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Thread: Spring Garden Recipes

  1. #1
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    Spring Garden Recipes

    February is such a hot and cold month for us in Northern California. Yesterday was warm and balmy, but this morning is windy and chilly. Ya never know what you're going to get. During this time, I like to get started organizing seeds, cleaning out the garden shed and just planning my approach to this year's veggie garden. Our garden is a major source of food for us, so with the early crops comes some serious cooking and hence, new recipes. I know...a lot of you live where it snows a lot and it's hard to think about this right now. But give it a go and please offer up some of your favorite springtime, garden recipes. (You can just pretend it's April.)

    Here's a very simple recipe that we love at our house:

    Fresh Green Peas with Mint

    Fresh, young green peas, shelled
    sprig of peppermint, or spearmint
    squeeze of lemon
    S&P to taste

    Put all of the ingredients in the blender, or food processor and blend until smooth and creamy. Serve with chips or raw veggies.

    So easy!

    ~ C

  2. #2
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    Asparagus with Lemon Cheese Sauce

    The asparagus shoots are just starting to poke their heads out of the ground in our garden. It's always so exciting! This recipe is very easy. You can adjust the amount of cheese to milk ratio to your liking.

    Asparagus Stems, washed and trimmed
    3 Tablespoons Cream Cheese (dairy, or non-dairy)
    1 teaspoon Lemon Juice
    Fresh herbs of choice
    1/2 Cup Milk

    S&P to taste

    Steam asparagus until just tender...not soggy. Meanwhile, add cream cheese, lemon and milk to blender and blend until smooth. Add more milk if the mixture is too thick. Arrange asparagus on plate and pour cheese sauce over it. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs of your choice, if desired. Serve.

    ~ C

  3. #3
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    They both sound wonderful!!
    Off topic- I've always wondered about living in California. I'm from New York and live in Ohio. I don't think I could get used to not having all the seasons. What about you? Two of my nephews live there and wouldn't move back east for anything!

  4. #4
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    Quote Originally Posted by SusieQOH View Post
    They both sound wonderful!!
    Off topic- I've always wondered about living in California. I'm from New York and live in Ohio. I don't think I could get used to not having all the seasons. What about you? Two of my nephews live there and wouldn't move back east for anything!
    I'm a native Californian, although I lived in Hawaii for 10 years. Other than that, this is all I know.

    Well...we Do have 4 seasons, but just not a lot of snow, at least where I live. (We do get a flurry once, or twice a year, but it doesn't stick to the ground for long.) It gets hot in the summer and we definitely have fall color and springtime wildflowers. We usually have a ton of rain this time of year too, but it's been kind of dry the last couple of weeks.

    California is a big state and there are lots of different micro-climates here. You can go up to the Sierras and ski, or out to the dessert and bake. The coast is more temperate and Northern CA is cooler, overall, than Southern CA. I think that's what makes this state so unique.

    Now...back to recipes.

    ~ C
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 02-28-2018 at 06:28 AM. Reason: remove shouting/all caps

  5. #5
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    Spring Vegetable Sushi (part 1)

    Sushi comes in all forms, but the most widely known types are made with seafood. However, when the spring veggies start coming in at the garden, I go for veggie sushi, made with whatever is going off at the time, plus a few extras. I usually make Maki rolls (filling, seasoned rice, nori seaweed, all rolled up and then sliced.) You could also get creative with other kinds of veggie sushi like Nigiri, or Temaki, but for this recipe, we'll just go with the more popular Maki roll.

    You can find sushi rice in many supermarkets, or Asian grocery stores. If not there, then surely online. It's different than regular, long grained rice...more sticky and starchy. I like to use brown sushi rice, when I can find it. Nori sheets are paper thin and made of pressed seaweed. Nori can also be found in the places mentioned above.

    Many of you probably already know how to make sushi, so in this part, I'm just going to give you some ideas for the fillings. Since I'm, personally, focused on a plant-based diet and this thread IS about springtime veggies, I'm just going to mention the NON-meat/dairy/seafood fillings. Feel free to use other fillings that aren't plant-based, if you are so inclined. Also, please add to this list!

    I'll post part 2 in the next couple of days, which will tell you how to put it all together. (I'd post now, but my dogs are insisting that we get out for a walk in the beautiful, morning sunshine.)

    Possible Fillings:
    Fresh asparagus, lightly steamed
    sliced, peeled, seeded tomatoes, marinated in kelp powder and soy sauce (tastes very fishy.)
    dill sprigs
    spring onions
    cucumbers
    baked, sweet potato strips
    Burmese tofu, cut into strips
    Teriyaki grilled, regular tofu, cut into strips
    avocado
    carrots, julienned
    smoked, sliced eggplant
    par-boiled kale, or chard
    crisp lettuce
    Sautéed wild, or domestic mushrooms, drained
    softened, dried seaweeds
    peanuts, chopped
    sesame seeds
    sweet, pickled veggies of any kind
    kimchi, chopped
    sriracha
    gochujang (Korean chili sauce...yummm!)

    Gosh...I could go on and on. What are some of your ideas?

    ~ C

  6. #6
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    One of first crops here will be rhubarb which I will make into several rhubarb cakes. Steamed asparagus would be next and when seeds can go in, leaf lettuce. As soon as I have beans to pick, I string them and steam them. Another early favorite are tiny potatoes boiled and fresh peas thrown in at the last few minutes of cooking. Spring is quite aways off here but I will be trimming in my rose garden soon.

