June 4, 2013

Spring Goodies

On the cusp of summer, I knew I had to quickly write this post about spring produce.

Anyway, I'm not the most daring person ever. I will most likely never go sky diving or bungee jumping. So my adventurous spirit comes out in the form of trying new food. This Spring, I thought I'd try to cook with seasonal produce and try out some new goodies in the process.


English Peas: 
Peas are usually purchased in frozen form. The result is a little mushy and a little soggy. I was super excited to find fresh english peas at my local co-op and enjoyed them thoroughly. When blanched quickly, they have a little bite to them and are a little nutty and delicious. Follow Paula Deen's example and just eat them with some butter. Simple and tasty. 

Artichokes:
My friend Loren first introduced me to eating artichokes whole (not just the hearts) a few years ago. I never ventured into cooking them on my own until now. I followed these instructions on how to cook and eat an artichoke, which can be a little daunting because of its pointy leaves and tough exterior. So after steaming the artichoke whole, I enjoyed the leaves with a little bit of butter. No fancy hollandaise sauce necessary. 

Rhubarb:
The most well-known way of eating rhubarb is combining it with strawberries in some form of dessert: pies, cobbler, cookies, etc. I don't think I've ever had rhubarb on its own and decided to try pickling them after seeing this post from the blog Spoon Fork Bacon (one of my faves). I was inspired after purchasing my first mason jar at Hobby Lobby a few weeks ago. I want to start pickling this summer and my first experiment was with these rhubarb pickles
One hint: buying spices in bulk saves you a lot of money and also allows you to buy just the right amount necessary instead of being left with a ton of mustard and cumin seeds. 
the bulk spice aisle at my local co-op
Anyway the pickles came out mushy, which was unexpected. I sought out advice and one person suggested I not boil the jar to can them since they were going to be refrigerated. Regardless, they were spicy and add a nice kick to my meals. 

I also tried out a savory recipe with my leftover rhubarb (skillet chicken with rhubarb) and discovered the flavor of rhubarb on its own. It's definitely tart and tangy. 

As for other spring produce, asparagus has definitely been visible in my kitchen and I throw it in just about everything. I can't get enough of strawberries. Hopefully next year, I can seek out the elusive ramps and some fava beans

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