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Recipes made with Spring ingredients in Central Texas

A Bite of Spring: Cauliflower and Caper Pasta

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Photo by Sandra Ramos

Photo by Sandra Ramos

 

Growing up I only ate raw cauliflower drowned in ranch dressing or boiled within an inch of its life dripping in cheese sauce. I had no idea how glorious cauliflower could be or that it came in so many shapes and sizes.

A few years ago, a local chef made me a cauliflower pasta dish and I suddenly understood the beauty of cauliflower. I love it roasted, in curries and in pasta with briny capers, salty parmesan cheese and a few spicy red pepper flakes. If you get a little crazy and buy the purple or Romanesco (the green pyramid shaped cauliflower) you can create a truly beautiful spring dish that will have your guests begging for more.

Enjoy!

Tip: use a light touch (don’t bear down hard) with a vegetable peeler to shave the cheese into thin strips, rather than your typical grated cheese.

Cauliflower and Caper Pasta

Serves 4

Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

2 tbps olive oil

1 pound of cauliflower

1/4 cup capers

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp red pepper flakes

12 ounces of pasta

2 ounces parmesan

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the cauliflower and garlic and sauté for 7-8 minutes until the cauliflower. Add the capers and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cauliflower is tender.

While the cauliflower is cooking, cook the pasta in boiling water according to the package directions. Drain the pasta, reserving a 1/2 cup of pasta water.

Combine the pasta, reserved pasta water and cauliflower mixture. Season with the salt and red pepper flakes, then shave the parmesan onto the pasta.

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Make It Seasonal Recipe: Asparagus, Radish & Fennel Salad

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Asparagus, fennel and radish salad

 

I am so inspired by this seasonal recipe series! Thanks to everyone who voted last month to help me pick ingredients for a new dish. The winning produce was (drumroll, please) fennel, asparagus and radishes.

I immediately thought of a salad, which felt a little like a cop out. I could hear Tom Colicchio in my mind “But, you didn’t really cook anything, did you?” I decided to ignore my inner Tom and follow my instincts. I love a salad with crisp spring vegetables, and this recipe promised big flavor and crunch.

The dish is simple to make, but there is a little bit of knife work. I don’t care for big chunks of fennel so I used a mandoline to slice the fennel into thin disks, then cut those with a knife into strips. I sliced the radishes thinly and cut my already thin asparagus on a diagonal. If you have thicker asparagus, you can shave it with a vegetable peeler.

I used my vegetable peeler to shave the parmesan into long thin strips. The trick is to use a light touch so that you get strips thin enough to see through. If that seems like too much work, you can grate it instead.

The result is a tangy, crunchy, peppery salad that was the perfect bite of spring. Enjoy!

And, don’t forget to vote for April’s ingredients: April Recipe Mashup Ballot.

Asparagus, Fennel and Radish Salad

Prep time: 20 minutes

Serves 6

1 bulb of fennel with fronds (the leafy green part)

juice of 4 lemons, approximately one-half cup

1 bunch of thin asparagus

1 bunch of radishes

1/2 cup of olive oil

1/2 tsp salt sea salt

1 wedge of Parmesan

Separate the fennel bulb from the fronds and, if needed, clean up the bulb. Set the fronds aside.

Using a mandoline or a very sharp knife, shave the fennel into thin disks. Using a knife, cut the fennel into long strips.

Place the fennel and 1/4 cup of the lemon juice into a shallow bowl or dish to allow the fennel to soak up the juice.

While the fennel is soaking, slice the radishes and asparagus. If your asparagus is thick, you can shave it into long ribbons using a vegetable peeler.

In a small bowl, combine the other 1/4 cup lemon juice, salt and the olive oil. With a whisk or fork, whip the dressing until the juice and oil thicken. Taste and add salt, if desired. I did not add pepper because my radishes were very peppery, but feel free to add it if you have more mild radishes.

Combine the fennel, radishes and asparagus in a bowl, slowly add dressing to lightly coat the vegetables. Lightly shave 8-10 ribbons of parmesan into the dish. Pinch fennel leaves from the fronds and sprinkle over the top of the salad.

Serve and enjoy!

P.S. Don’t trash the fronds. You can save the fennel stalks to use in fish stock or to make fennel pesto. Here’s a great post from The Kitchn on 5 ways to use fennel stalks and fronds.

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Recipe Roundup: Spring in Texas

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Wait Spring, don’t go! I know I complained about the cold weather but I am not ready for the triple digits. I need more 75 degree days and windows down. Spring comes and goes in the blink of an eye here in Central Texas but I try to savor the spring produce to the bitter end. Enjoy the end of the season and take advantage of the remaining local spring produce with these spring inspired recipes!

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Spring Fever Frittata – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Green Goddess Dip – My Recipes

Raw Spring Vegetable Salad with Goat Cheese– Kristi’s Farm to Table

Cucumber- Sugar Snap Salad – Food & Wine

Ricotta Gnocchi with Asparagus, Peas, and Morels – Bon Appetit

Salara od Rotkvica (Croatian Radish Salad) – Saveur

Spring Pea Farro Salad – What’s Gaby Cooking

Roasted Baby Spring Vegetables – My Recipes

Spring Vegetable Risotto – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Jicama & Radish Salad with an Avocado- Yogurt Dressing – Fit Sugar

 

 

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Recipe Roundup: The Mysterious Artichoke

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The artichoke. We all know this beauty and most of us love them too, but their mystic can be somewhat… intimidating. But don’t let the perceived “hassle” scare you away, and I promise you are not the only one who might be shy around an artichoke.

First, get oriented with this great article on 9 Ways to Make the Most of an Artichoke. When you are feeling more adventurous check out these 10 recipes that use the artichoke in a variety of ways, from salsa to on the grill.

Simple Grilled Artichokes – Kristi’s Farm to Table

Pan-Roasted Artichoke with Lemon and Garlic – Cooking Light

Raw Artichoke, Celery, and Parmesan Salad – Bon Appetit

Artichoke Halves Stuffed with Beef – Leite’s Culinaria

Artichoke Salsa – Cooking during Stolen Moments

Grilled Artichoke with Yogurt-Dill Dipping Sauce – Bon Appetit

Minted Tomato Artichoke Salad – Fork and Flower

Braised Artichokes – Simply Recipes

Creamy Artichoke and Asparagus Lasagna  – Cooking Light

Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms – Hummusapien

Garlicky Leek and Artichoke Soup – C’est La Vegan

Continue to unravel the mystery with our Artichoke Pinterest board.

 

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