The flavors of spring
It’s May. Last week we still had a few snow showers. But the days are getting longer and warmer. In gardens, crocuses are beginning to give way to daffodils, and on my way to Plattsburgh, a forsythia bush was blooming along Route 3.
Sunday is Mothers’ Day. The second Sunday of May has been set aside to honor Mom for more than a century. We express our appreciation for Mom’s unconditional love and daily sacrifice. Since the beginning of the 20th century, the custom of an annual Mom’s Day has taken root throughout the world.
This year, Mom is happy to finally see spring. Though she can no longer garden, she’s enjoying spring flowers and the budding trees.
Mom and I will be at the Paul Smith’s Visitor’s Interpretive Center for their Mothers’ Day waffle and maple syrup brunch. I will be selling books along with other authors and crafters.
Now that the days are longer, chickens have been laying like crazy, so eggs are plentiful. Soon, stalks of red rhubarb and green asparagus will be popping up. I see our chives coming up. Soon, they will be tall enough to cut. Other perennial herbs, like mint, and last year’s parsley, are also showing. Radishes and scallions, fresh greens like dandelions, lettuce, spinach, arugula and chard will be plentiful soon.
Most people know rhubarb from pie, muffins and other sweet treats, but it is also good stewed with meat. Asparagus and fresh greens are good in frittatas, quiche, omelets, and other egg dishes. Scallions and radishes are great in salads, but also in stir-fries. Chives are great with eggs, potatoes, pasta, and of course salads.
Enjoy the fresh flavors spring brings!
Asparagus with potatoes and eggs
2 or 3 potatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 or 3 eggs
1 bunch asparagus
1 tablespoon butter
Fresh minced parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Peel potatoes (optional). Cut up. Place in water with salt. Bring to a boil, lower heat to simmer, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until tender.
While potatoes are cooking, prepare the eggs. Place in a pot with enough water to cover them. Cover, bring to a boil, cook 1 minute, and turn off the heat. Let them sit in the hot water 7 to 8 minutes. Drain; run under cold water and peel.
Steam the asparagus. Place in steamer basket with water and cook until tender, 5 to 7 minutes. Or place in large skillet with lid, add about a third cup of water, cover, bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer 5 to 7 minutes, or until tender.
In a small skillet over medium-low heat, melt the butter. Do not allow to brown.
Chop the parsley.
On serving plate, arrange potatoes, asparagus and quartered hard-cooked eggs. Drizzle asparagus and potatoes with a little melted butter. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and parsley, and serve.
Fresh Greens and Wholegrain Salad
Cooked sweet potato or carrots or squash (optional)
1/2 cup cooked grain (like barley or farro)
1/2 cup cooked lentils or beans (I used black lentils)
About 3 or 4 cups mixed greens (spinach, lettuce, arugula)
1 cup sliced scallions
1 cup sliced cucumber or radish
About 1 cup diced red peppers or 1/2 cup craisins (dried cranberries)
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 teaspoon maple syrup
1 clove garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 ounce crumbled feta cheese, optional, for garnish
Have on hand 2 cups diced roasted sweet potatoes, carrots, or winter squash like butternut. (To roast, toss vegetable chunks with a mixture of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and salt. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes). You can also cook the sweet potato or carrot in a microwave, then peel and chunk.
To cook grain and lentils, follow package directions. (you can also use canned black beans or canned garbanzo beans)
Wash greens and set aside to drain.
For the dressing, combine olive oil, balsamic vinegar, mustard and maple syrup in the bottom of a salad bowl. Grate garlic (I used a microplane) and salt; stir to combine.
Add cooked grain, cooked lentils and greens to salad bowl, and toss to combine.
Stir in remaining vegetables and half of the roasted sweet potato or squash.
Garnish with remaining sweet potato or squash, red peppers and feta cheese, if using.
Serves 3 to 4.
Author of the award-winning cookbook “Garden Gourmet: Fresh & Fabulous Meals from your Garden, CSA or Farmers’ Market,” Yvona Fast lives in Lake Clear. She can be found at www.yvonafast.com and reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Facebook at Words Are My World.