Easter Sunday is less than a week away and we are sharing recipe favorites using IN-SEASON produce. We have gathered a few of Alabama’s spring produce and created an Easter meal to compliment each item (to find in-season produce in your area go to: https://www.seasonalfoodguide.org) We have listed produce items with recipes and tips for the best selection and preparation. Head to the farmers market and get ready to feast away!
Rosemary and Thyme: I love herbs, I attempt to grow them myself (that never works), I see the option to buy them in soil (I just keep looking), so I purchase them pre grown and cut (ready to use!). When you are shopping, look for twigs with perky green leaves or needles, nothing brown or dried up. Keep twigs in their dirt and snip when ready to use. For purchased bundles (especially those sold in plastic), place in a small jar filled with water and keep on the counter.
Just thinking about a pork roast makes my mouth water- add rosemary and thyme in your cider brine and let the pork brine for 24 hours- it will be ready to roast come thyme for dinner.
If your family is not a pork fan, chicken is another great meat that tastes well when marinated with herbs. This recipe also uses parsley and sage- its a win-win-win-win!
Asparagus: When buying find the thinnest stalks possible – these are the most tender. Steer clear of the limp and the wilted. Search for a fresh scent – give it a sniff and if it smells musty, give it a pass. If it’s bunched, try to find a bunch that is uniform in width, so that the spears will cook uniformly.
Cauliflower: If you buy your cauliflower and are concerned about critters in your organic cauliflower, soak the head in salt water for 30 minutes before cooking. This will remove and kill any unintended protein sources. After soaking, rinse with the head with cool water.
I have yet to understand the substitution of cauliflower for carbs, after all, it is an edible flower. I particularly do not want flowers in my mac’n’cheese or nachos. This cauliflower recipe is not a sneaky way to serve vegetables (I’m calling you out cauliflower bagels) it’s just colorful and allows you to taste the rainbow.
Turnips: I will be honest the first thing that comes to my mind when I hear turnips is a Billy Currington song. They are not an ingredient I experiment with much. However, turnips are easily available produce and the two recipes we have are easy to prepare. Of course, if neither of these seem appealing, you can always use grandma’s tried and true recipe for turnip greens (she would also appreciate the phone call).
Carrots: In Alabama carrots are in season year round- but it is Easter and the little bunnies will love these carrot fries. I know, I know, I know, I just threw cauliflower under the bus for being a sneaky healthy ingredient, but these fries are REALLY good!
Carrots (again): You cannot go wrong with this classic carrot cake and the recipe is from Alton Brown, no need to call gramma on this one.
Strawberries: Strawberry picking with my family is one of my favorite spring and summer activities. If you are in a field note that the berries start out white on the plant. Look for strawberries that are deeply red colored without traces of white at the stem. If you are in the supermarket search for strawberries without bruises or mold.