Working out in the yard at this time of year is a pleasure. At our house, we patiently wait each year to indulge in the first garden offerings of the season.
In a few steps we can wander out to the garden to snap off some fresh asparagus, cut a few winter onions and rhubarb stocks and pull a fresh radish. A fresh sweet strawberry hanging on the vine is of course the favourite find!
There is something so gratifying about eating food that you have grown right in your own yard. Enjoy these simple recipes that offer bursting seasonal tastes.
Asparagus is packed with nutrients such as vitamins A,C, E, K and chromium. Loaded with antioxidants and fibre, this seasonal vegetable helps to block free radicals in our bodies. It is healthy, fresh and delicious.
Whether you are picking right out of the garden or preparing a bundle from the farmers market or produce section, simply bend with your hands and the asparagus will snap at the prefect spot for the best flavour. No cutting is necessary. This method of preparation eliminates using the woody part of the spear.
Rinse and prepare by steaming for about 3 1/2 minutes, roasting in the oven on a baking pan at 425 F/220 C for about 20 minutes or on the grill. Turn often when using the oven or grill method to cook.
And when tender, drizzle with olive oil or butter and season with salt and pepper.
Beef asparagus stir fry
Try this satisfying main course. Serve over rice or with a side salad.
- 1/2 c. catelina dressing 125 mL
- 3 tbsp. soy sauce 45 mL
- 4 beef steaks, cut into thin strips
- 10 to 15 asparagus spears
- 1 yellow or red pepper, cut into strips
- 6 green onions, finely chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
Mix the dressing and soy sauce in a large skillet over medium heat. Once heated, place the meat in the skillet, cooking for approximately three to five minutes.
Add the asparagus, pepper and onions and stir fry for an additional five minutes or until done. Serves four.
Creamy potato salad
I make this salad at this time of year to use fresh baby dill, winter onions and why not a hot radish to heat things up. These little bits of flavour add so much to a menu. This dish is great to make ahead of time and store in the refrigerator.
- 3/4 c. mayonnaise or salad dressing 175 mL
- 1 tsp. mustard 5 mL
- 1/2 tsp. celery seed 2 mL
- 1/8 tsp. ground pepper .5 mL
- 1/4 tsp. salt 1 mL
- 1 1/2 lbs (approx. 6) cooked red potatoes, chopped
- 1 small onion or three green onions, minced
- 2 stalks celery, sliced
- 1/2 c. sweet pickles or dill pickles, minced125 mL
- 2 tbsp. pickle juice 30 mL
- 2 hard boiled eggs, chopped
- 2 radishes, halved and thinly sliced
- fresh dill greens, chopped
In a large mixing bowl, combine the mayo, mustard, celery seed and pepper. Then add the potatoes, onion, celery, pickles, eggs and radishes and mix well. Chill for several hours or overnight. Before serving, stir in fresh dill and top with paprika. Serves six.
Simple strawberry salad
This is a fresh and colourful side dish. Make the meal complete by adding your favourite grilled meat. If you’re strapped for time, pick up a rotisserie chicken from your deli on the way home, and the meal is complete.
- 8 c. lettuce, cut or torn (you can also use spinach) 2 L
- 2 c. sliced fresh strawberries 500 mL
- 4 green onions or winter onions, sliced
- 1/4 c. oil 60 mL
- 1/4 c. vinegar 60 mL
- 1/4 c. sugar 60 mL
- 1/4 tsp. salt1 mL
Combine greens in a large bowl.
To make dressing, mix all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Pour over salad just before serving.
Variation: For a citrus taste zing, add 1/2 c./125 mL canned/drained mandarin oranges or a segmented fresh satsuma orange.
Cream-filled strawberries with dark chocolate
This is sweet finger food.
- 3 c. fresh strawberries, whole 750 mL
- 125 g (1/2 of a 250 g pack) of cream cheese, softened
- 2 tbsp sugar 30 mL
- 1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice 15 mL (or use amaretto liqueur)
- 1 1/ 2 c. whipped topping or whipped cream (already whipped) 375 mL
- solid dark chocolate
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, and juice until well blended. Add whipped topping or cream; fold together gently until mixed. Refrigerate.
Cut the tops off of the strawberries and stand upright on the cut side. Make two cuts with a paring knife in an X pattern about three-quarters of the way down from the tip of the strawberry toward the bottom. Open gently and fill with cream. You can either use a small spoon or pipe the cream through a bag.
Place on a serving tray and enjoy the sweetness.
Note: Filling the berries is much easy if the cream is cool. Grate dark chocolate over top.
Sour and sweet are bundled together in this traditional dish. Serve warm with a dollop of whipped cream or ice cream.
- 3/4 c. sugar 175 mL
- 1/4 c. flour 60 mL
- dash of salt
- 6 c. sliced rhubarb 1.5 L
- squeeze of fresh lemon juice
- 1 / 2 c. brown sugar 125 mL
- 1 c. flour 250 mL
- 1/2 c. melted butter 125 mL
In a large bowl, combine sugar, flour and salt. Add the rhubarb and coat thoroughly. Spoon into an eight inch square baking dish or a casserole dish of a similar size.
Preheat oven to 350 F/ 180 C.
In a small mixing bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour and melted butter. Mix until crumbly and spread over the fruit. Bake for 45 minutes or until fruit is tender.
Pink rhubarb pop
This pop is flavoured from fresh garden ingredients!
- 2 c. sugar 500 mL
- 3 c. chopped fresh rhubarb 750 mL
- 2 tbsp. lemon juice 30 mL
Make a syrup by mixing sugar with 1 c. /250 mL water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir in rhubarb and remove from the heat. Cover and let sit for one hour. Strain and stir in the lemon juice.
Make a soda by adding syrup into sparkling water or club soda. Serve over ice for the ultimate refreshment. Makes two cups (500 mL) of syrup. Source: www.Chatelaine.com.
Jodie Mirosovsky is a home economist from Rosetown, Sask., and a member of Team Resources. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.