We’re tired of casseroles and stews as much as the boots and bulky sweaters right now.
The calendar says March but the cold weather is relentless and never-ending. We’ve had enough of the Crockpot chicken dinners, roasts and heavy soups.
Perhaps, a good way to beat the winter blues is to start cooking with spring in mind. Obviously, the local farmers’ markets aren’t open yet selling spring produce.
Radish and Feta Salad
4 cups radishes, thinly sliced
1/2 pound feta cheese, crumbled
1 cup sliced black olives
1/3 cup chopped scallions or fresh mint
1/2 to 1 cup homemade or store-bought vinaigrette dressing
Combine radishes, cheese, sliced olives and scallions or mint. Toss together. Dress with vinaigrette and marinate for at least 30 minutes. Makes four servings.
Roasted Asparagus and Red Peppers
Makes 4 servings
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound asparagus, trimmed and fibrous stalks peeled
1 large red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1/2-inch strips
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Spray a nonstick baking sheet with nonstick spray.
In a large bowl combine the asparagus and red bell pepper strips. Spray with nonstick cooking spray. Add the lemon juice, oil, salt and crushed red pepper; toss well to coat. Arrange the vegetables on the baking sheet. Bake until tender, shaking the pan occasionally, 15-18 minutes. Transfer the vegetables to a bowl, toss them with the lemon zest and serve.
Dandelion Salad With Hot Bacon Dressing
l pound bacon, fried crisp, bacon grease reserved
1/4 cup flour
1/4 cup vinegar
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar
* Dandelion greens
Fry bacon until crisp. Cut bacon strips into 1-inch pieces and set aside. Add flour to bacon grease and brown lightly. Slowly add vinegar, water and sugar. Stir until smooth and keep hot.
Have a large bowl of clean dandelion leaves, covered with sliced hard cooked eggs and bacon pieces. Just before serving, pour hot bacon dressing over the greens.
* Dandelion greens are available at Wegmans.
Recipe from “Mrs. Reppert’s Twelve Month Herbal”
Sicilian-Style Stuffed Artichokes
6 large artichokes
Juice of 1 lemon
2 cups bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
6 teaspoons olive oil
6 slices lemon
Cut off artichoke stems and discard small outer leaves. Lay artichokes on sides and cut off one inch from tops. Using kitchen shears, trim off spiny tips from remaining leaves.
Pound each artichoke, cut side down, on flat surface to separate leaves. Using a melon-ball cutter, remove choke.
Place artichokes in bowl of water and lemon juice. Combine bread crumbs, cheese, olive oil, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Mix well. Drain artichokes. Pull leaves apart and fill with bread crumb mixture.
Set artichokes in a pot that fits them comfortably in one layer. Add 2 inches water. Set pot on stove, drizzle each artichoke with a teaspoon of olive oil and place a lemon slice on top.
Cover pot and simmer about 1 hour, adding water if necessary.
Makes 6 servings.
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (scant) shortening
2 cups (scant) sugar
5 cups flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups milk
4 cups sliced strawberries
1 cup whole strawberries
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 cup whipping cream, whipped
In a mixing bowl, beat the eggs, shortening and sugar until fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Alternate adding the milk and dry ingredients into the shortening mixture until the batter is smooth. Pour into a greased 9 x13-inch baking pan or an 11-inch bundt pan and bake in 350-degree preheated oven for 50 minutes or until testing pin comes out clean when inserted.
To serve, cut into squares and split. Put sliced and sugared strawberries between the layers, add some whipped cream and whole berries on top. Or serve in a deep dish or bowl with milk.