Seasonal Sundays (Week 16) Asparagus Season!

Seven recipes for spring's best vegetable, all easy asparagus ideas for weeknight meals, from sides to soups to suppers. I hope you'll find one or two destined as "keepers" in your own asparagus repertoire.

Seasonal Sundays, a weekly newsletter ♥, a seasonal collection of recipes and life ideas in and out of the kitchen.

Welcome to Seasonal Sundays ...

Hey, all. Thank you for following Kitchen Parade, for checking in on these Sunday recipe collections. It means the world to be welcomed into your InBox and RSS readers and most of all, your kitchens. So thank you, thank you. And if you like this week's recipes, perhaps you'll share them with a friend or social circle?

Our asparagus patch is ... producing, sort of. The first "crop" added up to exactly three spears, the maximum yield, so far, is maybe five. We don't even bother to cook 'em, just eat those sweet oh-so-tender spears only minutes from the ground.

So in some parts of the country, the farmers markets will be bundled with local asparagus. But no shame, that supermarket asparagus? So good too!

So go ahead, gorge. Tis the season.

In Praise Of ...

  • ... Mary Quant, the British fashion designer and "mother of the miniskirt" who passed away at 93 this week. When my mom and her sister once visited family in England, Mom brought home for me a natty knitted wool (yes, mini) skirt and vest. I was still a tween but already long-legged and remember feeling oh-so-chic in that rosy, millennial-pink getup. I hadn't thought of that outfit nor of Mary Quant herself in years. Turns out, she was the same age as my mom, who herself dreamed of a career in fashion and until the end was always sketching, designing, sewing. That Mary Quant set? It was probably the first store-bought clothing ever to hit my closet because Mom made everything, from undies to overcoats.
  • ... long and winding podcasts to pull me through days-and-days-and-more-damn-days of tedious painting. I really loved Holy Week from the Atlantic (especially its long pauses, letting you take in the import of what happened after the assassination of Martin Luther King in 1968, the reverberations our country feels yet today) and Havana Syndrome from Reveal (is it a weapon? a natural occurrence of minds?).
  • ... and because Netflix is SUCH a boring timesuck these days, let me recommend an almost comic portrayal of real people helping writers, artists and other refugees flee southern France early in the Second World War, see Transatlantic.

Democracy Matters

The country needs calm, thoughtful and assertive voices amid the chaos inflicted by a minority hellbent on taking/retaining generational power by strangling democratic principles and equal rights. Perhaps it was once enough to just vote. No more. But none of us have to personally change the world. We just have to do our part.

I've been following Simon Rosenberg for a few months now. And while he's finding his legs speaking to a more "retail" audience than his fellow long-time political organizers, he's also very much pushing us all to "think bigger".

You can subscribe for free (although there is a paid option) on Substack, Hopium Chronicles with Simon Rosenberg.

I especially recommend two pieces, Strive for 55, a push/pull to achieve 55% of the vote and Not Obeying in Advance, an admonition to not give in before the fight even begins.

What's Going On with Yeast?

First, a reminder. There are two basic kinds of commercial yeast, "active-dry yeast" and "instant" yeast. (Sadly, fresh yeast is virtually impossible to find anymore, at least in my stores. I know, I know, European bakers are thinking, Whaattt?)

For years, I've considered them as interchangeable. Yeast is yeast, right?

Now the common wisdom is that active-dry yeast needs proofing (that is, letting the yeast bloom with a warm liquid and a little sugar for a few minutes, letting it bubble up and prove it's alive and working) but instant yeast doesn't. I suspect this is why instant yeast is some times the only yeast on the shelf, anymore. It's reliable, it's predictable, it's pretty much fool-proof.

But ... is it?

Since the start of the pandemic, when we alllllll started baking bread and yeast was difficult to find, I've been noticing that my bread dough, well, it's just not rising well.

Without really thinking, I started to make adjustments.

  • I got new yeast, I still buy it a pound at a time, even though I don't bake bread as often.
  • I kept a packet's worth of yeast in the cupboard so that anytime I wanted to make bread, the yeast would already be at room temperature vs cold from the fridge.
  • I started using the oven as that "warm place" for letting bread dough rise, heating it to 180F, then letting it cool down so that it wouldn't be too hot.

But then last week when I made Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday, I proofed the instant yeast and man, that dough rose like a champ and the buns were soooo light and lovely.

Then I saw a note in a new baking cookbook and the author says she always proofs yeast, both active-dry and instant.

Thoughts??? Who else is proofing instant yeast?

May I Suggest ... a Link?

Let me just presume that if you're reading this, well, you're both a cook and a recipe collector. Don't the two kinda go together? And that means you tuck aside interesting recipes all over the place and then, dang, where is that chicken recipe that looked so good anyway? Here's an idea. Start a folder on your phone, call it "Kitchen Parade" or "Alanna" or whatever makes best sense to you. Then save the recipes you're most interested in right there in one place. Easy Peasy.


Asparagus Spears with Easy Lemon-Mayo Dip, another quick, healthy vegetable appetizer ♥ Just three ingredients!

Easy Sautéed Asparagus, another quick healthy vegetable ♥ Loaded with garlic plus optional anchovies.

Roasted Asparagus with Feta ♥ Roasted without oil and topped with warm, melty feta. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly.

Everyday-to-Elegant Asparagus Soup ♥, one recipe for either rustic or refined asparagus soup, a spring classic. Weight Watchers Friendly. Rave Reviews!

Asparagus Tapenade, another healthy vegetable appetizer ♥ Fresh & Seasonal. Low Carb. Weight Watchers Friendly. Great for Meal Prep. Vegan. Gluten Free.

