Food from the Hart

Posts Tagged ‘spring’

Cucumber Martini

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 8:16 pm

Yield: 1 cocktail

2 oz. vodka (Grey Goose)

1/4 oz. Lemon Juice

2 slices Cucumber

3 pieces Mint

1/2 oz. Sugar Syrup



Muddle mint and a cucumber slice in a cocktail shaker. Add liquids and ice. Shake and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with a slice of cucumber and a fresh mint sprig.



Fettuccine with Peas, Asparagus and Pancetta

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 6:02 pm

Yield: 4

Cooking Time: 40 minutes

This is a wonderful recipe! I first discovered this in the May 2010 issue of Bon Appetit. It’s hearty and healthy, using a variety of spring vegetables. The pancetta adds that bit of saltiness that really brings the whole dish together. A little bit of parmesan cheese and it’s like a party in your mouth.  It looks beautiful on the plate and great for entertaining but is easy enough to add to your weekly meal rotation.

12 ounces fettuccine or penne

3 ounces pancetta or bacon, chopped

1 1/4 pounds asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces

2 cups shelled fresh green peas, blanched 1 minute in boiling water, drained, or frozen peas (do not thaw)

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced, white and pale green parts separated from dark green parts

2 garlic cloves, pressed

1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley, divided

1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil, divided


Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain, reserving 1/2 cup pasta cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

Meanwhile, cook pancetta in large nonstick skillet over medium heat until crisp. Using slotted spoon, transfer pancetta to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but 1 teaspoon drippings from skillet. Add asparagus to drippings in skillet; sauté 3 minutes. Add peas, white and pale green parts of green onions, and garlic; sauté until vegetables are just tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat.

Add vegetable mixture, 1/4 cup pasta cooking liquid, dark green parts of green onions, 1/2 cup Parmesan, cream, olive oil, lemon juice, lemon peel, half of parsley, and half of basil to pasta. Toss, adding more cooking liquid by tablespoonfuls if needed. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Transfer to large bowl. Sprinkle pancetta, remaining parsley, and basil over. Serve, passing additional Parmesan cheese.








English Pea Soup with Mint

In Recipes on April 13, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Yield: 4 servings

Cooking Time: 30 minutes

This is a recipe that I adapted from Chef Russell Moore at Chez Panisse in Berkley, CA.  They are the masters of turning simple, seasonal ingredients into food experiences.  The key to this recipe is using fresh peas from pods.  They have a wonderful sweet and delicate flavor that is worth the work to shell.

2 spring onion, sliced

4 tablespoons olive oil

4 cups English peas, shelled (about 12 ounces)

12 mint leaves, torn


Vegetable or Chicken Broth

Creme Fraiche


Sauté the spring onion in four tablespoons olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the shelled peas, some kosher salt, and enough broth to barely cover. Cook over high heat for 5 minutes, then add half the torn mint leaves. Continue cooking until the peas are tender, a few more minutes. Check for seasoning, and add more salt if needed.

Let the peas cool a bit and use an immersion blender or regular blender the puree the peas.  Continue to mix until the puree is smooth. For a most delicate texture, pass the mixture through a fine sieve.  Thin out with additional broth if needed. Serve warm with a dollop of Creme Fraiche and a mint leaf.




Spring Produce Spotlight: Ramp it Up with Ramps

In Product Spotlight on April 6, 2011 at 2:27 pm

In early spring Ramps begin to pop up in wooded areas and along stream beds.  They look like large scallions and taste similar to a cross between garlic and onions.  Fresh Ramps have a very pungent smell with an almost spicy kick.  However, when you cook them their flavor mellows and they add a wonderful punch to a meal.  Take advantage of these guys in the first few weeks of spring, after they become difficult to find.

How to Cook

Like scallions, the leafy green tops tend to be milder than the white bulbs at the bottom.  Common preparations include sautéing, and roasting but you can also grill.

Add Ramps to Your Next Meal

  • Ramps and Morel Mushrooms make a wonderful pairing.  Trying sautéing and adding to a Spring Risotto with peas and asparagus.
  • Char-grill them and serve alongside a grilled hanger steak or chicken breast.  Before serving squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the ramps to brighten the flavor.
  • Use in place of scallions on top of a baked potato with sour cream and cheese.
  • For a spring brunch, sauté ramps and add to a classic Quiche Lorraine filling.

Strawberry-Rhubarb Parfaits

In Recipes on March 27, 2011 at 11:15 am

Yield: 6-8 servings

Cooking Time: 45 minutes (active)

Rhubarb is one of the best ingredients spring has to offer.  The unique bitter / tart taste goes so well with sweet fruit like berries.  I have made this recipe a million times, always trying to put my spin on it.  However, when Gourmet Magazine published it in 2000 they got it right.  There’s nothing to change or add.  It’s perfect the way it is and healthy to boot!

1 1/2 pounds rhubarb stalks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 (10-ounce) package thawed frozen “lite” strawberries in syrup

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

1 1/2 pints low-fat super premium vanilla ice cream, softened


Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Arrange rhubarb in 1 layer on a lightly oiled shallow (1-inch-deep) baking pan and sprinkle with confectioners sugar. Roast in middle of oven 30 minutes, or until very tender. Cool in pan on a rack.

Purée rhubarb in a blender, scraping down sides several times, until smooth and transfer to a bowl. Purée strawberries and corn syrup in blender. Force purée through a fine sieve into a bowl and discard seeds. Stir one third of rhubarb purée into strawberry purée.

Stir together remaining rhubarb purée and ice cream and freeze until firm enough to scoop, 1 to 2 hours.

Layer strawberry-rhubarb purée and ice-cream mixture in 8 (6-oz) stemmed glasses.

Serve immediately.

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