Sunday, August 16, 2009

Recipe #14 - Sides - ELVIS Asparagus

Elvis Pictures, Images and Photos"It was 32 years ago today, Sgt. Pepper taught the band to play"... No wait, that's the Beatles, the wrong 60's icon.

Starting over, today marks the sad anniversary, 32 years ago today, truly "The Day the Music Died". Oops, sorry, that's the Big Bopper, and Buddy Holly, the wrong 50's icon.

But, this is the anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley. Long before the kids of today made him into a punch line, he was the reigning undisputed King of Rock and Roll. Mourned in assisted living homes across the country, poodle skirt wearing grandmothers are a little sad this morning. I know my sainted mother remembers this day, and I have three very strong memories of Elvis from three important crossroads of my life. Today I will blog about my first Elvis memory. I will give you all something to look forward to, and start a series, next year on this date, I will blog my second Elvis memory. Be sure to mark this date in your calender.

Those of you that want the recipe can skip down, those of you that want some insight into my soul, read on. You may need some Kleenex before it's over.

My very first memory concerns Elvis, my sainted Mother and my Dad. It was 1962, and my Dad piled the family (me, my older brother Steve, and Mom) into the Chevy and drove to the Starlight Drive-In in Pekin, Il. BTW, The drive-in really was near a levy. And also BTW, it will help if you kind of curl up your lip and snarl a bit whenever you read - Steeeeeeve during the rest of this post. No special reason, it just always drove him crazy. Still does a little.

My Mom was hot. She was a huge Elvis fan, and I think having 2 kids under 7 kind of cramped her style. My Dad was a greaser. There is this amazing photo of the two of them, Mom in her big poodle skirt (sadly, no poodle, but still that big skirt look), and my dad next to her with a pack of cigarettes rolled up in his T-shirt sleeve. I guess a trip to an Elvis movie was as close as they could get to their wild youth. But I am digressing again...

Ok, anyway, I was only 5 years old, but I remember this night very clearly. It was a double feature, featuring an Elvis movie, "Follow That Dream" - Think "Grapes of Wrath" with girls, singing and more girls (in those weird bikinis, with the bottoms looking like granny panties). It was set in Florida, since the bikinis would be out of place in Oklahoma. The Elvis movie was first. We had a tradition at the drive-in, Mom and Dad would climb in the back seat, while Steeeeeve and I would climb up front. Of course, Steeeeve would get the seat with the wheel, but it was still fun to be in the front. Of course, now that I have had a couple of kids of my own, I realize that the whole switching seats was just a scam so Mom and Dad could neck in the back... But I digress again.

I remember Steeeeeve and I tolerated the Elvis movie (too much kissing for this 5 year old). I do recall laughing and having great fun while all 4 of us danced whenever Elvis sang the fast songs. Steeeeve and I would ignore the slow ones, cause we knew the kissing was coming. We tolerated the kissing, liked the fighting (amazing how much fighting there always is in every Elvis movie, he does like to throw the first punch) and ate popcorn and corn dogs. What a great time.


The second feature was "King Kong vs. Godzilla". I still have that image of Kong being floated with giant balloons. I think that new Pixar movie "Up" owes an "inspired by" credit to KK vs Godzilla, but I digress.

The BEST part of this night was what happened before the movie started. I had to pee (no, that wasn't the best part, just setting up the best part). Dad took me to the concession stand and left Mom and Steeeeve in the car (I can still remember the dancing hot dogs, popcorn and drinks all marching in a line) while we walked. I finished my business, and when we returned to the car, Mom and Steeeeve were BOTH asleep! It was kind of late by then, around 10 PM. For Mom, raising two boys is very hard work, so who could blame her for whatever nap time she could get. Steeeeve was a Pansy then, and still is. But I am digressing again...

Dad gently put Steeeeve in the back seat to sleep next to Mom. While I was allowed to take the drivers seat. Whoo whoo... Drive in, staying up late, driver's seat, my wimp of a brother asleep in the back while I watched a monster movie with my Dad. Of course I remember this night clearly, TODAY I AM A MAN!

I remember a LOOOOng build up to the fight, with way too much talking. I also remember the first blow in the battle... Kong beat his chest, roared in challenge, Godzilla tossed his head back, screeched in answer, and proceeded to fire his atomic breath at King Kong's crotch. To a 5 year old, there is not much funnier than crotch jokes. Come to think of it, take a look at "America;s Funniest Videos" sometime, crotch jokes are still funny.

I stayed awake for the entire movie, and the drive home. I remember dad carrying Steeeeve into the house (panzy). I also remember going to Sunday School the next day and telling everyone about Kong, while Steeeve had stories of Elvis and kissing... Bwahahahahahahaha

So, there's my first memory, and Elvis is in it, and I still get a little twinge from that night whenever I hear an Elvis song.

And now, I give you Elvis Asparagus (it's vegetables, wrapped in fat, with a sprinkle of sugar and cheese). If Mom would have made these for me when i was 5, I would have eaten my veggies every day!

18 stalks of Asparagus (marinade in equal parts soy sauce and lemon juice for 3 hours before the assembly process starts)
6 strips of bacon
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese

And you can see a great trick I stole from Steven Raichlen's HOW TO GRILL book, using two wooden skewers soaked in water for at least an hour prior to using.

Take 3 asparagus stalks, wrap them tightly with a piece of raw bacon. Tuck each end into the bundle to help keep them from slipping lose during cooking.

repeat making 6 total bundles.

Take the skewers, pierce some of the bacon, and at least one of the stalks of each of the bundles on the top and on the bottom, as shown in the picture. This makes turning them very easy, and the bacon stays wrapped around the Asparagus.

Put on a hot grill, over direct heat. It takes about 3 minutes per side to cook. During the process, sprinkle some sugar (about 1/2 a teaspoon) on each side.

When they are done, sprinkle some of the cheese on them.


So there you go, my tribute to the King of Rock and Roll. This afternoon, "Ratatouille" is on the cooking channel. Also, a full day's marathon of a bunch of different Elvis movies is on TNT. It is a rainy Sunday afternoon here in god's country (Kansas). I am going to enjoy a good movie and then call my Mother. No need to mention her sad day, but maybe she would like to hear from me...

Mean time, here's the trailer for "Follow That Dream"

or, someone had way too much time on their hands to make a music video of King Kong vs Godzilla... no talking, just the good parts...

Enjoy, and then call your mother


  1. What a fun post!!! I'm gonna have to say...the asparagus looks killer this way!! HOly CanoLi, I must try it! Love that first Elvis picture...the moving one...ha ha ha ha.

  2. LMAO about your Elvis "intro's" :)

    Asparagus on the grill is fantastic. Wrapped in bacon? Doubly so!

    Do you precook the bacon at all before wrapping it or do you just put it on straight raw? Nevermind, I just went back and looked, you said raw.

    When I did some green bean bundles like this, the beans were done before the bacon so the next time I was going to cook the bacon for about 1 minute or 2 before wrapping. I might experiment some with that this weekend.