Bruce Haas delivering asparagus

It just doesn’t get better than this: at your door service from my CSA farmer. I am a very lucky green gal!

Actually, he came last week AND this week. Once again this year, I’ll be joining the Daydream Farms CSA, which is why Bruce Haas has already delivered my first two pounds of right-out-of-the-ground asparagus. I am a lucky green gal. I’ll bring my check for the first quarter of the market season with me next week—on my bike, rain or shine! And I’ll just add the asparagus into the total. That’s how a CSA works among neighbors and friends. Is this the year you join a CSA? There’s no better way to support local small farms, fix healthy meals for your family and force yourself to be creative and brave in the kitchen.

It is exactly one week from today when the Land of Goshen Community Market opens for the 2016 season, celebrating its 20th year as a local treasure. I’m feeling impatient, excited and truly, truly grateful for the bounty in my life.

Since my friend Deb was traveling out of town last week, I wanted to give her a super send-off dinner. Of course, that asparagus was the star of the show. I used one pound to make my rich and decadent Cream of Asparagus Leek Soup. To give it the extra special Green Gal touch, I used a finishing oil gifted to me by my friend Mary Lynn. Mary Lynn had just returned from New Hampshire and brought back a sampler bag of fancy, locally produced culinary oils and vinegars from Monadnock Oil & Vinegar Co. Yes, my friends really know me very well and are incredibly generous—especially if I cook for them!

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Here are two ways to clean leeks, which can be quite dirty and difficult to clean.

leeks sliced lengthwise

If you want to grill your leeks and some of the tender part of their greens, slice lengthwise and wash.

If you are planning to grill your leeks or serve them in a dish where they need to retain their length, remove the tough top leaves and the root end and slice them lengthwise. Hold them under cold running water to remove the dirt and sand from their layers. Be thorough here; nobody thinks of “gritty” as a good way to describe what they just ate.

If you don’t need to worry about the shape of your leeks, as in my soup recipe, chop off the tough top leaves and the root end.

sliced leeks soaking in a bowl of water and a tablespoon of vinegar

For a pureed soup, the shape of your chopped leeks don’t matter, and cleaning is super easy by washing sliced leeks in a bowl.

Chop your leeks up through the light green part into rings. Place all the leek rings in a bowl of cold water and use your hands to remove all the dirt and sand as you separate the rings. Transfer to a colander and give them a good rinse.

Do you have a favorite asparagus recipe? How about leeks? Please share. And stay tuned… the next post will come fresh from the market!