Spring

Balsamic Roasted Cippoline Onions from Frieda's, Inc.

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by Susan Russo

ciopollineonionsOnions have their place. I wouldn't dream of starting a marinara sauce without sauteed shallots. Nearly every soup I make starts with sauteed brown onions. Red onions enliven fruit salsas, and scallions add depth to guacamole. And let's face it, a bratwurst without grilled Vidalia onions is a crime.

What about cippoline onions? Believe it or not, they've never even visited my kitchen, that is, until a few weeks ago. Now, they're nestled in the onion basket alongside my beloved shallots and brown onions.

Why this sudden change of heart toward cippoline onions? It's because of Frieda.  I'm unable to resist her charms, and if you taste her cippoline onions, you'll find yourself equally captivated.

These cippoline onions are from Frieda's Inc., The Specialty Produce People. I've had the pleasure to do some recipe development with Frieda's and have tasted many of their products from onions and potatoes to pine nuts and dried cranberries. The cippoline onions are wonderful.

Set for Spring

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by James Farmer III

151Green, white, brown, and blue are my favo combos – this combo is truly classic, season-less and timeless! If you are setting a winter tableaux, a summer soiree or an haute holiday spread, greens and whites with accents of blue and grounds of brown are always apropos.

For this verging vernal setting, daffodils, tulips, blue florets of rosemary and tiny candles in varying tiny sizes all conglomerated together on top of my great-grandmother’s silver tray. I love the complement of silver and wood – it is so handsome and the perfect grounding for any event. Mix in shades of green, creams and whites and pops of blue and your table is set!

Blue willow is a favorite pattern of mine. Mimi and Granddaddy spent the first years of their married life in Japan and I just wish they had brought back crates and crates full of, as Mimi says, “our everyday dishes – there were mounds of blue and white! Imari, Canton-ware, the like!!”

I love hearing their stories of occupied Japan and, yet, I cannot help but feel their love for that culture, their cherished honeymoon years in a foreign, romantic land, helped, somehow, someway, spawn my love of Japanese and Chinioiserie… from gardens to plates!

Broiled Chicken Breasts with Fennel, Meyer Lemon, and Green Olives

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by Joseph Erdos

lemonfennelchickenMediterranean flavors are the ones I turn to when I'm in a cooking rut and can't figure out what to make. That's when I cook with ingredients like lemons, olives, capers, canned tomatoes, fennel, garlic, herbs and olive oil. I always have them on hand in my pantry and refrigerator for back up. It's easy to apply these flavors to give any recipe for chicken, fish and even meat a Mediterranean feel.

In this recipe I'm using lemon, fennel, and olives for an easy oven tray bake. But for some extra interest I'm not just using any lemons, instead I'm using Meyer lemons, which are more flavorful and sweeter than regular lemons. Thinly sliced and roasted along with the fennel, they become soft and entirely edible. Plus I use the lemon juice for a marinade. All the flavors harmonize so well together

Using chicken cutlets for this recipe makes it come together very quickly. You can also make this recipe with fish, such as halibut or cod fillets. Simply continue to roast until the fish flakes easily. If you don't have access to Meyer lemons, use regular lemons or even oranges. And don't discard the fennel fronds, use it for garnish.

Roasted Salmon with Lemon-Herb Matzo Crust

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by Cathy Pollak

matzosalmonI love salmon. I probably eat entirely too much of it.

But what I love about salmon are the possibilities available to turn this simple fish into so many different amazing dishes. Salmon's blank canvas allows for everything from rich, heavy cream sauces to light and lemony bases to enhance its taste.

When I came across this recipe for Roasted Salmon with a Lemon-Herb Matzo Crust, I thought, how perfect for this time of year, matzo is everywhere. If you have never had matzo, it's time to pick out a box.

It's basically a giant unleavened cracker and is quite enjoyable when slathered with butter...yes, I eat it this way...it's supposed to replace bread...so why not.

Anyway, the crust on this fish is to die for, so full of flavor with the herbs, lemon and butter. I highly recommend this dish for any night of the week. It's high on the yum factor.

Eating Kale

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by Michael Tucker

greens-kaleWe had a moment the other night, a unique event in the long history of the Tucker-Eikenberry alliance.

We had kale for dinner – just kale. That was dinner. It was an odd night, which could be said about a lot of nights these days. Our social engagement was a 5:00 to 7:00 kind of thing and we found ourselves back at the apartment around 7:30, our night done, with neither of us a thought in our head as to what to do next.

We didn’t want to go out again – although I heroically offered run up to the Peace Food Café on Amsterdam, Jill’s home away from home, for some take-out. “No,” she said. I’ll make some kale from Alison’s recipe.

