Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Aw Yeah, Here Are the Results of the Wheat Germ Challenge...

I'm ready!! I'm ready!!

...Wait, I'm not ready.

Can anyone tell me what this is?

Well, then, damn it, I'm not ready.

Why hasn't anyone made the application for Google yet where you can just upload a picture of something and then ask what it is? That would be useful right now. Because I got this is in my Vietnamese takeout container a couple days ago, and now it is an integral part of my wheat germ challenge recipe.

Anyhoo, other than the fact that I used a mystery herb (hoping some of my Foodbuzz friends will be able to lend a hand here??), this went swimmingly. I hope to make Baffling Ingredient a common recurrence, if not a rigid feature, on the Chickenless Kitchen. Face it, people, I do have to work sometimes... sometimes. Once in a blue moon.

Without further ado, I made Back to School Granola Bars by Sunshine Mom:

I made them to the very best of my ability.

I made them without letting my ADD take over.

Except for the part where I excluded the chocolate chips, subbed extra wheat germ for Smart Balance, and crumpled one up to sprinkle over asparagus.

Right. Hopeless.

Granola Asparagus


2 tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, sliced thin
1 lb. asparagus spears
2/3 c. vegetable or other light broth
2 Tbsp natural, unsweetened peanut butter
1 tsp. lime juice
1 Tbsp. mystery herb (I'm pretty sure Thai basil could sub in a pinch)
1 1/2 tsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. rice vinegar
1 of Sunshine Mom's incredible Back to School Granola Bars


Blanch the asparagus spears. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-low. Add the garlic slices and swish them around for a few minutes. Just before they start to brown, discard them.

Raise heat to medium-high. Add the asparagus spears to the garlic-infused oil in the pan and saute until cooked through, about seven minutes. Remove the asparagus and plate it, reserving as much oil in the pan as possible. Cover the asparagus to keep it warm.

Turn the heat back down to medium-low. Be patient. I know, it's hard for me too.

Add the remaining ingredients, minus the granola bar, to the pan. Cook, stirring, until the mixture starts to bubble.

Separate the asparagus onto two separate serving plates. Pour the sauce over. Divide the granola bar in half. Crumple each half over a serving. Serves 2.

Thanks very much to Sunshine Mom once again for her delicious recipe! Before you go accusing me of bastardizing it, let me just say in my defense that I bastardized it with a Vitamix.

Have you seen this sucker in action? Here are my peanuts:

Here are my peanuts ten seconds later:


You're going to think I work for Vitamix at this point, but I don't. The fact is, I've just never seen anything like it. Thirty more seconds, and I would have had peanut butter.

Is it a new toy, you ask? Oh no, it is not a new toy. I've had it over two years, and I've never had to sharpen the blades. It's just that good. Highly recommend it to anyone who believes in the necessity of owning both a blender and a food processor... this puppy has two different processing bowls, one for dry ingredients (like if you want to make peanut butter out of whole roasted peanuts) and one for wet (like if you want to make smoothies, soup, etc.), and they both work their magic like nothing I've ever seen in a kitchen.

For those of you who didn't see my earlier post, I've been inspired by Michelle Gienow's article about eating responsibly on a food stamp budget. I plan to spend all day tomorrow looking up local sources for protein. Because even being poor, I can't stand buying from irresponsible sources for one more week. I have to do the best I can; despite being here in Orlando, which in my opinion is a desert for responsibly-raised food products. Don't get me wrong- I love being here, and if I didn't, I would leave in a heartbeat. I just want to do some research and see if it's possible to have my cake and eat it too.

Will have some results for you tomorrow night. Til then, thanks to all who participated in the wheat germ project, and hope to see your entry in the next Baffling Ingredient challenge!

Beat the eggs. Whip the cream. Show no mercy.


redkathy said...

Awesome post!! How creative that granola asparagus is. I know all about ADD, just read some of my posts or even my comments and you will surely agree. Seems I don't have the control that you display.

Anonymous said...

Wow... that sounds SO delish! Great idea, ADD aside ;-)

Anonymous said...

Maybe Culantro? Check out this website http://www.specialtyproduce.com/index.php?item=2723. It says that culantro is popular in Puerto Rico, but I saw other websites that said it is also used in Vietnamese cuisine, which explains why you found it where you did.

Tasty Trix said...

I second the culantro suggestion - it is definitely used in Asian cuisine and I just saw some at an Asian market. Does t smell kind of like cilanro, only more so? Bonus: you can use it to make your own soffrito!

Tasty Eats At Home said...

I think the previous suggestions about culantro are good. I was thinking sorrel but I doubt that's included in Vietnamese cuisine.

wasabi prime said...

POW -- by the Power of Greyskull, that blender is awesome! I love the combination of granola and asparagus. I applaud your bold pairing, as asparagus is one of those unique foods that can be tricky for other ingredients to make nice with but you clearly have taken the time to get to know asparagus and introduce it to flavors good enough to bring home to meet mom n' dad.

Sunshine Mom said...

so glad you liked the granola bars. I LOVE that you used them on asparagus and am going to try that myself!!

Fresh Local and Best said...

Is that Vietnamese herb Rau Ram? Rau Ram is related to cilantro.

Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite said...

Great post! I love the idea of the baffling ingredient challenge!

Experimental Culinary Pursuits said...

hmm granola and asparagus? Definitely something I haven't heard of before! Very creative!

The Chickenless Chick said...

Ah-HA! Culantro! Yes, I've heard of it often, but didn't think of it when I was playing Sherlock Holmes last night. And yes, Tasty Trix, it does smell like a more intense version of cilantro. I am pretty sure that's what it is.

Regarding Rau Ram, I looked it up as well, and according to this picture it doesn't look as similar as culantro does: http://park.org/Pavilions/FoodAndMarkets/Herbs/qr_034.htm

But I am nonetheless happy to learn about it, as I had never heard of it before and learning about food makes me happy.

Thanks so much for all your sweet comments and helpful input!

nicole (Making Good Choices) said...

I love this post - What a creative recipe to add great flavor AND crunch to asparagus. I am also drooling over your vitamix!