Category: Spring

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins with Thyme Glaze

As I might have mentioned a time or two 😉 I really like to cook and bake and spend a lot of my time looking at/for recipes.  I also am a little fickle and go through phases on where I am sourcing recipes.  I have long been a fan of Cook’s Illustrated (particularly their desserts,) NY Times Cooking (Melissa Clark,) Epicurious, and Food 52.  A couple of years ago, I noticed a new magazine with gorgeous pictures and had to pick it up.  This became my newest baking crush, Bake From Scratch (The Bake Feed.)  My first issue had these muffins along with a few others that I made in rapid succession, because they were just all so yummy.  I like traditional flavors, so for strawberry season which is so short, I tend to stick with the tried and true, but with blueberries and peaches, the bounty lasts longer, so I will branch out.  These take a little time, but are very worth it in the end.  Changes I made: most definitely use muffin cup liners, because even in nonstick, they might get a little stuck and break also I made regular sized muffins (12ish) instead of the 8 jumbo, the recipe calls for.  You will just need to adjust the baking time.

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Lemony Green Bean Salad with Feta

Well folks, it does not happen often, but I have been waylaid by a summer cold. In between running for a kleenex and bouts of sneezing and coughing the last thing I want to do is cook an elaborate, time consuming dinner (and as you know, that is one of my favorite hobbies.) So, when the sick fairy visits, I turn to simple dishes that can be prepared in the few moments of respite. This green bean salad is one such dish. It is a perfect side for something from the grill (that hopefully the spouse, kids, neighbor, dog is going to prepare) and hey, it is just the beginning of green bean season, so the perfect time to enjoy them with minimal accompaniment. See you next week…

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Cucumber and Radish Salad with Burrata

Sorry to be a couple days tardy on my recipe post. Friday was a busy, busy day and Saturday, I was feeling a little under the weather, but better late than never. This week’s recipe has one of my favorite things in the world: Burrata. The marriage of mozzarella and creamy cheese curds. It is a wonderful treat alongside crisp spring and summer vegetables (well anything really) and makes a beautiful dish that everyone will rave over. If you cannot locate burrata, you can certainly substitute fresh mozzarella, homemade or good quality store bought ricotta.

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Beets with Lime and Pepitas

Beets are not a veggie that I grew up loving. Probably, because the only ones I had growing up were from a can. All of that changed about ten years ago when I enjoyed a steak salad with pickled beets. That salad made me rethink them, so I embarked on a journey of trying out various ways to prepare beets. I discovered that I absolutely LOVE them! Pretty much anyway they can be served, even beet kvass (which I drink every day.) The big downside is that they are not the easiest to prep and that color gets everywhere, so when I saw this set of recipes, I thought, “hey, new method, lets see if it is as messy and bonus new flavors I never thought of.” This recipe is on my list for weekend cooking and I think will make a great side dish for steak or roast/grilled chicken. I hope you guys do too. Ban the can, go fresh!

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Strawberry Ice Cream

Well, folks, we are coming to a close on one of the best times of the year; strawberry season. So, I have to post one more recipe before they are all gone until 2018. Let me tell you, this one is killer! I have used this ice cream recipe for the past 10 years and it is a no fail, show stopper that will have even the daintiest eater smacking their lips and scraping the bowl clean. Nothing gets wasted and the addition of a little bit of vodka to the fruit helps keep those pesky ice crystals at bay. I also put a piece of plastic wrap directly against the ice cream before freezing (and with any left overs) which also helps keep it crystal free. Reserve your strawberries today (you might want to get enough for two batches) for ice cream goodness this week.

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Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus, & Pancetta

One of my favorite springtime vegetables is peas and of course, getting fresh ones is always a race against the clock. Frozen ones are not bad and I use them most of the year, but nothing can beat a freshly picked, shelled pea; it just screams spring. I had never actually eaten a fresh pea until visiting a farmer’s market in North Carolina in 2009, but it was definitely love at first taste. That is also when I discovered this recipe and when nature has allowed, I have made this. It is one of those recipes that can be modified without loss of flavor; as long as you have the peas, it does not matter what pasta you use, even whole wheat works well. I have used bacon instead of pancetta and added sugar snap peas in years where the English pea yield was low. So why not take advantage of these seasonal temperatures and enjoy a taste of spring.

