Thursday, June 18, 2009

Spinach Salad with Strawberry Vinaigrette

It's strawberry season and I'm loving every bite. I made a salad with fresh spinach, red onion, sliced strawberries and a quick strawberry poppyseed vinaigrette. When you clean the spinach, soak it in a large bowl of water or in the sink then remove the stems and spin dry the leaves. If the leaves are large I tear them into more manageable bite sized pieces. Reserve the stems in a freezer bag for the next time you make soup or broth...they'll add some extra nutrition. I also save the ends from the onion in my freezer soup bag, where all unused veggie bits are stored until broth making time. Anyway, back to the salad. For the dressing, it mixes best in a food processor, but if you don't have one a whisk will do too. As a general rule of thumb for vinaigrettes, you will use one part vinegar to two parts oil and any additional ingredients you choose for the mixture. For the strawberry poppyseed I added 1 tablespoon strawberry jam and 1 tablespoon poppyseeds and a pinch of sea salt. Voila, instant yumminess!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Grilled Asparagus

Here's my favorite recipe for's quick, easy and very healthy because you don't lose any nutrients in the cooking process. A grill pan is helpful to keep the spears from diving into the coals.
Rinse 1 lb asparagus and snap off the ends by holding the asparagus and breaking from the bottom end. Let the asparagus break naturally and this will remove the tough bottoms. Save the bottoms in the freezer for the next time you make broth.
Pat dry the asparagus then drizzle with 1-2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle with sea salt and top with lemon zest or a little lemon juice. Grill for 5 minutes and enjoy hot or cold.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Strawberries are Here!

The very first strawberries of the season are here. Yipee!
Last year on one of my visits to JenEhr Farm to pick up theCSA the crew was planting strawberry plants. Farmer Paul happened to mention to me that they had extras and I gladly volunteered to take some off his hands for my garden, and my neighbor Ben's garden too, it turned out there were a lot of plants in the bag Paul gave me. Sadly after they gave those away to us and we had already planted them in our yards, the floods of 2008 came and washed away many of the plants at JenEhr and they lost an entire bed of strawberry plants to the rain.

So, we've been eagerly awaiting the appearance of the first berries this season. Ben's kids even had a bet as to when the first ripe berry would appear. Yesterday while I was on the porch reading the Wednesday New York Times Dining Section, along comes Ben with a grin and a handful of freshly picked strawberries from his yard. You forget how good they are, the first precious ones picked at the perfection of ripeness and sweet and juicy, and especially from your own garden. I restrained myself and saved two for Tim, which wasn't easy...if he'd been 5 minutes later coming home from work they'd have been gone :)

The plants in our yard still have all green berries on them, but they'll be here soon, so dust off your canning jars and dig out your shortcake recipes. Summer is officially here!