I was chatting with a friend recently who lives in New York City and she was telling me about the Farmer's Market her daughter's school hosts each Wednesday. The school has a lunch program so it has increased its weekly order of fresh vegetables and fruits with its local suppliers and then sells the surplus. Organized and managed by the eldest grades in the school, the market gives the surrounding community access to a bounty of local produce at a fraction of the cost of fancy organic markets. A great fundraising opportunity for the school, it also offers the neighbourhood access to seasonal food allowing for a farm to table lifestyle in the most unlikely of places.
Since this month is Earth Month and I’m on our school’s environment committee, the idea has me wondering how I can bring something similar to my daughter's school. In the meantime, I’ll happily still support our local farmer’s market where I am, frankly, excited to start seeing some Spring produce. Hello there asparagus, I’ve missed you.
Now that we’ve partnered with Netflix, Scarlett and I are relishing the fact that we can marry our two favourite pastimes: watching a movie and snacking. For instance, we’re looking forward to hunkering down and checking out A Blue Planet: The Natural History of the Oceans and munching on some Crunchy Asparagus Fries. You thought I was going to say chips, didn’t you? Well, we do love a good chip and guacamole event but I find these crispy and cheesy baked stalks of the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant powerhouse pretty yummy, especially if you’ve got a tasty dipping sauce. In fact, on special occasions, when Daddy is away, we’ll have an entire dinner in front of a good show with lots of finger foods. You can count that as a green initiative, can’t you? After all, the reduced dishes means no dishwasher.
Crunchy Asparagus Fries
1 bunch of fresh organic asparagus, cleaned and ends snapped off
1/2 cup spelt flour
1/4 cup panko
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup multi-grain bread crumbs
1 teaspoon ground garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon olive oil
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside. Preheat the oven to 375.
Snap the ends off the asparagus and then wash and lightly pat it dry with a paper towel. Set aside.
Place spelt flour on a plate. In a wide, shallow bowl, whisk the eggs with a fork. Then mix your panko, parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and garlic in another wide, shallow bowl. Now you've got your dredging station ready. Taking three or four stalks of asparagus at a time, coat them in flour, then drop them in the egg. Finally, roll them in the panko mixture and place them on the prepared baking sheet, leaving a bit of space between them. Repeat until you've finished the entire bunch of asparagus. Sprinkle the whole lot with salt and pepper.
Pop the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the breading is golden brown and crisp.
I made a dipping sauce using yogurt, honey and fresh chives but you could basically use any sauce you fancy.