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Kale Tabbouleh

It is that straddle season: the time between spring and summer where the temperatures have crept up, but the veggies available have not quite caught up to those temps. So, what do we as seasonal eaters do? We turn our attention to warmer weather salads that incorporate winter/spring vegetables. This week’s recipe is one that I made a couple of months ago for a neighbor get together and one that I am planning on making this week as well. It solves one of the issues that I have with some traditional tabbouleh recipes; too much parsley, by substituting kale. This recipe also has many opportunities for innovation as well; adding in some cooked chick peas, subbing sun-dried tomatoes, roasted red peppers, or even strawberries for the regular tomatoes (especially since I am not going to touch store bought-out of season tomatoes,) or you could use another green, such as collards, chard, or for a kick; mustard greens. The possibilities are endless.

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Sesame-Honey Tempeh & Quinoa Bowl

I am not vegan, nor am I vegetarian, but I do like to incorporate vegan and vegetarian meals (sometimes whole days) into my diet. I do this for a number of reasons…sustainablity, health, variety, and learning something new. I dislike the term, “meat substitute” and as I said last week about the turnips, I think you are better off enjoying a food for what is has to offer, instead of thinking of it as a substitute for something you cannot/should not have. I have enjoyed tempeh for years, so when it was on sale a couple of weeks ago, I bought two packages and then found this recipe. I made it this week and it was a hit; tasty and satisfying. A couple of hints I have though: it calls for no salt, except for what is in the soy, so I salted the quinoa (while cooking) and the carrots (after tasting.) Also, I would double the carrot slaw next time. If you are allergic or against tempeh, I think this would be good using ground pork, turkey, or chicken as well.

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Caramelized Turnips with Capers, Lemon, and Parsley

Last week I was asked if I had any good turnip recipes…I had to pause and take some time to come up with a couple of ideas. See, we do not eat a lot of turnips in our house. I actually am a fan, I grew up eating them as just another vegetable, mostly boiled (I know, eww, but hey, I like boiled okra too.) My husband, however, is not a fan and I think that is because he grew up eating them as a “faux” some other kind of veggie; i.e.mashed potatoes. I think we should take this week to learn to appreciate turnips for what they are, turnips; that sort of sweet/spicy root veggie that so many love to hate. One of the best ways to celebrate a vegetable that you tend to shy away from is to roast it. Roasting brings out the natural sugars and tends to tone down that bite. This week’s recipe is a showcase for our much maligned turnip, so lets go forth and roast…

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Old-Fashioned Strawberry Preserves

I normally do not like to post a recipe featuring the same ingredient two weeks in a row, but strawberries are special and finite. This is also one of the easiest recipes ever and will allow you to get a taste of spring all year long. This is a great recipe for someone that has never made jam or jelly before, only two ingredients, plus it is made to go in the refrigerator, so no need to can. Having said that, if you are an experienced canner, by all means double or triple the recipe and can or freeze it. I have made these preserves every year for the last ten years and they are my husband’s favorite snack with peanut butter before his long Saturday bike ride. They are also very yummy paired with cheese. Hints that I have learned over the years: Taste your strawberries first, if they are tart, use the recommended two cups of sugar, if they are sweet, reduce that down to one and a half. Also, not sure how they came up with the twenty minute time frame, but it will take at least double that amount of time before it starts clumping on the spoon (that is your signal that it is ready.) Happy preserving!

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Strawberry Scones

I think strawberry season is my favorite time of the year. There is not much better than a sweet, plump, and juicy strawberry. Over the years, I have made preserves, ice cream, gelato, one-layer cakes, multi-layer cakes, pies, etc., but I always come back to this recipe for its simplicity and perfect marriage of biscuit/pastry. It is not a fussy recipe, but produces pillows of yumminess that have a very finite life span. I dare you to stop at one.

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Spicy Roasted Broccoli Pasta

I adore pasta and could probably eat it every day, but try to limit myself to no more than once a week (unless in Italy, then all bets are off and I have pizza and pasta every day.) I have my favorite dishes, but am always open to new ones, particularly ones that have a different twist, so that brought me this recipe which I made last weekend. First off, it is only slightly easier than traditional recipes (you still boil the pasta,) but it has an interesting flavor profile, is quite tasty, and does heat up well. In our wacky winter-spring/summer-winter weather flips, at least there is plenty of broccoli, so why not find a new way to enjoy it. One note: unless you really like cumin (I do,) I would lessen the amount used or leave it off entirely. Note two: I will be on vacation next week, so no post next Friday, but will be back again at the end of March.

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