ImageOne day it's pouring rain and the next it's sunny and bright. Trees are already blooming with cherry blossoms, the delicate pink petals sometimes getting washed away in a sudden downpour. The hills all around the Bay Area are green and lush. And in the store you can find fresh strawberries, artichokes and asparagus.

I think one of the reasons I love the Spring so much is the tender delicious fruits and vegetables. After eating hardy root vegetables and cabbage, chard, potatoes and leeks, the vegetables of Spring are a welcome change of pace. They are a wonderful reminder of new life and fresh beginnings.

Asparagus is available much of the year but in the Spring it is at it's best. My favorite way to serve asparagus is in risotto. I make a broth from the stems and add the tips and the tender stems to the rice at the last moment so it stays tender-crisp. While Winter vegetables are wonderful cooked in soup or mashed somehow Spring vegetables seem too delicate to manhandle in that way.

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sorrelsoupI love unique spring vegetables—it's the reason why I write about such things like ramps and fiddleheads so much. For me there's nothing better than combining my favorites in one recipe to celebrate the spring season. Ramps on their own would make a particularly good soup. But looking for a contrasting flavor to pair it with, I thought of sorrel. With its tart and citrusy flavor, the leafy green is a perfect foil for pungent and oniony ramps.

This season the weather hasn't really brought us much of a warm spring just yet. Instead we've gotten endless chilly days, but luckily those days present us with the perfect opportunity to eat spring soups. Rich flavored, creamy soups are the best way to soothe and satisfy when you need uplift on a cold day. And say if suddenly the weather turns for the better, these types of soups are also great chilled on a warm day.

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may2_recipe_pic.jpg We sell a lot of locally raised (organic) salmon at our store in Maine, it is reasonable in price and quite easy to feed a crowd. Most everyone is intimidated by how to cook it, marinate or not, and what kind of sauce. So over the years we have broken the process down to practicable steps that everyone can easily follow.

Grilling for the Holiday that launches Summer must be fun, a little easy, with a noteworthy end result. I prefer a fillet at the widest end near the head, I like the taste better and the fatty mouth feel, but there are others that Like the tail end fillet preferring the leanest, flavor and probably a few less calories.

Always leave the skin on when grilling, without the skin it would be a big mess and fall through the grates! 

Marinate the fish if you have time, try lemon juice and olive oil for a quick approach or orange juice and cracked coriander seed if you have a little more time but it isn’t imperative – and no longer than half an  hour or your fish will start cooking like a ceviche.

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greek-lemon-roasted-potatoes.jpgI could not possibly have let April go by without sharing this lemony recipe with you. This is one that will become a classic in your repertoire. Trust me. Easy, yet so delicious, this dish is perfect for a small dinner or for a huge gathering. The recipe can be halved or doubled easily (or tripled … believe me I’ve done it).

I’m willing to bet that you have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now. It takes ten minutes to pull together and about an hour in the oven. This dish goes perfectly with meat, poultry and fish, or you can enjoy it on its own (as I have) with some fresh, crusty bread.

What starts off as raw potatoes in a pan full of water ends up as a dish of luscious lemony potatoes lounging in a bath of the most divine lemon sauce you will ever taste. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, then try to imagine the aroma that will fill your home. It starts off with the faint scent of potatoes beginning to roast. Very soon the potato aroma is joined by the unmistakably crisp and bright scent of lemon. And for the finish comes the oregano, which releases its herby scent as it heats up.

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ivybetterThere’s no place like Hollywood for star-gazing …

And to catch a star grazing, there are few places better than the venerable Ivy on West Hollywood’s trendy Robertson Boulevard.

Since this famed eatery opened its doors almost 30 years ago, one of its most consistent stars has never appeared on the guest list… but is, instead, found on the menu.

Mixed greens, topped with delicately charred peppers, zucchini, asparagus, corn and mesquite grilled chicken and/or shrimp, The Ivy’s Grilled Vegetable Salad is one of the most well known and well loved dishes in town.

But with its 28 dollar price, it’s not a salad many can order every day. Now, you can make this skinny version of that signature salad at home….saving money and calories!

Who’s the star now?

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