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Charred Scallion & Basil Salsa Verde

You can use the green tops of scallions, so please use all parts of the scallion…just cut off the bottom roots. 

What you need: 

  • 1 bunch scallions
  • 1 bunch herbs, I’m using basil
  • Oil
  • 1 lemon, zest & juice
  • 2 tablespoons capers or finely diced pickles

In a cast iron skillet or on the grill, chard the scallions till they are fragrant and limp. Chop into large pieces and place in a bowl and douse with oil. Let steep for 10 minutes. With a food processor or immersion blender, blend the basil and pickles in with the scallions and oil. Add in the lemon justice and zest, then season with salt & pepper to taste. 

This is great with tacos or on any grilled veggie or protein.

Asparagus, Scallion, and Beet Top Frittata

You can put anything in a frittata, even your beets greens! I love that this week’s beets can do double duty as a veggie and a green!

What you need: 

  • About 2-3 cups fresh beet greens
  • A handful of asparagus, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 1 bunch scallions, diced
  • Spices, I’m using herb de provence
  • 8 eggs
  • ½ cup yogurt or milk
  • Oil, Salt & pepper
  • YOur favorite cheese, I’m using Chevre

Preheat oven to 350 F

In a cast iron skillet (or other ovenproof pan) heat a glug of oil over medium high. Place all the asparagus pieces in the pan, so that all have contact with the bottom surface. Let cook, undisturbed for about 3-5 minutes until they begin to caramelize. (if you have very thick stalks, cut the pieces in half lengthwise.)

Toss scallions  into the pan. Cook until scallions become soft, about another 3-5 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the eggs and yogurt (or milk) together. Season with salt & pepper. Add about a ½ tsp of seasoning and add in the beet greens to the pan. Cook until greens are cooked down and have shrunk by half. 

Pour the egg mixture over the spinach and radishes. Crumble cheese on top and sprinkle more seasoning on top. Bak for about 15 minutes, until the center is firm with a little jiggle. It should not be runny. Let cool for 10 minutes in the pan, then cut to serve. 

Star Ingredient: Strawberries

Some people have compared biting into this week’s Star Ingredient, the Strawberry, as a taste of sunshine and I totally agree!  And while it’s the first fruit to ripen in the Spring, it always reminds me of Summer!  But didjaknow that the strawberry we enjoy today was first bred in France in the 1750s?  Before that there were smaller, less sweeter strawberries that grew wild in the woods in North and South America.  Another fun fact…the strawberry is not really a berry.  It’s a member of the Rose family.  Technically it’s an aggregate accessory fruit which is the reason the seeds are on the outside of the fruit rather than inside.  And while the seeds have an annoying habit of getting stuck between ones teeth…strawberries are so delicious that it’s worth the aggravation! 

We Should Call It The Mighty Strawberry!

Strawberries are believed to help reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers.  They are low in calories and high in Vitamins C, B6 & K, fiber, folic acid, potassium and amino acids.  They’re also high in nitrate which increases blood and oxygen flow to the muscles.  Research suggests that people who load up on strawberries before exercising have greater endurance and burn more calories.  Furthermore, they can help prevent big spikes in both blood sugar and insulin levels.  So not only is the strawberry sweet…it’s very healthy! 

Taking Care Of This Week’s Star!

Storing and prepping are rather easy!  If you are planning to keep your strawberries in the fridge for a few days, wait until before you eat them to clean them.  Rinsing them speeds up spoiling.  Then wash them and cut the stem away and you’re ready to go.

So Many Ways To Prepare This Week’s Star!

There are soooo many ways to eat strawberries, I don’t know even where to begin and doubt we could list all the ways in just one blog post but let’s try, shall we? Let’s start with eating them raw…I could eat a whole pint fresh from the field or market just as is.  But you can cut them into halves or quarters and mix with other berries to make an incredible fruit salad or slice them down and turn them into a topping for green salads with nuts and other goodies.  And chocolate covered strawberries are perfect to eat or to give as gifts.

Then you have your strawberry drinks like shakes and smoothies.  Mix strawberries in with lemonade for the perfect refreshing Summertime beverage.  Or just put strawberry slices in your water bottle for instant flavoring without added calories.  You can also add them to vodka or liquors to make all sorts of cocktails.  Strawberries are even used in making beers and wines!!

Next up you can bake them in muffin and brunch breads.  Use them in tarts and cakes (and even decorate the cakes with sliced strawberries, too).   And pies…who can resist a Strawberry Pie?  Strawberries can also be easily turned into jams, jellies, spreads and fillings. Try them in Chef Diana’s Strawberry & Yogurt Spoon Cake.

Oh, let’s not forget about cooking them down to make a sauce or reducing them even further to make a syrup.  You can add the strawberry sauce to oils and vinegars to make both savory and sweet dressings.  Chef Diana has introduced me to shrubs, preserved juices with vinegar, and strawberries are PERFECT for this! 

Strawberry & Yogurt Spoon Cake

Cake is a simple pleasure that we all should enjoy more often! This is a one bowl cake and really showcases this season’s strawberries. Really, it couldn’t be simpler!

What you need: 

  • ¾ cup whole milk yogurt, I’m using the greek from fiddle creek farm
  • 1 cup flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ cup sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup whole milk
  • 2 cups strawberries, hulled

Heat oven to 400 F & grease and flour a 9 inch cake pan. 

