Do you like to travel light, in minimalist fashion, and not gather too many possessions to your name? Or do you happily collect and squirrel away your belongings? I always have been in the former camp, never wanting to have too much stuff so that when I inevitably move (as I have ~8 times in the past 10 years), I don’t have too many heavy things to carry. No furniture. Not too many heavy books. I donate big bags of clothes at least three times a year.
My boyfriend is firmly in the latter category, especially when it comes to his books – he has hundreds, and wouldn’t dream of getting rid of a single one. It makes me anxious just looking at them, thinking of how much weight and effort it will be during our next move. But they keep on coming, and we keep getting more bookshelves to accommodate them. We recently maxed out the two bookcases we had, so it was time to go to the Mecca for Twentysomething, Non-Rich Couples: Ikea!
We made the 40-minute trek there yesterday, to get our 3rd bookshelf. We do not have a couch yet, a TV, or any real living room furnishings to speak of, but the books, they have a home. I did make the crucial purchase of a $7 string of lights to drape around our back door, in a side of the room that normally is dark and unwelcoming. I love the glowy little lights and along with the bookshelves, we at least have an interesting living room, if not a furnished one. Baby steps, right? One day we will feel like real live adults with a proper home! (Right?)
One thing we never skimp on is food. I tell myself that I’m allowed to spend a little more money on luxuries like prosciutto or the more expensive brand of olive oil, because I save so much money by never going out to bars and clubs, like most 25-year-olds do. I can especially forgive expensive prosciutto when it’s paired with such simple things as asparagus and pickled shallots here, which come together to make a unique and non-fussy side dish (or dinner, when I accidentally eat a huge lunch earlier in the day).
This simple recipe comes together in no time and is great for late spring. The pickled shallots alone are worth the recipe, but I’m just biased because I love pickled anything.
- 1 large shallot, thinly sliced and separated into rings
- 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds (or coarse whole grain mustard)
- 1/4 cup champagne vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 sprigs thyme plus 2 teaspoons leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 1 bunch of thin asparagus, woody ends trimmed off
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
- 4 ounces thin sliced prosciutto (about 8-10 slices)
- In a small bowl, mix together the shallot rings and mustard. In a small saucepan, add the vinegar, sugar and thyme sprigs (or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and allow it to simmer, stirring frequently, until sugar is dissolved (1-2 minutes). Pour the vinegar mixture over the shallots and then refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or longer if desired).
- Preheat your broiler and position an oven rack to be close to the broiler. Add the asparagus to a rimmed baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over the top. Add 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme or 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves. Season with salt and a few grinds of pepper and mix everything together until asparagus is well coated. Broil, until asparagus is tender and starting to brown in a few spots (usually only takes 4-6 minutes under the broiler).
- Move the asparagus to a platter. Remove the shallots from the fridge and discard the thyme sprigs (if you used them). Spoon the shallots over the asparagus (or just serve them on the side - whichever you like!) and serve everything alongside the prosciutto.
Recipe from Food Network Magazine, May 2016