Make that two lessons learned: 1) you can't toast almonds in the microwave; 2) you can't shave asparagus in the food processor.
Over the past several months, we had discovered that you could brown a whole bunch of things in the microwave we had never tried before - veggie chips, pepperoni slices, coconut, pine nuts, etc., so I figured I could do the same with the almonds. Not so much! I finally gave up and threw them in a pan.
As for the asparagus, because it's so easy to French cut string beans in the food processor, I assumed it would work for the asparagus as well. I tend to be heavy handed, so the thought of slicing something so delicate with a mandoline made me question whether I would come out of the experience with my fingertips intact. I have read about people having mixed results with a veggie peeler, so this seemed like a no-brainer. I started with the largest grater attachment, which is what we use for the string beans. That gave me asparagus puree, so I quickly stopped and switched to the slicer blade. I saw a series of long strips fly by, so I kept going, but when I popped the top off, I also saw that I had ended up with a bunch of tiny circles - like sliced scallions. Oh well, I guess next time, I'll sport a few thimbles and take my chances with the mandoline. :)
1 lb asparagus
1/2 c almond slivers
white balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
Wash your asparagus and cut off the tips - no need to shave those.
Toast the almonds in a dry pan, then immediately pour them out onto a paper towel or plate so the hot pan doesn't continue to cook them. Be sure to stir or shake them around while they're cooking so they don't burn.
Let the almonds cool for a few minutes, then toss with the asparagus, drizzle with about a teaspoon of sesame oil (it's potent, so you don't need a lot), a splash of balsamic vinegar, then season with salt and pepper to taste. That's it! Nothing fancy, but delicious!
If you're curious about the funny looking chicken sitting next to the asparagus, tune in tomorrow. It may not look like much from this angle, but it packs BIG flavor!