Friday, July 20, 2018
Cooking

Recipes to savor spring vegetables like peas, spinach and asparagus

In typical spring fashion, the weather waffles between cold and warm, wet and dry, but the season's savory flavors don't.

It is a time of the year when vegetables awaken from their deep winter slumber fresh and tender, and burst with flavor and color. When they are morphed into savory tarts, salads, dressings and purees, they are simply irresistible.

For better or worse, asparagus is available year-round but the vegetable is at its best now. When buying them, remember slender spears are not necessarily better; they are only younger and so more tender. Fatter spears can be more succulent. Roasting the vegetable brings out its complexity — the sugar caramelizes and an ever so slight bitterness emerges. If you want to go the classic French route, poach asparagus and serve it cold.

Radishes provide some of the first color splash of spring. The early-season ones have a milder peppery flavor than the ones grown in summer, and are perfect for a raw-vegetable platter or to top a mixed salad. When preparing them, wash and trim root ends just before using. For a crisper bite, soak radishes in ice water for a couple of hours.

New potatoes, the freshly dug young tubers with a delicate skin whose sugars have not yet been converted into starch, are wondrous when roasted in the oven with a drizzle of olive oil, a good sprinkling of salt and pepper and fresh herbs such as dill or thyme. Or simply boil them with a little salt and slightly smash them for Chickpea, Egg and Potato Salad.

Tender baby spinach not only adds a verdant splash on a rainy day but also brings deliciousness to the table when sauteed with sesame oil and crushed garlic. Or combine spinach with romaine lettuce for a spring salad.

Frozen peas are omnipresent year-round but opt for the fresh ones that are available now as, after all, their season is fleeting. However, keep in mind that they should be consumed soon after being picked because the natural sugars in them turn to starch. In addition to the obvious choice — soup — peas can be use in purees and served with roast chicken or pork, or even savory pancakes.

The best way to let early spring vegetables shine is to blanch or steam them, then toss them with a little butter or olive oil and lightly season with salt and pepper. But it won't be against the law to dress them some or even have them take the runway to earn all the glory.

 
Comments
Tampa Bay is a perfect place to make your own food tour. Here are our suggestions.

Tampa Bay is a perfect place to make your own food tour. Here are our suggestions.

There are many good reasons to eat at four or five places in one night. A near overwhelming number of new restaurants in the Tampa Bay area can provoke anxiety in a certain kind of diner, the one who wants to try everything but doesn’t have th...
Published: 07/18/18
Food tours offer an informative, and delicious, look at different areas of Tampa Bay

Food tours offer an informative, and delicious, look at different areas of Tampa Bay

There is a running list on my phone of restaurants to try. A romantic evening at St. Petersburg’s Reading Room. The Safety Harbor double date night, so we can finally take our friends to Pizzeria Gregario. Splurging on the chef’s tasting ...
Published: 07/18/18
This simple shrimp dish lets summer vegetables shine

This simple shrimp dish lets summer vegetables shine

o the Washington PostThis meal of crisp vegetables and plump shrimp is light, fresh, flavorful and fast. It is just the thing to whip up when you need to reset from a weekend of typical summer party fare, heavy on the grilled meats and mayonnaise-y s...
Published: 07/17/18
Taste test: New snacks from Klondike, Quaker, Planters and Layís

Taste test: New snacks from Klondike, Quaker, Planters and Layís

Every parent knows the need to stock up the snack cupboard when their children are around for the summer. I am not sure whether they get hungrier in the hot weather or just bored. But judges said their children always want something to eat when they ...
Published: 07/16/18
Recipe for Roasted Peach and Chicken Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette

Recipe for Roasted Peach and Chicken Salad With Bacon Vinaigrette

I adore a hearty salad for summer, and this one came about as a result of having to use some leftovers in my fridge. Roasted peaches are a staple this time of year: slowly roasted in the oven for about 30 minutes on 350 degrees, drizzled with honey, ...
Published: 07/16/18
Here's what we learned about buying and cooking beef after spending time with Niman Ranch

Here's what we learned about buying and cooking beef after spending time with Niman Ranch

We started off our education at a Niman Ranch family ranch, where the Edelman family raises Angus beef, birth to finish, in the Flint Hills of Sabetha.
Published: 07/09/18
Nine recipes for ice pops you can make at home

Nine recipes for ice pops you can make at home

By Daniel Neman Itís summer, and the sun is relentless, merciless, heartless. The air hangs heavy. Your shirt sticks to your back. Beads of sweat threaten to drip into your eyes.Air conditioning wonít help, and neither will a dip in a pool. Those c...
Published: 07/09/18
Give vegetables a starring role in grilled kebabs

Give vegetables a starring role in grilled kebabs

Americaís Test KitchenWhen it comes to grilled kebabs, vegetables are often an afterthought, typically used as a filler on meat-heavy skewers. But this treatment often leads to mushy, burnt vegetables with no flavor of their own. We wanted to create ...
Published: 07/06/18
Quench your thirst with a Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie

Quench your thirst with a Watermelon Strawberry Smoothie

By Katie WorkmanHoly mother of summer, itís gotten hot. My dog is sleeping in our shower because the tiles are cool. Iím testing recipes in the morning because I donít want my oven cranking all afternoon. And (this is how I know itís really hot), I m...
Published: 07/06/18
Recipe for pork tenderloin, my favorite cut for a weeknight dinner, with cherry relish

Recipe for pork tenderloin, my favorite cut for a weeknight dinner, with cherry relish

Pork tenderloin has become my dinnertime champion. I love it for its low fat content, its relatively low price point and the way it will cook perfectly with little to no supervision. The tenderloin, as you might expect, comes from the loin of the pig...
Published: 07/05/18
Updated: 07/10/18