Ready for the spring weather and farmers’ market vegetables? I’ve been spending a lot of time at various farmers’ markets in the Lompoc Valley and Santa Maria Valley area. I have been chatting up the farmers who bring their produce to the markets. Doing so means I get to learn how they grow what they bring, why they grow it and what they do with a portion of the sales (1 stand is giving a portion of their money to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life).
13 ounce package of whole wheat linguini pasta
1 pound fresh asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 cup shelled fresh peas (can substitute frozen peas)
2 teaspoons olive or canola oil
3 large garlic cloves, minced
1 pound medium cooked shrimp (if using frozen, thaw according to package directions)
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
Cook pasta for 1 minute less than cooking time listed on package. Drain. Steam asparagus and shelled fresh peas for 5-6 minutes or until tender crisp. Drain and plunge in ice water bath. Heat skillet over medium high heat. Add oil then garlic and saute until light golden brown. Add shrimp, peas, asparagus and 4 tablespoons olive oil and toss. Remove from heat, add basil leaves. Garnish with parmesan cheese.
- Low calorie (40 calories/cup).
- 4 grams of fiber/cup.
- A good source of protein (4 grams/cup).
- An excellent source of vitamin A and C (involved in maintaining eye and skin health and producing collagen which helps to keep your tendons and ligaments strong).
- More than a day’s worth of vitamin K which helps your blood clot to prevent excessive bleeding or bruising.
- An excellent source of folate which helps make the red blood cells that carry oxygen to your muscles.
Asparagus Buying and Storage Tips
- When buying fresh asparagus, look for bright green stalks with tightly closed, compact tips. Stalks should be straight, firm and about 6 to 11 inches in length. Try to avoid stalks with white butts because the white portion is unusable.
- One pound of fresh asparagus will make 4 servings.
- Store fresh asparagus by wrapping the bottom of the stalks in a damp paper towel. Put them in a plastic bag and refrigerate. Plan to use within 2 days.
- Prepare fresh asparagus by first breaking off the butt end of each spear where it snaps easily. Save the woody bases for soup stock if desired. Next, wash the stalks thoroughly and carefully to remove any sand from under scales.