The other day the girls and I were in the car, going to meet Alex at the Shack so that he could take over kid duty and I could go to work. Sally was dressed up so that she could "help" for a few minutes before they went home to have dinner and take a tub. As we were crossing Railroad Ave, she piped up from the back seat. 

"Sorry, Mama," she said. 

"Why are you sorry, Sal?" I asked.

"Sorry, Mama. You have two kids!" I asked her why this made her sorry. "Well right now Nora's a baby, Mama," she explained. "But when she grows up you're going to have two kids! Two kids is a lot of work."

I have no idea if she came up with this on her own, or if she overheard this sort of refrain from me or another adult. Either way it was a good reminder: two kids is a lot of work, and it is also exactly what I've always wanted. 

I told myself this story again this morning, after a night when Sally wet the bed and Nora spiked a fever and my Tuesday that was planned for daycare and working on a new radio show turned into a day that is sure to be filled instead with nursing and laundry and drying tears. But I have two sweet, healthy girls, and nothing is more important. 

I don't have long before Nora wakes up again. But before I go there's one more thing I'd like to share. The asparagus is up, and we've picked it twice. It is everything that winter is not: green, snappy, pungent. Blanched and salted and cut into two-inch lengths, then tossed with peppery arugula, creamy Parmesan, and a drizzle of olive oil and lemon juice, it tastes like relief. I think spring is finally here, friends.


This is so simple it seems a bit silly to call it a recipe, but here it is. It really only works with very fresh asparagus—we cut it right before dinner, so the stems are still snappy and supple. 

a handful of asparagus spears (about half a bunch that would be sold in a store or market)
several handfuls of arugula (about 1/4 pound)
Parmesan, for shaving
juice of 1/2 lemon
good, strong olive oil (I like unfiltered best)
sea salt and pepper to taste

Cut the asparagus into two-inch lengths and place in a shallow saucepan with water. Bring the water to a boil and steam for 1-2 minutes, or until the asparagus is barely fork-tender. Drain and plunge into ice water.

Meanwhile, arrange the arugula in a salad bowl. Use a carrot peeler to grate Parmesan ribbons over top. Add the asparagus, squeeze the lemon juice over top, and drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, then toss gently and serve at once.


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All text, photographs, and other original material copyright 2008-2010 by Elspeth Hay unless otherwise noted.