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Three Spring Vegetable Recipes

Early spring brings the first of the fresh veggies to market, among them asparagus, artichokes and peas.

Early-season asparagus is a thing of beauty when lightly steamed and dressed with a bit of fresh lemon; other preparation methods include grilling, stir-frying, roasting and, especially in the case of thicker stalks, boiling. Look for bright-green stalks with smooth skin and compact heads.

Artichokes are actually the undeveloped flowers of a plant in the sunflower family. Mature specimens can be steamed, boiled, grilled or fried, while baby chokes can be eaten raw (as in the salad below). Artichoke hearts are available year round as marinated delicacies.

Pea choices include the round, green standard pea; as edible-podded (or snap) peas, which resemble green beans; and flat-podded peas, often used in Asian cuisines. Peas are available fresh in the spring and frozen or canned the rest of the year (go with frozen for best taste).

Fresh Asparagus Scramble

1 lb asparagus spears, ends trimmed

8 large eggs*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

salt, to taste

pepper, to taste

1 tbsp olive oil

4 oz whipped garlic-and-herb cream cheese

1 pt cherry tomatoes, sliced into halves

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.Can also use 3 whole eggs and 9 egg whites

1. Blanch asparagus in a medium-sized pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 4 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Whisk eggs in a large bowl, season with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; add eggs. Stir until eggs are almost set, about 1 minute. Add cheese in dollops; then add tomatoes. Stir until cheese melts and eggs are softly set, about 2 minutes.
3. Cut asparagus into 3” pieces and fold into egg mixture; place on a heated plate or oval ovenware.
4. Garnish with parsley. (Can serve an additional 2 or 3 spears of cooked asparagus on the side.)

Serves 4

Source: California Asparagus Commission

Baby Artichoke, Parsley and Celery Salad

2 1/2 lbs baby artichokes

1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

1 cup thinly sliced celery

1 medium red onion (or 5 green onions), thinly sliced

1 cup packed Italian parsley, stems removed

1/4 cup capers

1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

dash Tabasco sauce

salt

freshly ground pepper

    1. Clean the artichokes by pulling away and discarding the outer leaves until all that remains is the very light, tender inner leaves. Using a sharp knife, cut off and discard the tips of the remaining leaves and all the dark parts.
    2. Pour the lemon juice into a large bowl. Slice the trimmed artichokes thinly and add to the bowl, tossing well. Add the celery, onion, parsley, capers, oil and Tabasco, then salt and pepper to taste.
    3. Serve at room temperature or cook in a skillet over medium heat for 2 minutes to warm slightly.

    Yields 4 servings

    Source: Simply Organic by Jesse Ziff Cool (Chronicle Books)

    Red Beet and Pea Risotto With Mint and Feta

    olive oil

    1 large red onion, minced

    2 garlic cloves, minced

    1 cup (generous) arborio rice

    3 medium cooked red beets, cubed

    4 cups vegetable stock (from a cube or powder)

    sea salt and black pepper

    1 3/4 cups frozen garden peas

    handful fresh mint, minced

    3/4 cup crumbled feta cheese

      1. Heat a little olive oil in a pan, add the onion and garlic, and cook 4–5 minutes, or until onion is soft. Add rice and cook another minute. Add two of the beets.
      2. Add the vegetable stock little by little, until the rice is soft and just tender, stirring frequently (can take up to 30 minutes). It should be fairly moist, but not too liquid. Season with salt and pepper.
      3. When the rice is almost cooked, add the peas and mint and cook another 2–3 minutes.
      4. Place remaining beet in a small food processor and process to a coarse purée. Add purée to the finished risotto, stir well, and serve on warmed plates. Sprinkle some feta over each one.

      Serves 3

      Reprinted with permission from The Medicinal Chef © 2013 Dale Pinnock, Sterling Publishing Inc. Co.

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      **These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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