Asparagus Soup with Bacon and Eggs

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This green, wicked-good soup is perfect for a cool spring evening and the recipe is easier to follow than a yellow brick road. Asparagus is an herbaceous, spring vegetable. Water makes up about 93% of its composition. It’s a very good source of vitamin B6, calcium, magnesium and zinc. Serve this with homemade biscuits and a tossed salad, my pretty.

Asparagus Soup with Bacon and Eggs
 
Serves: 4-6
Ingredients
  • 2 leeks, white parts only, sliced thinly
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 2 pounds asparagus, trimmed
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3 hard boiled eggs, sliced
  • 3 slices pancetta, cooked and crumbled
Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan, melt the butter. Stir in the leeks and garlic and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil.
  3. Cut the asparagus into 2 inch pieces, then add to the stock. Cook until softened, about 8 minutes.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat. Transfer the broth to a blender and blend until smooth. Stir in the cream.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, then top with sliced egg and pancetta.

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Pair this with a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. Although this varietal originated in the Bordeaux region of France, I prefer the ones from New Zealand. The NZ wines tend to be more crisp, fresh, and elegant in my opinion. The Sauvignon Blanc was one of the first wines to be bottled with a screwcap, especially by New Zealand producers. Serve slightly chilled.

Science Notes: Science 101 and the effects on “P”

Apparently, the effect of eating asparagus on the eater’s urine has long been observed. “Asparagus transforms my chamber-pot into a flask of perfume” – Marcel Proust (1871-1922). There is debate about whether all or only some people produce the smell, and whether all or only some people can identify it. According to a 2010 study, it is believed that most people produce the odorous compounds after eating asparagus, but only about 22% of the population have the autosomal genes required to smell them.

I remember flying from Los Angeles to Dublin once when the FFG (Flying Food Group) had a chef with a sense of humour, but apparently no sense of smell. The airline actually served two long beautiful stalks of asparagus on our chicken sandwiches during one of the inflight meals. Their homepage cover photo shows a stalk of green asparagus and a stalk of white asparagus tucked under shrimp. What are these people thinking? Lastly on the scientific notes, timing is everything. The onset of asparagus “P” is remarkably rapid. It has been estimated to start 15 to 30 minutes after ingestion.

Movie Night suggestion: Dorothy Gale (probably as in gale force wind) is blown away to a magical land in a tornado and embarks on a quest to see the Wizard who can help her return home in The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Film notes: Margaret Hamilton (green witch extraordinaire), a life-long fan of the Oz books, was over the rainbow when she learned the producers were considering her for a role in the film. When she phoned her agent to find out what part she was up for, her agent simply replied, “The witch, who else?” In addition, many of her scenes were trimmed or deleted entirelly, as her performace was thought too frightening for audiences. Originally contracted for six weeks, she ended up working for 23.

Ultimately, it took 14 writers and five directors to bring L. Frank Baum’s story to the silver screen. The movie’s line “I’ll get you my pretty, and your little dog, too!” was voted as #99 movie quote by the American Film Institute. “Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain” was voted as #24. “There’s no place like home” was voted #11.  “We’re not in Kansas anymore” was voted #62. Nice writing, guys.

Judy Garland had to wear a painful corset device around her torso so that she would appear younger and flat-chested (ouch).

During the scary forest scene, several actors playing the winged monkeys were hurt when the piano wires suspending them snapped and dropped them several feet to the floor of the sound stage (double ouch).

According to actor Jerry Maren, the “munchkins” on the set were paid $50 per week for a 6-day work week, while Toto received $125 per week.

The horses in the Emerald City castle were colored with Jello crystals. The scenes had to be shot quickly, before the horses nibbled it all off.

In 2007, the American Film Institute ranked this film as the #10 Greatest Movie of All Time.

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