Monday, March 21, 2011

Easy Seasonal Recipes for the Whole Family

There’s nothing quite like going out to your own garden, picking fresh fruits and vegetables and then bringing them in to use in delicious seasonal recipes for the whole family. The fruits and vegetables can be picked at the peak of freshness and flavor. The taste is out of this world!

Even though your garden is still relatively new, you can still look forward to beginning to harvest fruits and vegetables as early as four weeks after planting. Depending upon what you planted, by early spring you may have asparagus, carrots, and greens including chard and bok choy. You may also have green onions, lettuce, mint, several varieties of peas, radishes, spinach, strawberries, sweet onions and turnips to create delicious seasonal recipes. Here are two for you to try:

Spring Spinach and Strawberry Salad

* 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
* 1 tablespoon poppy seeds
* 1/2 cup white sugar
* 1/2 cup olive oil
* 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
* 1/4 teaspoon paprika
* 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
* 1 tablespoon minced onion
* 10 ounces fresh spinach - rinsed, dried and torn into bite-size pieces
* 1 quart strawberries - cleaned, hulled and sliced
* 1/4 cup almonds, blanched and slivered

To create this salad, you’ll want to start with the salad dressing. Put all of the ingredients except the last three into a medium bowl and whisk them together. Cover this and set it into the refrigerator to chill for at least one hour.

Wash and spin dry the spinach. Wash, hull and slice the strawberries. Next, in a large bowl, combine the spinach, strawberries and almonds. Drizzle the dressing over the salad and toss it to coat evenly. This is best served cold, so you’ll want to refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes before serving it.

Lemon Asparagus Pasta

* 1-1/2 pounds asparagus
* 1 pound bow-tie pasta
* 3 tablespoons butter
* 3/4 cup heavy cream
* 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest (approximately 3 lemons)
* 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
* 3/4 teaspoons salt
* 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
* Freshly grated parmesan cheese

Trim and cut the asparagus into 1/2 inch pieces cut on the diagonal. Boil or steam it until it is crisp-tender which is about 3 minutes. Rinse the asparagus in a colander with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain it well and set it aside.

Add 5 quarts of salted water in a large kettle for the pasta. Bring it to a boil. While waiting for the water, heat a 12-inch deep skillet over moderately low heat. Add the butter and cream and allow the butter to melt. Stir in the salt, lemon juice and zest. Remove it from heat but keep it warm by covering it.

Add the pasta to the boiling water and boil until it reaches the al dente stage. This will take about 8 minutes. Spoon 1/4 cup of the pasta water into the sauce and then drain the pasta in the colander. Immediately add the asparagus and pasta to the sauce. Cook this over medium heat, tossing it frequently, until it is heated through. Toss the parsley and season to taste. Sprinkle parmesan over the pasta and serve.

These are only two delicious season recipes for the whole family to enjoy. You can find more by looking through cookbooks, magazines or watching cooking shows on television. Remember to choose fruits and vegetables your family loves when finding recipes for seasonal foods.

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