"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dutch and Belgian gold...

Many years ago, when living in my tiny studio apartment back in Ohio, I talked to a neighbor who immigrated from Yugoslavia. He was telling me about missing the differences in cultures in Europe. How each place has its own things...music, foods and nature. At that moment, I had no idea that I would end up immigrating to Holland and really understand what he missed.

Holland has a good number of things that are typical to its culture or country. One of the things it is noted for is what they lovingly call 'Dutch Gold'. It is the white asparagus that comes into its short season in April. Many years ago, Jos took me to Limburg in the south of the country and we had lunch in a cafe. The owner was telling us he had fresh asparagus from a local farm on the menu. I told him I had never eaten white asparagus. He told me I had to try his as he prepares them in a pure and traditional way. Now many may argue how to eat this delicious vegetable but I too find this is the best way...

Be sure you store white asparagus in a damp tea towel in the refrigerator until they will be used. Peel the asparagus with a vegetable peeler. You can buy special ones for asparagus which are wide and at an angle to keep the vegetable flat on the counter as you peel making it easier. Trim off the woody end of the stalk. Place the asparagus in a pan with boiling water for about 20 minutes (we buy the fattest ones as they have a softer taste and these need time to cook). There is a special pan for cooking asparagus which keeps the heads upright and keeps them from getting too soft but you can cook them in any pan large enough. While they are cooking, hard boil an egg and a couple of potatoes.

To serve, stack the cooked asparagus on a plate and drizzle a little melted butter over them, then sprinkle with nutmeg and fresh ground pepper. On the side, place an egg cut in half, a few potatoes and a thin slice of quality ham. This is food at its purest! It is a shame that the asparagus season is so short...

For a dessert, how about a chocolate bonbon from Belgium? I love and only eat dark chocolate. Jos is working a good deal in Belgium and his current client is located right in the center of Brussels near a Leonidas shops. We have tried other brands of Belgian chocolates and keep coming back to Leonidas. Jos is there again today so I am hoping if the meetings are done on time, he will stop in at the shop to get us a box of chocolates...almost all dark except a few white chocolate between for himself. Heaven in a box... *wink*

Care to join me?

15 comments:

Sonja said...

Thatlooks yummie, except for the dark chocolat..I prefer milk or white. But the way you explain how to make 'asperges' sounds like a job I should be able to do myself! Maybe I'll try it the next long weekend!

onlymehere said...

The older I get the more vegetables appeal to me and I have to admit that this asparagus looks yummy! I'd probably never find it in the states though. I'm a milk chocolate girl but again, with age, even chocolate doesn't really tempt me. Lucky me I guess! Hope you and Jos both got a treat after the meeting!

Kaaren said...

And if there's any white asparagus left older...which I doubt there would be...serve it cold for lunch with an olive oil and balsamic vinegrette drizzled over the top. On the side, add some sliced fresh tomatoe, thin slices of your favorite cheese and palm hearts or capers. Pass the crusty bread, please.

And for dessert, some Leonidas chocolate, of course!

We have an antique shop in the little town where I live that carries Leonidas chocolate. Divine!

Mayleen said...

Hmmm, I've never heard of Leonidas chocolates. I'll be right over for a taste test! Ha, so wishing I could.

I've also never have had white asperagus but have eaten a purple variety.

Country Lady said...

That sounds great, and the chocolate looks amazing!

DonnaTN said...

When I was young I thought asparagus was yucky, but my Mom loved it. She would eat some and would roll her eyes back in her head to make us laugh. Now that I am older and wiser, I can't get enough asparagus or dark chocolate!

Nancy said...

Well, I know that chocolate is wonderful. I love it too.
Now as to the meal, hummmmmmm, maybe not.
lol.
Love you, Mom

Jenny said...

Mmmmmm, that white asparagus looks delicious. I honestly have never seen white asparagus,but I do love the green asparagus that I steam here in California. As for dark chocolate......I am definitely addicted. I have to have some chocolate everyday. It looks like someday when I visit Holland I will have to come during the white asparagus season and also plan sometime for Belgium chocolates :)
I hope you are having a good day Heidi!

Anonymous said...

Heidi,

There is a restaurant near me (that I haven't been to in a long long time) that serves this delicious white asparagus salad! Every time we went there, I and another guy would get it and just yum our way through it!!

Linda in VA

Blessedmom's Simple Home said...

I've never tried white asparagus, it isn't sold around here often. However, we love green asparagus around here, so I'll have to keep my eye out for it and give it a try, now that you've explained how to cook it. Does it taste similar?
I love your windmill picture!
Blessings,
Marcia

Elly said...

Lekker, heerlijk zelfs, alletwee. Meer woorden zijn er eigenlijk niet nodig!
Aangezien ik geboren ben in het zuiden ben ik opgegroeid met asperges en toen ik naar Hilversum verhuisde begreep ik niet dat er hier zo weinig asperges gegeten worden. Ik spreek over 33 jaar geleden (oef!), nu is dat wel anders. Er is zelfs in Eemnes een aspergeboerderij!
Fijne Koninginnedag en weekend.

Pondside said...

I haven't had white asparagus for many years - and now I am longing for it!

Terri said...

YUM!

Carolien said...

Mmmm, I love asparagus eaten this way very much! It surely is the best way ... ;)
I hope you can enjoy them many times this year!

Hugs, Carolien

Jennifer said...

That looks sooooo good and I'm so hungry right now, waiting on lunch to cook.

The chocolate, oh my!! Yes, I'll join you!

Jennifer