Grill Scouts: Don’t wait until tomato season to have bruschetta

There’s a reason that tomatoes are the perennial farmers market favorite. They lend a sweet, meaty flavor and color to any meal, and require little more than a quick chop to become dinner. But although there’s something great about the singular tomato-basil bruschetta, there are countless other ways to make a meal using early-season favorites instead—all on the grill. Faintly sweet summer squash and asparagus caramelize alongside halved lemons; combined with a crumble of feta, it yields a savory topping that is equally good heaped onto grilled baguette as it is straight out of the bowl. The richness of avocado paired with spicy radishes, and cool smoked trout yields a bruschetta that comes together faster than the grill heats up. When fresh strawberries are available, a quick toss in a grill-warmed pan with a little maple sugar gives them campfire flavor, creating a glossy sauce that, when splashed over a triple cream cheese, could compete with our love of tomatoes any day. 

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Keep It Fresh

 

Photo by Emily Teel

Warmer weather draws an appetite for flavorful spring salads 

As the spring days get warmer and evenings stretch out, it’s not all that appealing to spend an hour in the kitchen preparing a big meal. So opt to limit your time in the kitchen by whipping up these easy savory salads. These three colorful alternatives to a big meal don’t even require that you mix up a dressing. 

Pickled shallots lend a punch to roasted beets and show that you don’t need greens to make a gorgeous salad. The earthiness of the beets is punctuated with creamy, salty feta and sweetness from a few of last fall’s lingering apples. Strawberries balance the bite from balsamic and the spicy Asian greens. Slaws may be the easiest of all salads, and this one made with carrots, scallions and lime juice is no exception—even as you quickly caramelize sunflower seeds with a salty slick of soy sauce.

 

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Just Say Gnocchi

Photo by Emily Teel

Spring produce wakes up even the most tired of winter staples

By the time April rolls around, local foods are in a sorry state: Potatoes are beginning to sprout, long-neglected cabbages continue to be ignored, and turnips wore out their welcome back in February. But then spring sashays in, as much of a tease as ever. Crunch returns to our plates in the form of delicate lettuces and greens, then again in the sharpness of scallions and the sweetness of peas. Bright red radishes, peeking their rosy shoulders through the soil, must surprise even the farmers. 

The following recipes bridge the seasons. Fresh chard adds a punch to the roasted root sweetness in a hash, which works just as well at brunch as it does served in tortillas for dinner. A crunchy salad of spicy radishes, juicy kohlrabi, apple, cabbage and fresh peas is a refreshing change from grocery store spring mix. Gnocchi is a project, but it makes the noblest end for potatoes past their prime and, served simply with brown butter and lemon, allows fresh asparagus—the truest indicator that spring has arrived—to shine. 

 

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