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The Cookstr 10: Ten Dishes to Ring in Spring

March 24, 2011

Woo hoo! It’s official: spring is here and no one can take it back. Having said that, there was an insouciant little flurry of snowflakes in our neck of the woods earlier this week, kind of like Mother Nature flinging some handfuls of fluffy precipitation our way to remind us that March is fickle. But the snowflakes melted before they actually stuck to the first little tulips that are courageously sticking their necks out, and we’re ready to move on to the new season and all the chow that comes along with it.

Judy Rodgers' Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

It’s early days yet, that’s for sure. We’re excited about everything that’s coming: the artichokes, the ramps, the strawberries, the peas…and we’ll have to be a bit patient (not always our strongest suit). Meanwhile, here are ten dishes that are getting us revved up about the shifting seasons.

Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner's Arugula Salad with Parmesan

[See all 10 recipes after the break!]

1. Asparagus and Arugula Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts
 

Jon Ashton

Oh, asparagus, great harbinger of spring; we love you so. We love you steamed and roasted and grilled and sliced up in light pasta dishes like this one.

Click here for Jon’s Asparagus and Arugula Spaghetti with Lemon and Pine Nuts Recipe

2. Mixed Wild Mushroom Soup

James Peterson

Wild mushrooms are bursting onto the scene in many parts of the country and this thick, rich mushroom soup is a great way to make the most of whichever ones are within your grasp. This is a mushroom soup template, and you should have fun making it your own.

Click here for James’ Mixed Wild Mushroom Soup Recipe

3. Arugula Salad with Parmesan

Victoria Blashford-Snell and Brigitte Hafner
Those first delicate leaves of arugula have a mild peppery bite, not as strong as those from more mature plants. They need nothing more than a fresh lemony vinaigrette and a few curls of Parmesan to transform them into a perfect early spring salad.

4. Creamy Parsnip Hummus with Parsley

leeksAna Sortun

In the Northeast, parsnips show up at farmers’ markets before any other “spring” vegetables because in many cases they were actually cultivated underground over the winter. In fact, that’s how they develop their sweetness. This unconventional hummus uses similar seasonings to traditional hummus, but parsnips instead of the chickpeas, which contribute a familiar earthiness and a lovely sweetness, too.

Click here for Ana’s Creamy Parsnip Hummus with Parsley Recipe

5. Puree of Spring Greens
 

Nava Atlas

Talk about nutritious, talk about verdant, talk about making the most out of the first greens hardy enough to emerge from the ground. You can use Asian greens, spinach, lettuce, parsley in this vegan soup and relish a real first taste of spring.

Click here for Nava’s Puree of Spring Greens Recipe

6. Paella with Wild Mushrooms
Jeff Koehler 

At this time of year, it’s likely that local mushrooms are appearing in your markets. Maybe you’re even lucky enough to find some prized morels. Rediscovering morels feel like greeting a long lost friend every spring. That’s the kind of reunion that we love. The mushrooms are cooked first over moderately low heat so that they release their moisture, which is later used to flavor the rice.

Click here for Jeff’s Paella with Wild Mushrooms Recipe

7. Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi

Judy Rodgers

The best gnocchi is both satisfying and light, and that’s exactly the kind of food we’re looking for as winter slides into spring. Pay special attention to the ricotta you use as the texture can vary significantly, affecting the balance of other ingredients. This is a very elemental recipe, and one that takes well to variations and all kinds of toppings, from melted butter to delicate amounts of seasonal herbs and vegetables.

Click here for Judy’s Zuni Ricotta Gnocchi Recipe

8. Roast Chicken with Leeks

leeksMargaret Howard

Leeks are a great vegetable to bridge the transition between winter and spring, and when roasted alongside a chicken, the leeks season the chicken and the juices from the bird flavor the vegetables beautifully. A perfect dinner for the first cool weeks of the season.

Click here for Margaret’s Roast Chicken with Leeks Recipe

9. Basmati Spinach Ragout

spinachDidi Emmons

Spinach likes the cool days of early spring, and when combined with a potent mix of southern Indian spices, aromatic basmati rice, and lush coconut milk, you have a vegetarian main or side dish that is anything but run-of-the-mill.

Click here for Didi’s Basmati Spinach Ragout Recipe

10. Rhubarb Mint Cobbler
bananaJerry Traunfeld 

Just making its seasonal debut in some markets, rhubarb is definitely one of the surest signs that winter is coming to a close and warm weather is around the bend. Featured in desserts, rhubarb offers a unique and zesty tartness. This minty cobbler is a bracing end to a meal.

Click here for Jerry’s Rhubarb Mint Cobbler Recipe

4 Comments leave one →
  1. Terry Burdette permalink
    March 25, 2011 8:19 am

    I’m new to this site and am trying to see if there’s a better way to print recipes without all the advertisements and extraneous pictures that wastes paper?

  2. April 8, 2011 12:59 pm

    Spinach and Brown Rice – http://casa-giardino.blogspot.com/2010/10/meatless-monday-spinach-and-brown-rice.html

    Shell pasta with fresh peas
    Zucchini and potatoes
    Swisschart and potatoes
    Dandelions and fava beans

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