  7. #7
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    Back in Illinois in my Grandmas huge garden, the spring treat was rhubarb. We had it in pies, sauce for cakes or sauce eaten with bread and butter. Grandma always said it was a "spring tonic". Delicious. Then came asparagus always on the Easter dinner menu, with radishes and early lettuce.

  8. #8
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    Rhubarb cake sounds interesting. I've had pie before, but not cake. We're just now harvesting our first asparagus. I woke up to snow on the ground this AM, so I hope my little spears survived.

    ~ C

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by tropit View Post
    Spring Vegetable Sushi (part 1)

    Sushi comes in all forms, but the most widely known types are made with seafood. However, when the spring veggies start coming in at the garden, I go for veggie sushi, made with whatever is going off at the time, plus a few extras. I usually make Maki rolls (filling, seasoned rice, nori seaweed, all rolled up and then sliced.) You could also get creative with other kinds of veggie sushi like Nigiri, or Temaki, but for this recipe, we'll just go with the more popular Maki roll.

    You can find sushi rice in many supermarkets, or Asian grocery stores. If not there, then surely online. It's different than regular, long grained rice...more sticky and starchy. I like to use brown sushi rice, when I can find it. Nori sheets are paper thin and made of pressed seaweed. Nori can also be found in the places mentioned above.

    Many of you probably already know how to make sushi, so in this part, I'm just going to give you some ideas for the fillings. Since I'm, personally, focused on a plant-based diet and this thread IS about springtime veggies, I'm just going to mention the NON-meat/dairy/seafood fillings. Feel free to use other fillings that aren't plant-based, if you are so inclined. Also, please add to this list!

    I'll post part 2 in the next couple of days, which will tell you how to put it all together. (I'd post now, but my dogs are insisting that we get out for a walk in the beautiful, morning sunshine.)

    Possible Fillings:
    Fresh asparagus, lightly steamed
    sliced, peeled, seeded tomatoes, marinated in kelp powder and soy sauce (tastes very fishy.)
    dill sprigs
    spring onions
    cucumbers
    baked, sweet potato strips
    Burmese tofu, cut into strips
    Teriyaki grilled, regular tofu, cut into strips
    avocado
    carrots, julienned
    smoked, sliced eggplant
    par-boiled kale, or chard
    crisp lettuce
    Sautéed wild, or domestic mushrooms, drained
    softened, dried seaweeds
    peanuts, chopped
    sesame seeds
    sweet, pickled veggies of any kind
    kimchi, chopped
    sriracha
    gochujang (Korean chili sauce...yummm!)

    Gosh...I could go on and on. What are some of your ideas?

    ~ C
    So...as promised, here's part 2 of this recipe. Making a Maki sushi roll is pretty easy. You can use a fancy bamboo mat, made specially for sushi making, but it is not necessary. Just make sure that you don't over fill it, or it will become unmanageable when you go to roll it up.

    Some recipes call for a small amount of sugar in their rice. I don't usually put that in, so I'm guessing as to how much you would need. I suppose it depends on taste. I do like to add sesame seeds though. Again, you be the judge as to how much you would like in yours. I put a 1/4 cup in this recipe, but you should add, or subtract, as you see fit.

    Ingredients

    2 cups white, or brown sushi rice
    2 cups water
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/4-1/2 cup rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon sugar (optional)
    1/4 Cup sesame seeds (optional)
    wasabi paste
    pickled ginger

    Nori Seaweed sheets
    Fillings of your choice

    Rinse the sushi rice and put into a pot with a tight lid. Add 2 cups of water and salt, cover and cook over medium-low heat for approximately 25-35 minutes, or until rice is cooked and all liquid is absorbed. Put cooked rice into a bowl and allow to cool until just warm. Mix rice vinegar with sugar and sesame seeds, (if using) and pour mixture over rice. Stir the rice and vinegar gently. You don't want to mash the rice and break up the grains.(I use a flat, bamboo paddle for this, but a large, mixing spoon or wooden spoon will work.)

    Construction
    Before starting, prepare a large, flat, clean surface to work on and fill a small bowl of water to set by your work space, so that you can wet your fingers from time to time.

    With dry hands and surface, lay out a sheet of nori with the long side facing you. Scoop up some warm rice and very gently, spread it out on the nori sheet so that it is about a scant, 1/4" thick across most of the sheet. (I knew you quilters would like that measurement.) Leave the last inch of the sheet empty, so it can later be moistened (like an envelope) and the roll can be sealed up. You can use your wet hands to help spread the rice around.

    Put the fillings of your choice evenly, in a line along the lower 1/3 of the sheet. With dry hands, roll the sheet up, trying to keep it tight as you go along. When you get near the end, moisten the top edge of the nori sheet with water, then finish rolling. The nori will stick to itself and create a "seal." You should have a nice, tight sushi log when you are done. Set the log aside and prepare the other sushi rolls, while keeping your work surface clean and dry.

    When you have rolled all of your sushi logs, use a very, sharp knife and carefully cut each log into 3/4-1 inch slices, depending on how you like it and what your fillings are. Lay the slices flat on your serving tray. Garnish as you wish. Serve with wasabi paste and pickled ginger.

    If you have any questions, please post and I'll try to answer.

    ~ C


    If you want to get fancy with your sushi designs, check out http://www.makesushi.com/sushi/. It's a quiltmaker/budding sushi chef's dream come true!

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