Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Numbering the Days

Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars

Summer makes me forget that I have a blog. Don’t get me wrong, the eating doesn’t stop but somehow the blogging part goes by the wayside. Since starting this blog in May, I have never been more disinterested in baking and blogging than today. As I lay in my bed looking up at the golden beams of sunlight streaming through my window, my thoughts turn to how I could possibly rid myself of the responsibilities of work and squander away the day at the beach. It seems that summer also makes me forget that I have a job.

With only 2 more days until I go on annual leave and 6 more sleeps until Christmas, the imminence of the holiday season makes me grow even more eager with anticipation. If you haven't already noticed I love just love summer. And perhaps it’s the romantic, heady wistfulness I get whenever summer comes around, but whatever that feeling is, I am addicted to it. Summer is when you can throw all caution to the wind and forget about everything else, caring only about the things that really matter.

Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars

While most of you in the northern half of the world will be making snow angels and snow men, eating turkeys and egg nog while sitting in front of a crackling fire; we folks below the equator will be busying ourselves with sand angels and sand castles, while munching on prawns in the heat of the summer sun. Yes, that’s what an Australian Christmas looks like. And although I have always been romanced by thoughts of a white Christmas- a whim agitated by all those Hollywood movies, I am still a sucker for a warm Christmas.

And even though the warm weather has somewhat dried up my motivation for blogging, these gorgeous asparagus cigars are making me fall in love with summer all the more. Other than berries, asparagus are probably summer’s other bounty that I am most passionate about. There is just something about these spears that scream “summer’s here!”

Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars

These cigars are so simple to make and are the perfect appetisers when entertaining. They come out of the oven golden brown and crispy; after cooling them for a couple of minutes they are ready to serve. I filled my cigars with some Grano Padano, however you can fill them with whatever cheese you want.

Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars

Asparagus and Parmesan Cigars

2 dozen bunches of green or white asparagus
24 sheets spring roll wrapper or filo pastry
½ cup Parmesan or Grana Padano cheese, finely grated
sea salt
cracked pepper
olive oil
small cup of water

Preheat oven to 210°C.
Take asparagus and snap off the bottom quarter by simply bending the stalks until they snap or by taking a knife and chopping the last segment from the base.
Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil and blanch asparagus for 1-2 minutes.
Drain asparagus and run under cold water. Set aside.
Take a sheet of spring roll wrapper and sprinkle some cheese, salt and pepper.
Place a stalk of asparagus at one corner of the wrapper and begin to roll the wrapper tightly around the asparagus, seal the end corner by dipping your finger into the cup of water and dampening the corner before closing the cigars.
Repeat process for the remaining asparagus and then lay them on a baking tray, drizzle generously with olive oil and bake for 10-25 minutes or until the cigars are golden brown in colour.
Remove from tray and place on a serving dish to cool.


Patricia Scarpin said...

These look so beautiful, Jenjen!

And using the asparagus itself not only to shape it but also for the flavour was brilliant!

Kristen said...

It is so interesting to me to think about people in various parts of the world celebrating Christmas during the summer. I'm a warm weather kind of gal, so that would be ideal!
Happy Holidays!

wheresmymind said...

Well...even though you may be 'disinterested', you are still making some beautiful food!

Yvo said...

It is so hard for me to read your blog. All the talk of summer makes me sad. But it's not snowing here yet, and it looks like it'd take a true miracle to get some flurries here by Christmas...

ilingc said...

Hey Jen,

That's so nice and easy! You've just given me a great idea for appetisers on Christmas Day! Thanks!

Hope you have a great Christmas!

krista said...

This looks yummy! I don't know if we are going to have a snowy christmas here in New England. The weather has been unusually warm.

Tanna said...

This are really wonderful!!!

Janelle said...

Yum, cannot wait to give these a try!

Dolce said...

What a wonderful idea! But I have to wait until april for our asparagus season here in Germany.
Greetings from Munich and happy X-mas, Claudia

Vintage Wine said...

They look delicious! I love asparagus and I would love to have a bite of those beautiful pieces ;-)

Brilynn said...

Very nice and an excellent use for the phyllo dough that is forever taking over my freezer.

Sara said...

Those are totally gorgeous. I wish I could make some now!

Helen (AugustusGloop) said...

brilliant idea. i have a whole heap of asaparagus in the fridge and this sounds like perfect festive entertainments snacks...

suzy said...

These turned out great! Thank you. A big hit at our Christmas Eve Party.
Thanks again. You have a great blog

jenjen said...

Patricia Scarpin- Thank you. It's so hard to go wrong with asparagus, they are just so visually stunning.

Kristen- I am pretty biased, but a southern hemisphere Christmas has got to be the best.

Although I have never experienced a white Christmas, and would love to at least once, someday.

Wheresmymind- Thanks, I'm sure some inspiration will kick in a bit later. I am in just too much in "holiday mode" to do anything.

yvo- I was hoping all the talk of summer would make people feel less, well, wintery. I'm sorry that I have made you sad. Hopefully you'll get some snow to at least make your winter season worthwile : )

Illingc- Oh yes! They are the perfect party food, portable and delicious!

Krista- I have to say this summer has been unusually mild compared to previous years. Could it be global warming causing all this havoc to our weather patterns?

Tanna- Thanks so much!

Jannelle- Yes, do give them a try, they won't disappoint.

Dolce- Hope you had a wonderful Christmas too!!

Vintage Wine- If only I could send some over to you now through some sort of virtual teletranspoter. They were truly delicious.

Brilynn- That's a good point indeed, they are a great way to use up all that pastry that seems to collect in everyone's freezers.

Sara- You might have to wait a lttle while to see some asparagus in your corner of the world, although this recipe will be waiting for you, when that time comes around : )

Helen- Too right, they are the perfect appetisers for any party and as you said they just look so festive. Hope you had a wonderful Christmas.

Suzy- I'm so glad to hear that they turned out great. They are so easy to make and look spectacular in the end. A great food for any occassion, I say!
I hope your Christmas was merry!