We’re edging into strawberry season, which means that in warmer parts of the country those fragrant, ruby-hued berries are popping up at the farmers markets, and pick-your-own operations are finally open for business. In cooler areas, we’re relying on supermarket berries for now, but even those are flavorful and juicy at this time of year.
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Leeks are a member of the Allium family, which is essentially the onion family, and can really be used in any way that you would use an onion, which is lots of ways. Their flavor is slightly milder than that of a typical onion. They look like oversized scallions or green onions, long and cylindrical, and they should be firm, with nice taut layers.
They are available in the fall and the spring, with the spring leeks being smaller and more mildly flavored. The dark green tops are very fibrous and tough, and can be used to flavor stocks, but it’s the light green and white parts that are best for eating. Leeks can be eaten raw or cooked, and featured as a vegetable in their own right (which is more common in European cooking) or as a supporting aromatic.
When asparagus first appears at farmers markets in late March, we get a little overeager. Sure, the bright-green stalks can be found in supermarkets year-round, but in-season asparagus is a completely different vegetable when it comes to both flavor and texture. Nothing screams spring like crisp, sweet asparagus at its peak. Here are nine ways to ensure that you won’t get tired of it all season long.
If you’re like us and are just about ready to dance down the streets and proclaim your excitement over spring’s long-awaited arrival, you need to celebrate by taking advantage of the best parts of spring — and, of course, that means the bounty of seasonal produce. In Italian, primavera means “spring,” and the classic dish of pasta primavera brings together the bounty of in-season veggies in a single light, bright dinner that’s ideal for longer days and warmer nights. Read on below to check out our favorite takes on this tried-and-true staple.
Giada De Laurentiis’ Pasta Primavera
With nearly 400 fan reviews and a 5-star rating, Giada’s go-to recipe is a good place to start if you’re new to the primavera party. She lets the sweetness of the roasted carrots, zucchini and bell peppers shine in her no-sauce sauce, which is made just before serving as the hot noodles get tossed with the tender veggies and a generous splash of the cooking liquid.
The return of warm weather brings a bright rainbow of fruits and veggies to farmers markets — and why not celebrate the season with all the pretty pink produce first? Strawberry-rhubarb is a classic combo for a reason (hello, deliciousness!), but its season is fleeting. Try it in these desserts before spring is over.
The parsnip is a root vegetable related to both carrots and parsley (and, come to think of it, don’t the tops of carrots look a lot like parsley?). Parsnips are shaped much like carrots, a bit wider at the base, with a creamy yellow-beige skin and interior. They should be smooth, hard and free of soft spots or sprouts, and are best when harvested young so they don’t develop a woody core.
Sunny skies call for bright and merry desserts. Chocolate and caramel are survival mechanisms for winter, but they’re not necessary when all you need is a light spring jacket outside. So bring on the tart fruits and dreamy meringues. Below are some of our prettiest spring treats. They’re all beautiful, and most are fun and easy to put together. (We’re looking at you, Easter dessert procrastinators.)
Naked cakes are all still in style this spring, and The Pioneer Woman’s four-layer beauty deserves the spotlight at your spring soiree. (No one has to know how easy it is to actually make.) Read more
This Sunday, amp up the cute factor and make an adorable sweet centerpiece for your spring feast. Admit it: A cake shaped like a bunny is just as exciting to you as it is for the youngest Easter egg hunters at the party. A cake is a cake, regardless of whether it’s topped with frosted biscotti ears. Whip out the icing and pastel candies for a dessert that is sure to make everyone smile. Here are some of our happiest recipes that are almost too cute to eat.
It’s officially spring and Easter is right around the corner, which probably means that finding a carrot cake recipe is on your to-do list this week. Let’s face it: Carrot cake plus cream cheese frosting is the season’s best combination. Whether you’re looking for a classic two-tier beauty or a fun twist on the classic, we’ve got you. Below are some of our favorite ways to incorporate the bright orange veggie into dessert.
Carrot Cheesecake (pictured above)
If you believe that cream cheese frosting is the best part of any carrot cake, you’d probably agree that it makes perfect sense to replace it with a thick layer of creamy cheesecake. Do yourself — along with your lucky friends and family — a favor and make this showstopping mash-up dessert.
Hearty winter produce will always have a place in our kitchens, but the best part of spring’s arrival is the sudden abundance of fresh greens and delicate strawberries — a stark contrast from last season’s heavy tubers and tart citrus. Sadly, there is one downside: The window for spring fruits and vegetables is fleeting, with many of the season’s popular items peaking now and fading out of the spotlight as early as late April or May. That’s all the more reason to head to the farmers market and get cooking, we think.
Here are seven in-season produce picks you should be taking advantage of right now:
Food Network Magazine’s Spring Peas with Dates and Walnuts features three varieties of in-season peas: English peas, snow peas and sugar snap peas. For a festive spring side, blanch the peas to bring out their vivid green color, then toss them with walnuts, dates and sauteed shallots.