I learned to make basic vinaigrettes when I was in my early 20s. It was my first summer in Philadelphia and I was living alone in my grandmother’s old apartment. She had always been more of an entertainer than a cook, so my inherited kitchen featured every kind of cocktail glass, but not much in the way of durable cookware.
Her library of cookbooks was equally paltry. There was a community cookbook compiled to raise funds for the Philadelphia Orchestra, a coffee table tome from local celebrity chef Georges Perrier and a copy of the The Frog Commissary Cookbook (the Frog and the Commissary had been a pair of innovative Philly restaurants in the ’70s and ’80s that my grandmother had loved).
I found that I never had much use for those first two volumes, but Frog Commissary rapidly became my cooking primer. I turned to it at least once a week for guidance on soups, salads, muffins and desserts. I was most drawn to the 15 pages of vinaigrettes and dressings because the recipes were written clearly and gave me nearly endless options for improving my salads. I learned how to make a basic vinaigrette and how to enhance it with herbs, spices and aromatics. Eleven years later, the things I absorbed from that book stay with me.
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Kids don’t always love eating the green stuff. But instead of offering less of it, one of my favorite techniques is adding things they do like to any given dish. Take asparagus. Our toddler loves lemons, so it’s a go-to trick for encouraging her to try new foods. (It also works for previously refused foods, but I’m sure that never happens at your place.)
1. Our favorite way to make asparagus is sauteed in a pan with olive oil and a handful of peas. Add a few shavings of salty Parmesan cheese on top and let the kids squeeze their own lemon at the table.
2. Or try asparagus on homemade pizza with big drops of fresh ricotta cheese, a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and oregano.
3. Never underestimate the power of roasting veggies. A pan of asparagus with 2 tablespoons of olive oil and a dash of salt will be amazing after 10 minutes of roasting at 425 degrees F. You might even get a cheer, but I always settle for at least a bite.
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Have you done your spring cleaning yet? Well, whether you’ve cleaned house or not, Oh So Beautiful Paper is here to help you get at least one thing perfectly organized this season: your grocery list. Planning weekly menus (like the one pictured above from Mavora Cards) and making shopping lists will certainly help save you money and stay on track while weaving through the aisles at the store or market. These pretty little notepads are the perfect tool for getting you started.
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Perhaps most often enjoyed alongside strawberries in a flaky pie crust, rhubarb is a seasonal produce commonly available from springtime through early summer. Although it may be thought of as a fruit, rhubarb is in fact a vegetable, boasting long celery-like stalks and large leaves, plus a slightly sour, tart taste. Since it’s naturally stringy and potentially fibrous, most recipes recommend cooking it slowly until it becomes tender and pairing it with something sweet, like sugar or fruit, to offset any bitterness. If you’ve never before cooked with rhubarb, pick up a ruby-colored bunch the next time you’re at the market, and put this fresh favorite to work in classic and creative dishes alike. Check out Food Network’s top-five rhubarb recipes below from some of your favorite chefs, like Ina, Guy and Iron Chef Marc Forgione, for a mix of traditional and deliciously inventive ideas for letting this in-season pick shine.
5. Lemon Bundt Cake With Berry Rhubarb Glaze — A make-ahead dessert that’s ideal for weekend entertaining, this crowd-pleasing cake is laced with fresh lemon juice plus tangy sour cream for moisture, and it is finished with a crimson topping of red berry jam and chopped rhubarb.
4. Rhubarb Compote — The secret to making this springtime recipe quickly and easily is letting the microwave do the work for you; after just a few minutes, the rhubarb will have broken down and become soft, ready for a topping of ice cream and crispy cinnamon-scented cereal.
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We dig it on our pizza, require it on our burgers and have even been known to melt it on our fries. It’s cheese, the well-loved ingredient that gets a whole lot richer when things are heated up. In these side dishes, cheese isn’t simply an afterthought to be dashed on top. It’s an integral part, giving things a creamy, rich edge in all the right ways. Tune into our roster of cheesy, decadent sides — each recipe is complete with a good showing of spring vegetables.
Due to Arborio rice’s natural starch content, risotto on its own has a creamy quality. But, according to Ina Garten, you simply can’t have risotto without the Parmesan. Her veggie-packed Spring Green Risotto comes together with freshly grated Parm and smooth, rich mascarpone. In the spirit of spring, Ellie Krieger’s Garden Risotto has a garden variety, with peas, asparagus and baby spinach.
Think of Food Network Magazine’s Spring Shells and Cheese (pictured above) as a grown-up mac and cheese — with its mature fix of veggies, too. Zucchini gives it a nice crunch, while spinach slides in for some good green. Or unload a batch of spring peas into this creamy Four Cheese Pasta With Peas and Ham by Food Network Magazine.
