you that it's something that I've wanted to do for a long time.  I definitely won't tell you how proud I am of myself for finally doing it.  It would be insensitive for me to write that I enjoyed it thoroughly, that I would do it again (I am doing it again - pointe finale).  I won't even tell you why it reminds one of BC.  Aren't you glad that I didn't go on about it?
The second thing was who I did the first thing with (damn - this is sounding way complicated).  In the course of our most interesting conversation I discovered that my friend lived in BC for a time.  Vancouver to be exact.  We discussed how my friend misses BC and, were it not for the rain, might consider making it home at some point (although, let's talk about rain here in ON people).  All these things I did not know about my friend before this.
Fast forward to today when Kid #1 asks 'Mommy, will you makes these' pointing to a page in a recipe book.   Me: 'They look like green Nanaimo bars'  Me thinking - 'YES!  I'll make Nanaimo bars'.  Me saying out loud: 'Sure, I can make those'.

It had never occured to me that someone could make Nanaimo bars.  It just didn't.  You bought them.  At a grocery store.  Already made.  Then I moved to Montreal.  My roomie was telling me a story about the roomie who was there before me.  She made a pan of Nanaimo bars to take to a party and then ate the whole pan herself.  My roomie was so grossed out that someone would eat that much.  All I kept thinking was 'Wait... You can MAKE Nanaimo bars'.  I think that I missed the point.
Anyway, everyone is happy because I got to thinking and talking about BC yesterday and then my kid asked for weird looking green nanaimo bars (the green thing people - I'm not down with the green thing).  Since Kid #1 doesn't know what they are anyway, she didn't know the difference and the bars came out very nicely.  I highly recommend.

Nanaimo Bars
adapted from here


1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 cups graham wafer crumbs
1/2 cup chopped almonds or walnuts
1/4 cup sugar
5 tbsp cocoa
1 lg egg beaten


3 tbsp custard powder
3 - 4 tbsp cream
3 cups icing sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter at room temperature


200g dark or semisweet chocolate
4 tbsp unsalted butter

Get a square baking pan out, line with parchment if you are so inclined (I wasn't)

Combine the graham wafers and almonds in a bowl and set aside.
Melt the butter, sugar and cocoa together over a double boiler.  Once the butter is melted add in the beaten egg and stir into the mixture until it all thickens.
Take the chocolate mixture and combine it with the graham cracker crap until it's all mixed and will hold together.
Press it all into the bottom of the baking pan.  It should be about a 1/2 inch thick.

Combine all ingredients and beat together until it becomes fluffy and smoothly incorporated.
Scoop onto the base layer in the baking pan and smooth out evenly.
Refrigerate for about a 1/2 hour.

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a double boiler until it's smoooooooth and shiny.
Pour over top of the filling layer in the baking pan and smooth it out.
Refrigerate until the chocolate has set.

Cut the bars and eat them.  Store them in the fridge if you must.

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St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.

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Wanda Thorne
St Michael's Choir School is celebrating it's 75th anniversary year of service to St Michael's Cathedral. Part of the school celebration is a trip to Italy where our boys from Grades 5 - 12 will be performing and celebrating Mass. This blog will be chronicling our adventures. Wanda Thorne is the Vocal Coach at St Michael's Choir School. Gerard Lewis is the Grade 7/8 Homeroom teacher at the Choir School.
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