As a kid, I remember sitting hunched on the floor, playing pick-up sticks with my brothers.
I’d hold my breath as I gingerly tried to pull a stick out of the pile without toppling the whole shebang. All the while, my brothers would joke around, trying to make me laugh, so that my already trembling fingers would fumble the task at hand.
I’m not sure who won most of those matches. But I do know it definitely made me learn the art of focus and blocking out distractions.
In this day and age of all electronics all the time, does anyone even possess that old-school game any more?
Maybe not. I know I haven’t played it in eons. Still, this fun dish brought back those childhood memories.
“Asparagus Pastry Straws” is made for picking up with your fingers.
Long spears of spring asparagus lend themselves to that anyway. But add a twisty rope of puff pastry all around each spear and you know resistance is futile.
This creative, effortless recipe is from “The Forest Feast For Kids” (Abrams), of which I received a review copy.
It’s by the multi-talented Bay Area writer and artist Erin Gleeson, whose whimsical illustrations and photographs give the book such a distinctive look. Gleeson is also the creator of the winsome blog, The Forest Feast.
This recipe, along with quite a few others, also appeared in her first book, “The Forest Feast: Simple Vegetarian Recipes From My Cabin in the Woods” (Stewart, Tabori and Chang).
The recipes in her kids’ book are all vegetarian. There’s a wholesomeness to them that will appeal to parents, and yet still entice kids. Who wouldn’t want to nosh on “Lemon Ricotta Crostini with Honey”? Or “Butternut Quesadillas”? Or “Strawberry Salsa”?
I love asparagus, and long for its first appearance each spring.
I also adore anything with puffed pastry.
Put the two together and it’s double the happiness.
Just defrost the puff pastry in your fridge overnight. Then, cut thin strips to wind around the spears. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and grated parmesan before baking.
I found that I had to turn my spears to get them evenly browned, so I added that step in the recipe.
It’s a dish both kids and adults will enjoy. It even makes for an ideal party snack.
After all, food doesn’t get more playful than this.
Asparagus Pastry Straws
1 to 2 bunches of asparagus (about 30 stalks)
1 sheet of puff pastry (2 sheets typically come in a 17-ounce or 480-g box), defrosted in the refrigerator overnight
Oil, for greasing the baking sheet
1 to 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Cut puff pasty into 1/4-inch strips.
Wrap 1 pastry strip around each asparagus stalk. Trim ends.
Arrange on a greased baking sheet and sprinkle with parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.
Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden. You may need to rotate the asparagus to get the pastry to brown evenly.
Enjoy warm or at room temperature, alone or with your favorite dip.
Adapted from “The Forest Feast for Kids” by Erin Gleeson
More Asparagus Recipes to Try: Danny Meyer’s Roasted Asparagus Gratin