Add all ingredients except berries to a large bowl and mix with a hand mixer. You can mix everything at once because we are using yogurt instead of butter! Mix until just combined…don’t want to over mix the batter. 

If you have very large berries, cut them in half. Spread half of the berries on the bottom of the baking pan, then pour the batter in the pan. Sprinkle the remaining berries on top of the batter. 

Bake for about 25 minutes until golden and baked through. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream! 

You can use this recipe for any summer fruit! 

Star Ingredient: Asparagus

Make way for this week’s Star Ingredient…Asparagus!  I’ve always thought of asparagus as fancy…you see it at all the right parties, it has a unique shape and once upon a time it was classified in the lily family until it got its very own Family, Asparagaceae…heck, even its own Order, Asparagales!  While stories of its origins vary, its native range included most of Europe and western temperate Asia.  It has been used for food, in medicine and even as an aphrodisiac!  It was pictured on an Egyptian frieze, loved by Greeks who ate it fresh when in season & dried it for use in winter and one Roman emperor created the “Asparagus Fleet” with the specific purpose of hauling the vegetable!  It came to North America with the Dutch in 1655 and William Penn even mentioned it in an advertisement for Pennsylvania as a crop that grew well in the American climate!  So, definitely a Veggie Star for a long time! 

Fascinating!  Is There More?

Why yes…yes, there is!  Only young asparagus shoots are commonly eaten because they quickly turn woody.  And no…thickness and thinness are NOT an indication of tenderness or toughness.  Plants bearing seeds produce spears that are smaller and thinner; plants without seeds produce larger and thicker spears.  The stalks are thick or thin from the moment they sprout from the ground.  It usually takes 3 seasons for an asparagus plant to be ready to harvest but the wait is so worth it!  Asparagus plants can be viable for ten to twenty years, too!  One more neat fact and then I’ll move on to nutrition…asparagus is said to be a useful companion plant for tomatoes as the tomato plant will repel the asparagus beetle and in return the asparagus will repel some harmful root nematodes that affect tomato plants.

Now Let’s Talk Nutrition!

Didjaknow that water makes up 93% of asparagus’s composition?  It’s a good source of Vitamins B6, C, E & K and a very good source of dietary fiber, protein, beta-carotene, iron, potassium, selenium, as well as chromium, a trace mineral that regulates the ability of insulin to transport glucose from the bloodstream into cells.  It’s low in calories and eating asparagus helps with weight loss, improved digestion, healthier pregnancies and lower blood pressure.  And, thanks to its ability to break down toxins in the liver, asparagus even works as an excellent hangover remedy, reducing alcohol toxicity by increasing liver enzymes and encouraging healthy liver function.  Now that’s what I call a veggie that goes above and beyond being good for you!

Taking Care Of This Week’s Star!

Asparagus, like most veggies, tastes best when cooked the day you buy it.  If that’s not going to happen, no problem.  Treat them like you would store cut flowers…trim the bottoms and stand the spears up in a glass jar with about an inch of water at the bottom!  If you put a plastic bag over the top of the spears it can last up to 4 days in the refrigerator.

How To Prepare This Week’s Star!

You can pretty much cook asparagus any which way imaginable…boiling, steaming, grilling, roasting, sauteing, broiling and pan-roasting are just some of the ways to make the tender green spears pop with flavor.  The way you cook it is all dependent on what taste experience you’re going for and what is most convenient.  Asparagus really doesn’t need more than a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of salt & pepper…but it pairs wonderfully with richer sauces like hollandaise or getting wrapped up in prosciutto, too!  And don’t be afraid to enjoy asparagus raw!  Fresh asparagus spears have an irresistible sweet and snappy texture…cooking them just unlocks new flavors.

So there you have it…everything you need to know about asparagus.  The only thing left is to getting some…which we’ve made that easy since you’ll get a bunch in your Market Box this week!  Enjoy!

-Johnny Kat

Raw Asparagus Salad

I love local spring asparagus! There is really nothing like it. Gabriel and I had a similar dish recently and I had to recreate my own version. It’s super easy, and will be stunning on your dinner table.

Only attempt this recipe with fresh & local spring asparagus, please.

What you need: 

  • Half a Bunch of Asparagus
  • 1 Watermelon Radish
  • 3 tablespoons Lemon Vinegar, or Juice
  • 4 tablespoons Oil, Olive or Sunflower
  • Salt & Pepper
  • About 2-3 cups of greens, use what you have

Wash and snap the tough bottoms off of each asparagus spear. Then with a sharp knife , slice the spears on the bias lengthwise (on the diagonal). As thin as you can get them. Also, slice the watermelon radish thinly into matchsticks (french fries). 

Whisk together the lemon, oil, and seasoning. Pour half of the dressing over the asparagus. Then toss your greens with the rest of the dressing and place the asparagus on top of the greens. Or serve them without the greens, too!

Rhubarb Daiquiri

This season’s rhubarb is my inspiration for this cocktail. We are using rijuice’s Rhubarb Blossom lemonade, but you can use any type of lemonade. There are many ways to make a daiquiri…

For One Drink: 

  • 1 oz Rhubarb Blossom Juice
  • ½ oz Simple Syrup
  • 1 ½ oz White Rum

Fill the cocktail shaker with ice and combine all ingredients. Shake until the outside of your shaker is frosty, about 20 seconds. Strain into a coupe glass. Enjoy cold. 

How to make simple syrup: Heat equal parts sugar and water in a pan over medium heat. Cook until sugar is dissolved, then cool. Store in the fridge.