Category Archives: spring

Asparagus and Tomato Pesto Pasta

april 22, 2016

asparagus and tomato pesto pasta

Know why pasta dinners are so popular? Boil water, add pasta, open jar of sauce and that’s that. Wouldn’t it be great if you had easy-to-defrost homemade sauce in the freezer, like kale apricot pesto or herbed roasted tomatoes? Now add sun-dried tomato pesto to that list.

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Roasted Radish and Arugula Salad

june 13, 2015

roasted radish and arugula salad

Farmer Teal Brooks of Pine Fork Farm told me she likes her French breakfast radishes roasted. Hmmm….never made them like that and sounds delicious, I said. When I tasted them for the first time, I was most pleasantly surprised at their sweetness and texture. They lost their radish “bite” and transformed into something close to young turnips.

roasted radish and arugula salad

French breakfast radishes from Pine Fork Farm and the Sunday Carytown Farmers Market

 

With a deconstructed vinaigrette of fresh lemon, dijon mustard and brilliantly hued extra virgin olive oil, this salad is art on a plate,roasted radish and arugula salad and can be a starter or entree with the addition of roasted (as long as you have the oven hot) or grilled meats and seafood. The addition of poached farm fresh eggs would make this a light brunch entree.

We have all tried the common red globe radish found in grocery aisles (called Cherry Belle), packed in cellophane bags, but the other beauties will blow your mind with flavor, especially if locally grown. French breakfast radishes have a nice peppery bite raw in salads, and an even stronger zing can be had with black radish . Area farmer’s markets deliver all types each spring and then again in fall.

roasted radish and arugula salad

roasted French breakfast radishes

Loving their crunch in salads will not keep me from enjoying their incarnation as roasted vegetables, now that I have been awakened. Thanks, Teal.

Roasted Radish and Arugula Salad

recipe by Michele Humlan, The Good Eats Company

serves four

ingredients

two bunches French breakfast radishes, cleaned and trimmed*
best quality extra virgin olive oil
kosher salt
four cups baby arugula
strained juice of one large lemon
one level tablespoon Dijon mustard
one half cup shaved pecorino romano cheese
coarse ground black pepper
flaky sea salt (I like Maldon)
*save greens for another salad if desired

directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425.
  2. On large heavy sheet pan, toss radishes with one half tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt.
  3. Roast for 15 minutes and cool to room temperature.
  4. In small bowl, whisk lemon juice with mustard.
  5. To plate, arugula is scattered on serving dishes, then topped with radishes.
  6. Drizzle the lemon mustard mixture, then olive oil in drops, then flaky salt and black pepper.
  7. Scatter shavings of cheese atop salad and serve immediately.

Asparagus with Carrot Honey Vinaigrette

may 1, 2015

asparagus with carrot honey vinaigrette

Two very important words : local, and asparagus. Placed together,  an item that is at the top of your farmer’s market shopping list. You must enjoy local asparagus during its short run at the markets, because the taste, and the color, and the texture is superior to any asparagus purchased at your grocer’s. Unless, of course, your neighborhood grocer carries local.

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Spicy Ham Spread

 

april 3, 2015

spicy ham spread

After you’ve carved the Easter ham to your satisfaction, you’re likely to have some tasty leftovers. One can only eat so many sliced ham sandwiches, so I’m offering a spicy ham spread that’s nothing like the canned versions you had in your formative years.

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Summer Berry Yogurt Trifle

…and a visit to Old Church Creamery

june 27, 2014

summer berry yogurt trifle

 

Old Church Creamery, a thriving dairy farm one half hour north of Richmond in Manquin, Virginia, sprouted, then roared to life, in 2008.  Through trial and error, and hard work from owners Catherine and Keith Long, the operation is a premier supplier of naturally produced cow’s milk and dairy products for the Richmond area and beyond.

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Vietnamese Grilled Shrimp with Spring Vegetables

june 13, 2014

vietnamese grilled shrimp with spring vegetables

Long before I received any formal culinary training, I purchased some fish sauce at a market near my apartment in “Little Hanoi”, in what is now cosmopolitan Clarendon, Northern Virginia.  I am embarrassed to admit that after taking one whiff, it was returned to the shop where a kindly proprietor urged me to reconsider, telling me “fish sauce smells bad, but tastes good”.

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lemon dressed spring salad

Lemon Dressed Spring Salad

may 30, 2014

lemon dressed spring salad

We’ve come a long way from  salad defined by iceberg lettuce, waxy rounds of cucumber, flabby wedges of pale unripe tomato and bottled thousand island dressing languishing in a faux-wood bowl.  These days  salad offerings are some of the most intriguing items on restaurant menus, chock full of seasonal vegetables and fruits, local greens and house made vinaigrettes crafted to enhance, not overpower.

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Rhubarb Apple Compote

rhubarb apple compote

fresh rhubarb apple compote with Virginia’s Homestead Creamery vanilla ice cream

april 25, 2014

One of the first edible harbingers of spring is rhubarb.  And what a show!  This perennial, a vegetable given the royal fruit treatment,  rocks a shrub-like explosion of frilly lime green leaves and shiny  stalks in various shades of red and green.

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stuffed swiss chard with chocolate balsamic tomato sauce

Stuffed Swiss Chard with Chocolate Balsamic Tomato Sauce

april 11, 2014

stuffed swiss chard with chocolate balsamic tomato sauce

All winter long I made stuffed cabbage with sauerkraut tomato sauce.  For other people.  The aroma drove me to distraction but somehow I never got around to making it for myself and loved ones.  The vibrant hues of spring here in Richmond – periwinkle blue sky, butter yellow of daffodils, lime green of tender leaves on twiggy shrubs – inspired me to remaster the dish with rainbow Swiss chard, handily  found at my local market Little House Green Grocery, which also had organic ground beef from Polyface Farms.  The arrival of the chard marks a new collaboration with the owners and Amy’s Organic Garden in New Kent County, making it super convenient to travel the few blocks for dinner fixings on the fly.

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heirloom bean soup with parmesan and thyme

Heirloom Bean Soup with Parmesan and Thyme

march 21, 2014

heirloom bean soup with parmesan and thymeComfort has always been a pot of beans simmering on the stove.  It’s a favorite childhood memory – my mom’s white beans cooked simply, with or without meat for seasoning.  Gloriously overcooked so that beans and broth melded into a creamy slurry of bean goodness, and accompanied by a biscuit fresh from the oven.

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