Sour Cream of Asparagus Soup with Tarragon

More picnic food!

Every year or two, there’s a new version of cold asparagus soup in my kitchen. Recently, when asparagus was on sale for a song (what else is $1.49 a pound these days?), I made it twice in one week and decided it was high time to update the recipe for the summer of 2022.  I know soup seems cold weather-ish sort of food, but truly it’s not. If you skip around the blog, you’ll see soup in beaucoup variations because to cook seasonally (or even if you don’t), is to find ingredients just perfect for soups and stews summer, fall, winter, and spring. And occasionally a pot of cold weather bean soup or beef stew calls your name about mid-July when grilling is feeling a tish tiresome or a chilly wind and rain hits town. At that point, you give in and stir up all the warm goodness you can in a great big pot.

I make asparagus soup (hot or cold depending on the month) nearly anytime because we have Fed Ex asparagus January – December. And while asparagus is an early spring favorite vegetable in most areas, it has yet to arrive in full force in Colorado yards, though it also grows wild according to one faithful local reader… My second-year plants are beautifully ferny, but no stalks yet I’m sad to say. Next year in Jerusalem.

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Asparagus for Lunch, Asparagus for Dinner…


I’m about to grab Dave, shove him on a plane, rent a car, and head for northern Michigan to watch spring arrive, drink wine with friends, hunt morels, and just sit around watching my favorite lake in the whole wide world. If it’s warm enough, we’ll spend a little time in a canoe or kayak.

While we’re gone, it’s asparagus time. I wondered if you might not like a roundup of the best of the blog asparagus posts so that you have something good and fun to cook for a couple of weeks. Scroll through and see what you like.  Enjoy spring cooking, get out the grill, and be well….  Catch you later when May flowers are blooming.

             Swordfish with Ginger-Asparagus Rice and Mango Salsa Continue reading

Mozzarella French Toast Sandwiches with Marinara Dip and Asparagus-Fennel Soup with Pistachio Pesto


This week’s cooking class, SPRING BRUNCH, still has an opening for Wednesday, 4/29, 5-8pm; let me know!  Make any quiche,  then make your own favorite breakfast sausage. Top it off with Bananas Foster Bread pudding with Caramel Sauce.  List of upcoming classes and registration info located at the top, right corner of blog under CURRENT CLASSES. Can’t wait to cook with you.

When the rest of the country appears to be celebrating spring, we in the beautiful state of Colorado experience snow, hail, rain, thunder, and more all in one day.  The day before it was sunny and 65, but that didn’t mean peas were blooming or asparagus was ready; it just meant the tumbleweeds weren’t dry and blowing yet and the small pot of hopeful pansies was being very faithful indeed.

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I don’t think we get depressed about it because, after all, we probably have the best weather overall in the country.  We have temperate winters, rare rainy days, cool summer nights, and a continually changing western view as the clouds decide what they’re going to do with the mountains at any given time.  But we may need to occasionally think like spring.  And when we do, we make comforting skillets full of warming goodness because spring can be damned cold here.  A wet 45 is colder than a dry 10.  Last Thursday night when I came out of work after teaching the FRENCH NIGHT AT HOME class, I had to clean off inches of snow from the car and ruined my shoes in the wet frozen slush. Life has loveliness to sell, as Sara Teasdale says.  We’re thankful for the moisture because we live in fire country… Continue reading

38 Power Foods, Week 2 — Asparagus — Asparagus Soup

Alyce’s Asparagus Soup a la Silver Palate

Every Friday for the foreseeable future, I’ll be blogging one of the 38 healthiest ingredients from POWER FOODS : 150 DELICIOUS RECIPES WITH THE 38 HEALTHIEST INGREDIENTS by the editors of Whole Living Magazine. 