Asparagus Risotto, the spring classic ♥, except lighter, with more flavor, thanks to a gorgeous Aspargus Stock that uses the whole spear. Weeknight Easy, Weekend Special. Gluten Free.

Roasted Salmon & Asparagus ♥, ever so simple, just salmon and fresh asparagus roasted together, easy enough for a weeknight, elegant enough for company.

Tired of same-old steamed asparagus? Find new inspiration in this collection of seasonal Asparagus Recipes ♥, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special. Many Weight Watchers, vegan, gluten-free, low-carb, paleo, whole30 recipes.


Dang spammers. But I've turned comments back on because I miss hearing from y'all!

Brown Rice & Quinoa Rice Pudding ♥, a healthy way to make rice pudding, with quinoa and brown rice, cooked on the stove or baked in the oven.

Looking Ahead ...

  • April 22 - Earth Day
  • May 1 - May Day
  • May 5 - Cinco de Mayo
  • May 6 - Derby Day
  • May 14 - Mother's Day
  • May 29 - Memorial Day

Looking Back ...

A Quick Peek Into a Real-Life Kitchen

Just so you know, everything's not all pretty pictures around here, in the background is a pile of dirty dishes. And just like many (all?) of us, come five o'clock, I too draw a blank about what to make for supper, despite so many recipes I so dearly love. Here's a quick peek from the last week, not including the oatmeal, salad dressing and sautéed greens on repeat this time of year.

Dill Pickle Pasta Salad ♥ A real hit with pickle fans, served warm or chilled.
  • THIS WEEK Wanna be a star at your next potluck? Make this pasta salad your contribution. This got major kudos from multiple people (who had no idea I'd made it) at our family Easter egg hunt.
  • THE RECIPE Dill Pickle Pasta Salad A surprising pickle-y combination, a favorite for potlucks and pickle fans. (PIN This)

How to Cook Asparagus in the Microwave ♥ Weeknight Easy. Weight Watchers Friendly. Vegan.

Simple Arugula Salad, another simple but special light salad ♥ Vegan. Weeknight Easy, Company Special. Gluten Free. Low Carb. Whole30 Friendly. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • THIS WEEK Thank you, Trader Joe's for making arugula so accessible. I can't tell you how often I turn to this extraordinarily simple green salad. And it was the perfect addition to Easter lunch, quiche, the asparagus and a light salad.
  • THE RECIPE Simple Arugula Salad So simple, so sumptuous.

Baked Bacon ♥, how to cook bacon in the oven, so easy, soon you'll be bakin' bacon too!
  • THIS WEEK Now I will say this. The teenage twins were not much impressed by Easter lunch but maybe that's because they filled up on a bacon-centric Charcuterie Board, just a pile of bacon in the center surrounded by bites/slices of cheese and a few vegetables.
  • THE RECIPE Baked Bacon How to cook perfect bacon in the oven.

Twice-Smoked Ham ♥, how and why to smoke a smoked ham a second time for Easter, Christmas and holiday hams.
  • THIS WEEK The resident smoker (that'd be my husband) invested in a new smoker late last year and is hot, ahem, to smoke all kinds of everything. This week, he cold-smoked (vs hot-smoked) the already-cooked, already-smoked bone-in whole ham. The smoky flavor was amazing! But we also learned, the hard way, how important it is to then (later or the next day) bring the ham up to temperature for serving. It just needs to be hot and juicy! And unfortunately, one hour at 350F wrapped in heavy foil (to prevent drying out) wasn't enough. Still working on this variation ...
  • THE RECIPE Twice-Smoked Ham How & why to smoke a smoked ham a second time. (PIN This)

Ham & Beans ♥, an easy, budget-friendly one-pot supper that makes best use of a leftover ham bone. High Protein. Weight Watchers Friendly.
  • THIS WEEK We've been livin' on beans all week, thanks to a days-long, tedious paint project. Nobody's complaining though! I just can't recommend this recipe enough. Have I had the butcher cut a bone-in ham in quarters, just to make ham 'n' beans? Yes ma'am and glad of it.
  • THE RECIPE Ham & Beans How to make Ham & Beans with a leftover ham bone. (PIN This)

Just Updated!

Sugar Cookie Bars ♥ All the colorful deliciousness, none of the cookie cutter and decorating fuss.

Don't Be a Stranger ...

I'd love to hear from you. Comment, send me a quick e-mail (my current address is in the FAQs), dot-dash in Morse code, build a fire for smoke signals, launch a message in a bottle, send a Christmas letter, get the dog to yip, toss me a note wrapped in a rubberband, write a message in the sky, scratch a note in the sand, listen to a seashell, tuck a question into a plastic Easter egg, whatever.

Kitchen Parade is written by second-generation food columnist Alanna Kellogg and features fresh, seasonal dishes for every-day healthful eating and occasional indulgences. Quick Suppers are Kitchen Parade favorites and feature recipes easy on the budget, the clock, the waistline and the dishwasher. Do you have a favorite recipe that other Kitchen Parade readers might like? Just send me a quick e-mail, you'll find my current address in the FAQs. How to print a Kitchen Parade recipe. Never miss a recipe! If you like this recipe, sign up for a free e-mail subscription. If you like Kitchen Parade, you're sure to like my food blog about vegetable recipes, too, A Veggie Venture. When you make my recipes, I'd love to know your results! Just leave a comment below or better still, on the specific recipe's page.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Anonymous4/16/2023

    We had the sugar cookie bars last week and they were fantastic! I'd been looking for a recipe like that for years!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. But I also love hearing your reactions, your curiosity, even your concerns! When you've made a recipe, I especially love to know how it turned out, what variations you made, what you'll do differently the next time. ~ Alanna