“You’ll make?” I thought. This whole thing of Jill’s cooking is very new. There’s lots of territorial shit going down right now in the kitchen.

Fried Artichokes

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by Susan Salzman

artichokes fried smOne of the wonderful aspects of living in Southern California is the weather. The weather affords us to be outdoors more than indoors, avoiding heavy boots and jackets, and perusing the local farmers market even on those rare days when there may be a light sprinkle in the air.

Last weekend, I hit up two of my favorite markets; the Saturday, Santa Monica Farmers Market and the Sunday, Brentwood Farmers Market. Saturday I loaded up on fruit (my two boys ate 2 of the 3 baskets of strawberries before we got to the car) and on Sunday my bags were brimming with veggies (and some Pupusa’s from the Pupusa guy – Levi loves them in his lunch box).

I am boring when it comes to artichokes. Either steamed with a bit of lemon rind and some peppercorns or grilled. I decided to mix it up and fry them…yes, fry! Covered in olive oil, some whole garlic cloves and a bundle of fresh oregano (from my garden), I must say, I made a very tasty treat. Sprinkled with a little sea salt as they were draining and then smothered in this shallot vinaigrette – they didn’t make it to the dinner table that night. They were eaten, standing up.

Roasted Asparagus with Mustard-Dill Vinaigrette

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by Cathy Pollak

roastedasparagusSide dishes are the key to making every meal a hit. They are essentially the glue that holds dinner 
together. Roasted asparagus is by far Spring's quintessential veggie and this mustard-dill vinaigrette 
just takes it up a notch! Now, having said that, asparagus can be the quintessential enemy of wine.



This vegetable is a member of the lily family and contains the sulfurous amino acid known as 
methionine. This chemical compound is the culprit that causes the notorious "asparagus-pee" effect 
known to many who can smell it, not everyone can. Lucky them.

When methionine is coupled with asparagus' already green and grassy flavors, it can make wine 
taste dank, metallic, thin and even bitter. Overall, it's not good.

The only way to work against this collision of taste buds is to prepare the asparagus a certain way or 
drink the right wine varietal with this wonderful Spring vegetable.



Garlicky Roasted Red Pepper and Almond Dip

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by Susan Russo

redpepperdip"Back again?" (no smile)

That's the response I got from the cashier when I returned to my local market for the third time in three days.

"Wow, you must really love peppers." (eye roll)

That's what she said when I gently placed my nine red bell peppers on the conveyor belt. That's after having bought six the previous day and three before that, all with the same cashier. Does she ever go home?

I took umbrage neither to her eye rolling nor to her indelicate handling of my pristine peppers. If she doesn't realize the mind-blazing deal of red bell peppers 3 for $1, then I can't help her. I also won't be sharing my garlicky roasted red pepper and almond dip with her. So, there.

Kale in a Salad? Yes.

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by Russ Parsons

From the LA Times

kalesaladKale is about as unlikely a food star as you can imagine. It's tough and fibrous. Bite a piece of raw kale and you'll practically end up with splinters between your teeth. Nevertheless, kale has become a green of the moment because, given a little special care, it actually can be made not only edible but delicious.

You can cook it, of course, the lower and slower the better. But surprisingly, one of the most popular ways to use kale these days is in salads. Though kale leaves have always been found on almost every salad bar, it wasn't for reasons of edibility — it was for decoration, because this was one green so tough it would last forever without wilting.

But the solution is remarkably simple: Give it a massage. Yes, seriously. And I mean a real massage — a deep-tissue bone-breaker. Grab bunches of it in both hands and squeeze. Then rub them together. And repeat. It's almost like kneading bread dough.

It won't take very long — just a couple of minutes — but you'll be amazed at the difference. That tough cellulose structure breaks down — wilts, actually — and those leaves that once seemed so coarse and fibrous turn silky.

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Fruity Quinoa Stuffed Peppers Are Here to Stay

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by Susan Russo

quinoapepper.jpg When I first wrote about quinoa two years ago, many of you empathized. You too had gone to a supermarket and asked someone where you could find the kwi-NO-ah. Not anymore. Quinoa (pronounced keen-WAH) is no longer just the baby of vegans; it has gone mainstream.

Case in point: the Point Loma, CA Trader Joe's last Sunday. As I was looking for some whole wheat couscous, I overheard the guy next to me say to his wife, "Hey, hon. Is this the keen-WAH you want?" He pronounced it perfectly, without the slightest hesitation. Of course, I had to look. No, he wasn't dressed in a chef's jacket and orange Crocs. In fact, he was a military guy – there's a naval base in Point Loma – tall and muscular with a crew cut. And his carriage had lots of red meat and eggs in it, not tofu or sprouts.

 

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