38 Power Foods is a group effort!   Stop by these other blogs and see what they’re cooking each week as we team up to bring you some of the healthiest cooking available: 

Ansh –  
Jill – SaucyCooks 

Sarah – Everything in the Kitchen Sink
As we go along, I’m guessing we’ll get some other writers involved.  If you’re interested in joining the gang writing each week, get in touch with Mireya from My Healthy Eating Habits:

Read me regularly and you know asparagus is just about my favorite vegetable.  Maybe zucchini is first; I don’t know.  But I cook asparagus at the drop of a hat.  In lots of ways.  Here’s one of my favorite recipes, worth buying some gorgeous tiny bowls for (think antique store) so you can make this as a first-course.  I first made Asparagus Soup as a starter for the lunch celebrating my daughter’s baptism, and have been making it ever since.

alyce’s asparagus soup a la silver palate
   4 main course servings         6-8 first course servings

  • 1 1/2 medium onions, chopped coarsely
  • 1 shallot, chopped
  • 2T butter or olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 6T fresh tarragon (or 2t dry), divided
  • 1/4 c fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2# asparagus, trimmed well and chopped
  • 1 1/2-2 quarts chicken broth, unsalted*
  •  3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 stalk celery with leaves, chopped
  • 4-6 drops hot sauce (I like Tabasco.)
  • 1/4 c low-fat sour cream*
  • Lemon rind
In  6qt stockpot, heat butter or oil over medium-low and add chopped onions and shallot. Saute about 10 minutes until softened; add garlic.  Cook another 5 minutes or until vegetables are very soft.  Add salt, pepper, tarragon, parsley, and asparagus.  Let flavors marry by cooking a minute or two, stirring and smelling as you go.  Oh, tarragon.
Pour in 1 1/2 qts chicken stock and add the carrots and celery.  Add the Tabasco carefully.  Cover and bring to a boil.  Lower heat and simmer 40 minutes or so until all the vegetables are very tender indeed.  As it cooks, add more broth if it seems too thick.   Taste and adjust seasonings. 
 Carefully puree in batches in blender (hold down top with a big towel) or in the food processor.   You can use an immersion blender if you have one, of course.
Pour back into pan and serve hot or let cool and chill to serve cold.  Top with a spoonful of sour cream, a sprinkle of tarragon, and a grate or two of fresh lemon rind.
*For a vegan version, use vegetable broth and leave out sour cream
If you live in St. Paul, my tarragon is right off my back porch in a whiskey barrel; you’re welcome to pick some.
about asparagus   
                                                                                                             A. Morgan
  Asparagus is the leading supplier among vegetables of folic acid. A 5.3 ounce serving provides 60% of the recommended daily allowance for folacin which is necessary for blood cell formation, growth, and prevention of liver disease. Folacin has been shown to play a significant role in the prevention of neural tube defects, such as spina bifida, that cause paralysis and death in 2,500 babies each year.

Its wealth of nutrients, fiber and very low sodium and calorie content make asparagus a nutritionally wise choice for today’s health-conscious consumer.

Asparagus is:

  • Low in calories, only 20 per 5.3 oz. serving, less than 4 calories per spear.
  • Contains no fat or cholesterol.
  • Very low in sodium.
  • A good source of potassium.(1)
  • A source of fiber (3 grams per 5.3 oz. serving). (2)
  • An excellent source of folacin. (3)
  • A significant source of thiamin. (4)
  • A significant source of vitamin B6. (4)
  • One of the richest sources of rutin, a compound which strengthens capillary walls.
  • Contains glutathione (GSH). (5)  
  • nutrition info:  courtesy
other new projects – phew!
Here’s my fast Clam Chowder.  Should it go in the new book???
I’m SO excited:  I’m just starting to write a small cookbook called 30 Soups in 30 Minutes, and would enjoy some ideas you might have about what soups you’d like to know how to make quickly–or which soups from either blog you particularly like.   There’ll also be some simple accompaniments for the soups, wine pairings, and a few tiny (read instant) desserts.  It looks like I’ll be publishing through amazon on Create Space and then on to  Kindle.  Thoughts?  Anyone done this before?  I have July and August to work hard on it; I’m not directing a choir and only have some lessons and a seminar to teach.  If you’d like to test any soup recipes, let me know; I need testers.  The first recipe, Broccoli Soup with Toasted Brie, is ready for testing.   Someone once wanted to do wine pairings for this book.  Still up for it?!   I’m so grateful to each of you for your support over the last three years (or more) and can’t wait to show you the book!  Now that I’ve put it out on the blog, I’m gonna have to come through, eh?  Sounding real.
Sing a new song; cook a new soup,