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Kitchen Mailbox Countdown to Dinner Dining
Sugared asparagus yummy

Thursday, May 06, 1999

By Nancy Anderson, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

Whoever heard of putting sugar on asparagus? No one we knew, mostly purists who eat their beloved stalks lightly kissed with butter and lemon only.

When Marie McElhinny wrote that Sugared Asparagus, today's Countdown recipe, had been popular with her family for years, we decided to give it a try.

The brown sugar didn't overwhelm the vegetable at all -- it just gave it a slightly sweet taste which was a pleasant variation.

McElhinny was lucky enough to grow up with an abundance of asparagus.

"We had a big garden in Greenfield with everything in it -- all kinds of herbs and spices -- and lots of asparagus" she said, "so my mother served it many ways. This recipe was probably hers."

McElhinny now lives in Lincoln Place, near Century III Mall. A widow, she has one daughter, Patricia Cartwright, and three grandchildren.

"They live in Dubois and come here just to eat," she laughed. "They come to Grandma's for goodies."

And with good reason; Grandma is a baker. The goodies include cookies which her "grandkids" relish and homemade bread which she mixes up without a recipe, just "a little bit of this and that."

Although she doesn't cook for herself every day, she enjoys whipping up a swiss steak dinner for company. And serving Sugared Asparagus on the side. -- Tested by Nancy Anderson

Sugared Asparagus

3 tablespoons butter or margarine
2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 pounds fresh asparagus, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup chicken broth

In a skillet over medium-high heat, melt butter and brown sugar until sugar is dissolved. Add asparagus and sauté for 2 minutes. Stir in chicken broth.

Bring to a boil and simmer for 8-10 minutes or until asparagus is crisp tender.

Remove asparagus to a serving dish and keep warm. Cook sauce uncovered until reduced by half.

Pour over asparagus and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.

Do you have an entrée, salad or vegetable side dish recipe that can be made in 30 minutes or less from six ingredients or fewer (not counting water, salt and pepper)? Share it with Countdown to Dinner.

Send your recipe to Countdown to Dinner, Post-Gazette Food, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222, or fax to 412-263-1313. Please include your name, neighborhood and daytime phone number. Or e-mail to: nanderson@post-gazette.com Questions? Call 412-263-1760.


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