It's spring in Seattle, and while we've got rhubarb at the farmers' market, I'm now crossing my fingers for spring peas — those little green jewels that make such a delicious addition to salads, soups, stir-fries and pastas.
You know those recipes that makes beautiful lunches and feel like a special treat, but that actually don't take all that long to make if you plan in advance? The ones that graduate to dinner in a snap, and then family and friends begin requesting it? This spring grain salad is just that — it combines hearty einkorn wheat berries with sweet mango, fresh cilantro and parsley, crisp sunflower sprouts, crunchy toasted pepitas and a creamy avocado dressing. Perfect for spring, perfect for anytime.
Nettles — the general term used to describe about forty plants from the Urtica genus — are readily found in spring and summer markets yet remain on many people's "to avoid" list. There is, of course, the "stinging" descriptor, and that tends to elicit fear in the minds of many home cooks. There's also just not knowing what to do with them when you get them home. Well, it turns out nettles are not only flavorful but extremely healthy! Here are a few easy ways to get to know them this spring.
We've all encountered, and possibly even served, a boring crudité platter. As a vegetarian and gluten-free guest and host, I've had my fair share of raw broccoli and carrot sticks while other party guests indulged in more interesting hors d'oeuvres. But these pickled baby carrots? These ones with the zingy bite that will be ready in just a couple of hours? You might want to double the recipe.
It's not very often that I whip up a plated lamb dinner for friends.
Good-quality lamb is a real splurge, but sometimes life's events call
for nothing less than the best. This simple, showstopping menu does just that.
I was always scared to attempt risotto, so it wasn't until culinary
school that I realized how easy they actually are. Time consuming, yes. Hard? Not at all. But then I discovered baked risotto and I've never looked back. This version with peas, asparagus, and pancetta is a personal favorite, and the epitome of spring!
What's a dinner party without a basket of warm rolls on the table? The softer and fluffier the better, I say. All the better to sop up those last bits of sauce. Here's how I make my absolute favorite, foolproof dinner rolls, a perfect addition to any table.
I always link brunches with spring and its warmer mornings, longer and more leisurely days, and friends with whom you need to catch up after a long winter of occasional hibernation. If you'd like to host more brunches this spring but are nervous about the time or work required, I have a tried-and-true way you can be assured to do it: just plan your brunch around simple, albeit delicious low-key food!
A simple puréed soup is something I turn to often, usually relying on a creamy tomato, but lately I've been relying instead on a lightly-spiced cauliflower soup. Cauliflowers are easy to come by and quite inexpensive at the markets (in Seattle anyway), so as you sit and wait for true spring produce (peas, favas, asparagus!), this is a good recipe to tide you over.
At the start of spring, the whole world seems to be bursting with tiny, irresistible signs of new life: green leaves sprouting from branches, fuzzy kittens popping up in my Facebook feed, and tender, sweet new potatoes making their brief annual appearance at the market. They may not last long, but when preparing ingredients this fresh and fleeting, the upside is that you don't have to do much to make them stand out. Simply boiled and tossed with fresh herbs and anchovy-flecked butter, new potatoes are a savory, soul-satisfying way to celebrate spring.