For the first 10 years of my life I must admit that I was a full-blown lachanophobe. “Lachanophobia is an unwarranted or an irrational fear of vegetables. The word originates from Greek Lachno meaning vegetables and Phobos meaning fear or aversion.” (Source: Fearof.net)”
Perhaps it was my Irish-American mother’s way of cooking everything to the point of overly-well-done, or the ease and availability of frozen or canned vegetables? These, coupled with my five older siblings who were forever trying to convince me that whatever I ate next was either poisonous or it was going to make my hands and feet to grow webbing. To say that I hated vegetables would be an understatement.
So what changed? When I turned 10 years old, my mother, who was working a full-time job, put me in charge of cooking dinner for the family. Weekdays after school, she would leave a note for me with broad guidelines (chicken, pasta, etc.), however, the specifics were left up to my creative imagination along with the help of a plethora of recipe books on our kitchen bookshelf. Thus my love affair with vegetable blossomed.
Fresh vegetables will always be my first choice however some frozen vegetables can be quite user-friendly.
The first time I ate willingly put a piece of asparagus in my mouth was at a dinner hosted by a client of my boyfriend (future husband). Since it was mid-January, it was canned asparagus that was overcooked and quite slimy. Before I tasted it, I made certain to have a full glass of water on hand in case I had to do a full-swallow. Thankfully, it was drizzled with a home-made hollandaise sauce that made it surprisingly palatable. I learned three lessons that evening – 1. Not everything tastes like it did when you were 6 years old. 2. A sauce can really make (or save) a meal. 3. When going to a person’s house for dinner for the first time, eat a snack beforehand.
My three favorite ways to enjoy asparagus are grilled (brushed with olive oil and then seasoned with sea salt & pepper), sautéed (lightly steamed, then sautéed with canola oil, drizzled with soy sauce and sesame seeds) and roasted (tossed with olive oil, high-heat roasted and then covered with parmesan cheese). See below for full recipes.
To find fresh asparagus and other seasonal fruits and veggies in the Finger Lakes region, please visit the Agriculture page under our "To Do" tab on our homepage. And if you aren't in the mood to cook, you can find a number of amazing Farm-to-Table restaurants on our Dining page, also under our "To Do" tab.
Grilled Asparagus with Yummy Dipping Sauce
1 pound Asparagus, washed and trimmed
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil
5 Tablespoons mayonnaise
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Salt & Pepper
*Place dried asparagus on a rimmed plate and drizzle with oil. Roll asparagus to cover completely.
*Place asparagus on a hot grill and turn every minute or so, you don’t want it to get too charred. Maximum grill time should be 5-6 minutes.
*For Yummy Sauce, place mayonnaise in a small bowl, add mustard and lemon and stir until fully combines.
*For best taste, serve as finger food, dipping the asparagus into the Yummy Sauce!
Roasted Asparugus with Parmesan
1-2 lbs. Fresh Asparagus, washed and trimmed
4-6 Tablespoons olive oil
½ - ¾ cup Parmesan Cheese (or more if you wish!)
*Preheat oven to 425 degrees
*Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with cooking spray.
*Using a pastry brush, brush each asparagus spear with olive oil and put on baking sheet, spacing about 1/8 inch apart.
*Put baking sheet in oven and let roast for 10 – 12 minutes (it will depend on how thick spears are.)
*Take baking sheet out of oven, push spears together and sprinkle the cheese over the asparagus.
*Place baking sheet back in oven for an additional 4-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.