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More likely than not, your kids have better things to think about than garden-fresh produce, bustling farmers’ markets and mindful grocery shopping. But, when they sit down at the dinner table, all that good stuff is what’s for dinner, even if they’re morally opposed to eating their veggies. Use these recipes to get your kids excited about spring produce.
For some, green beans are good eaten straight out of the produce bag. But for those who need a little push, Alton Brown’s Best Ever Green Bean Casserole is just as the name implies. Rather than using the store-bought crunchy onions, Alton whips his up from scratch.
Broccoli is typically a no-go for most little ones, but when it’s served up in a style reminiscent of mac and cheese, it’s much easier to sell. With a foundation of rice and a scattering of florets, Sunny Anderson’s Cheesy Mushroom and Broccoli Casserole (pictured above) does just that.
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A lot of our favorite spring sides come mashed — or smashed, depending on your word-choice preference. This week we’re zeroing in on a texture for side dishes that makes for good eating — and easy chewing. Some mashed dishes entail a ricer or the back of your fork. Others are mashed in a more casual sense. All of these dishes, however, involve a certain level of deconstruction.
When it comes to smashed spring peas, the British know what’s up. Go for Jamie Oliver’s Minty Mushy Peas, which will work as a hearty, vegetarian side. Though he opts for frozen peas, we all know the fresh ones are ripe for the mushing. Rachael Ray adds creamy, slightly sweet cheese to her Smashed Peas and Ricotta Cheese recipe.
This last recipe is not mashed in its entirety, but it shows how mashed ingredients fit into bigger pictures. Tagliatelle With Smashed Peas, Sausage and Ricotta Cheese by Giada De Laurentiis uses the pulverized pea for its creamy, filling and subtly sweet attributes. The spicy sausage counteracts the mild peas and cheese, creating a pasta side ready for any night of the week.
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It seems that spring is finally gracing us with its presence. Good thing we didn’t hold our breath, eh? In celebration of the season, bolt to your nearest farmers’ market — or produce section — for some fresh, fresh, fresh produce.
Here’s the catch: rather than zapping these veggies with heat, reach for a trusty kitchen tool instead: the mandoline. With its thin-slicing capabilities, this gadget converts veggies into some sensational no-cook sides. But be sure to watch yourself — this tool is seriously sharp. (Don’t have a mandoline? A standard vegetable peeler will work just fine too.)
Summer Squash Carpaccio by Food Network Magazine is vibrant and vital as we progress into the warmer months. Here ribbons of yellow squash and zucchini are thin but perky as they marinate in a simple lemon vinaigrette with herbs and grated pecorino.
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In Italian, primavera means spring, and this classic warm-weather dish is surely a favorite this time of year on account of its celebration of all things light and fresh. It takes little more than vibrant seasonal vegetables to make a meal primavera style, but most traditional interpretations pair it with pasta. Check out a few of Food Network’s favorite twists on this simple supper with recipes from Food Network Magazine and the Pioneer Woman below, then tell FN Dish in the comments, what’s your favorite spring dish?
Food Network Magazine showcases a weeknight-friendly take on this must-try pick of Pasta Primavera (pictured above). Putting spring’s bounty of produce to work, this can-do dinner combines bell peppers, carrots and broccoli with tricolor fusilli noodles to create a bright plate ready to enjoy in only 25 quick minutes. The beauty of this recipe is that the vegetables can be cooked in the same boiling water as the noodles. Just add them during the final few minutes of cooking to avoid using an extra pan and ensure an easy cleanup. A buttery sauce of garlic and vegetable broth rounds out this family-friendly supper, best finished with a shower of parmesan cheese and fresh lemon juice.
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Much is made of hard-boiled eggs immediately before and after Easter, but these two-toned beauties are a welcome party starter throughout the year. This weekend, whether you’re hosting an elegant spring dinner party or simply enjoying a casual night with friends, look to platters of deviled eggs to be the star appetizers of the evening. While they’ll curb pre-dinner munchies, deviled eggs aren’t so filling that they’ll weigh down appetites, plus they’re easily customizable with a myriad of ingredients, so you know you’ll find a style of egg that suits your tastes. Check out Food Network’s top-five deviled egg recipes below — all top-rated dishes that can be made quickly with ease — from Anne, Sunny, Melissa, Bobby Deen and Paula.
5. Truffled Deviled Eggs — Fresh truffles are extremely pricey, so Anne opts for truffle oil — an ingredient that’s a bit more modest — to add rich flavor to her top-rated eggs. But be sure to use only the amount listed, as truffle oil can easily overpower the dish.
4. Crunchy Deviled Eggs — After stuffing the egg whites with a tangy combination of lemon juice, mustard and pickled jalapenos, Sunny adorns each egg with canned fried onions for a crispy textured bite.
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