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Sure I can pinch hit What's for Dinner, I told Kate and Runs With Scissors (formerly known as someone else). I've certainly bailed a bunch of times and they've filled in for me so yes, I would be honored, I said.

And that was the last I thought about it for the week until about 10 minutes ago it seems like. No problem I thought, most of them are spontaneous for me and put together the afternoon they are published when it's my turn. I suspect that deadline flirtation is the result of working in the television news business for 15 years - the one thing I can say with certainty after all those years is that 6pm comes at the same time every day. So here I am facing that 6pm deadline without a damn idea what to write about. My stomach is growling; I keep looking in the pantry to see if anything palatable has moved in since the last time I looked about 15 minutes ago, ditto for opening the refrigerator. Nothing it seems is going to satiate my need for food or my need for a topic this evening for dinner.

So, like much of my life, it's going to be on a wing and with a bit of luck.  

Consider this to be a sort of open thread buffet. All the usual rules about buffets apply here:

  • Never, ever take a first date to a buffet. I don't care if you are in Las Vegas or Atlantic City, just don't do it.
  • Don't take more than you can eat. The concept is already gluttonous enough without more food waste because you were eating with your eyes.
  • Don't bring your dirty plates back to the buffet. Don't worry, someone will be by to clear them pronto.
  • Do use the serving utensils.
  • Please don't sneeze on the food. Nor is it considered polite to pick your nose or scratch the scalies off your head while you are in line trying to grab as many crab legs as will fit on your plate.
  • Leave a tip; those people clearing the plates after your display of gluttony deserve a living wage too.

One of the things I love about spring is asparagus. I can practically live on the stuff. Now that I am going to be paying the mortgage on the dirt under my fingernails, I'm so looking forward to planting a bed of it. I've never grown any since being a renter made me by nature transient. Luckily, living in the more rural part of NJ, my craving is easy to satisfy with real homegrown Jersey Fresh asparagus from a nearby farm stand. My favorite way to cook is on the grill.

Lemony Grilled Asparagus

Break the tough ends off the stalks and peel the remaining lower part.

In a long dish, sprinkle some peanut or olive oil on them.

Follow with the juice of a lemon.

Add a small handful of kosher salt (go heavy - it won't make the asparagus salty as most of it ends up in the fire or back in the quick marinade)

Roll it all around in your dish to coat evenly.

Immediately place on a medium hot grill (have a water spray nearby to douse the flamage!) and cook and turn until slightly browned. They only take a few minutes.  

Those brown spots from the heat are the natural sugars forming.

Be careful not to overcook. Allow to cool slightly and in an effort to make them special for kids, insist they are eaten with fingers.

That Jersey Fresh website by the way, kicks ass. It's a great use of tax dollars if you ask me. I discovered last summer many in New Jersey didn't know it exists so if that is you, check it out. They have recipes, and a listing of local farmstands. I think there is also a Jersey seafood site as well covering the delicacies from our nearby ocean. The NJ Department of Agriculture is one the things that is done very right here in Jersey. The Rutger's Cooperative Extension is another outstanding agency for us here.

So, I'm getting civil unionized married in a week. We aren't making a big deal out of the actual vows as we are having a real wedding celebration with our friends and families in September. Even then, the plan is a big tent in the yard and we're thinking pig roast food wise. I guess once you get older and tackle half your working life, spending a gazillion dollars on a weddings seems kind of frivolous, especially since we just bought said house and would rather spend that money on a new bathroom or something. Anyone in central Jersey know any good pig roasters?

But for Tuesday, I think we are just going to have a couple friends present to witness and then retire back to the new home and have some champagne amidst the boxes.  Lord knows it's going to be a hell of week next week. We close on Thursday, move in on Monday, and get married on Tuesday. I hope we haven't over-scheduled </snark>. I think on Wednesday I'll plant my garden. That part I'm only half-joking about but both of our schedules are weird and since I just started in new job in January, my time off is really limited and those just happen to correspond. I'm going to have to be a bad foodie and just get a plate of sandwiches and pastries for that Tuesday to sop up the champagne.

What are some memorable foods offered at weddings you've attended in the past? I've had many forgettable things offered to me, that much I know. It's usually overcooked fish or chicken and wimpy veggies. I think the only good one was a couple that were Asian and their wedding was done in traditional Shinto style. The meal was cooked table side by the chefs they hired.

And dinner tonight?  I think it's grilled cheese for me. I had some leftover Mexican Shrimp cocktail earlier when I got home from work that was quite satisfying. This new place in town serves it and the sauce has little chunks of avocado in it and is unique. I think it may be tomato juice based but am still trying to dissect it. The thing is, it doesn't have the texture of regular tomato sauce nor the sweetness of ketchup and the thickness is all wrong for plain tomato juice. I should just ask but since I go there and order it somewhat frequently as I try to dissect it, I don't think they'll be that forthcoming.

What's on your tongue tonight, fellow foodie?


Originally posted to tvb on Sat Apr 28, 2007 at 02:30 PM PDT.

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