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Local Foods Tuesday: Asparagus Apologia

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Cashew-Cilantro Pesto over Ravioli, Roasted Asparagus, & Mushrooms

Okay, okay, so we didn’t mean to piss off the vegans, but somewhere in between dead babies and an ontological inquiry into the humble mollusk, we lost sight of what’s really important: good, fresh, locally grown food.

In an attempt to put our money where our (hungry) mouth is, we visited the Farmer's Market at Santa Monica's 3rd Street Promenade this weekend. We were delighted to discover a rainbow of fingerling potato varieties, Oxnard strawberries bursting with sugary juice, small, intensely sweet cherries, and huge bouquets of exotic desert flowers. The asparagus is having a great season, too: there’s big asparagus and skinny asparagus and regular asparagus and they’re all shiny and smell of green.

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Here are two easy and unique recipes that highlight roasted asparagus. Roasting is a great way to bring out the natural sweetness of asparagus, plus it softens stalks that can often be tough or fibrous. These quick meals also use lots of ingredients that can found at any neighborhood Farmer's Market, and can be adapted to be vegetarian or vegan-friendly (consider this my asparagus apologia). Each recipe makes enough food for two people with ample leftovers that will taste great the next day.

Recipes for Asparagus Pepperoni Pasta with Balsamic Sauce and Roasted Asparagus Ravioli with Cashew-Cilantro Pesto below the jump.

Picture by Carrie Meathrell via flickr.