Week 1: Potted basil, asparagus, parsley,spring onions, hakurai turnips, nasturtiums (edible flowers), cherry belle radishes, iceberg lettuce and Bibb lettuce.
Week 2: Asparagus, leeks, rhubarb,romaine lettuce, cherry belle radishes, nasturtiums, Bibb lettuce, Crespino iceberg, arugula, pink beauty radishes and leaf lettuce mix.
Spring has arrived! And with it comes some beautiful produce courtesy of our dear friends at Scotch Hill Farm. It is such a joy to see fresh, local produce return to my kitchen after the long winter months. Now it's time to enjoy the delicate, fleeting flavors of spring before they cede to the heat of summer. Although I am a fan of bold flavors, spring provides an opportunity to reset our palates. I love bracing vinaigrettes and pungent sauces, but for spring produce milder ingredients shine. After the heaviness of winter cooking, I see spring as a time to shorten ingredient lists and use a lighter touch in my cooking. With that idea in mind, I've collected some recipes for the items in our shares thus far.
Nasturtium blossoms are delicious peppery little flowers that are almost too pretty to eat. We munched on ours straight from the bag, but with their arrival in week 2's bag, I've got my sights set on something more creative. Nasturtium blossoms work well on salads, atop ricotta cheese spread thinly over slices on French bread, or in fancy spring cocktails like this violet crush or this hummingbird cocktail. With Week 1's basil plant thriving in my garden, I've added this basil and nasturtium salad to my list of recipes to try. I'm also intrigued by the interplay of flavors in this grapefruit, avocado, and pomegranate salad as well as this simple nasturtium blossom salad.
Radishes The radishes in our share didn't make it into any fancy recipes last week--they went straight onto slices of French bread with a spread of goat cheese and a pinch of salt and pepper. This cucumber and radish raita and this radish gazpacho are competing for my attention this week. But, I'm also thinking that with two types in the bag this week, it might be a good time to make some quick pickles for later in the season.
Leeks Served with a side salad, savory tarts make a satisfying lunch or light dinner. This savory onion and leek tart would be delicious alongside the shaved asparagus salad I link to below. The sweet mellow onions and rich crust would provide a nice balance to the sharp, bright flavor of the dressing, the green herbaceous asparagus, and peppery asparagus. Another idea for a simple, gratifying meal is this barley pilaf with lemon and leeks.
Lettuce Spring always brings us lots and lots of lettuce. Delicate bibb and butter lettuces, crisp romaines, mild icebergs. We've been eating a lot of salads this spring. They may not be the most creative meals for lettuce, but on muggy spring days a simple chopped salad is refreshing. If we ever tire of salads, I may just turn to lettuce soup! Strange as it sounds, it also sounds really appealing. This simple chilled lettuce soup first caught my eye, but this slightly more involved lettuce soup with sweet peas and herbs would be delicious on a hot day.
Asparagus Asparagus is another of spring's Last week, we ate our asparagus with pasta in a lemon butter sauce. This week I think we'll try this shaved asparagus and arugula salad. With so few ingredients, I think it's worth the splurge for a wedge of good pecorino romano cheese. Also intriguing is this chilled asparagus and almond soup.
Rhubarb My absolute favorite thing to do with rhubarb so far is to make a really simple rhubarb compote I learned from Preserving by the Pint by Marisa McClellan. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, then chop a pound of rhubarb into 2 inch pieces. Zest and juice a lemon. Halve 2 vanilla beans, scrape out the seeds, and combine them with 1/4 cup of sugar. Pour the rhubarb into a baking dish, top with the lemon juice, zest, and vanilla sugar. Roast in the oven for about 25 minutes, or until the rhubarb softens and collapses. I always serve this over vanilla ice cream, but I imagine it would be great as a topping for angel food cake or shortbread. The author recommends a handful of granola for a quick crumble. For something more involved, I think this rhubarb frangipane pie looks exquisite.
Arugula I've never been one for mayonnaise-y potato salads, so I'm drawn to the peppery arugula and sharp Dijon dressing in this potato salad. Although the shaved asparagus and arugula salad I mentioned above is calling my name, pairing the arugula with raisins, pine nuts, and mushroom ravioli in this quick market pasta looks delicious.
Turnips Facing a busy week last week, we opted to eat our turnips and spring onions in a quick stir-fry with pan-fried tofu. I started the pan off with a little ginger and crushed red pepper before adding some sliced carrot. Once the carrots softened, I added sliced turnips, the two remaining radishes from our share, some celery that was languishing in the crisper drawer, some chopped spring garlic, and the week's spring onions to the pan. I let the vegetables soften a bit before adding the turnip and radish tops and some crushed szechuan peppercorns. Once the greens wilted down, I turning off the heat and served the veggie mixture over rice with a couple slices of marinated, pan-fried tofu.