Tarragon, Scallion & Crème Fraîche Egg Salad

Tarragon, Scallion & Creme Fraiche Egg Salad SandwichGrowing up, my mother would religiously (pun somewhat intended) boil off a dozen eggs every year on Good Friday.  We’d color them, put them in our Easter baskets, and come Monday morning, toss them all in the trash.  Well, not quite all–I’d usually work up the courage to try one, gag, and vow to never subject myself to another and one of my brothers would inevitably hide a couple in my closet to be discovered later in the week.

Needless to say, we were not a hard-boiled egg family.  I thought everyone one like us, I thought everyone realized just how disgusting hard-boiled eggs were.  I didn’t realize plenty of people were raised loving egg salad sandwiches and most siblings would fight each over a deviled egg instead of seeing them as something only to be eaten on a dare.

A year or two ago, I made a conscious decision to give hard-boiled eggs an honest try.  I cracked open my “America’s Test Kitchen” cookbook and taught myself the proper way to boil an egg.  I started adding them to salads.  At first, I found them challenging.  Then I found them satisfying.  I even started to crave them and, eventually, I came around to what used to be my worst nightmare: egg salad.

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Asparagus, Spinach & Chèvre Tart

Asparagus, Spinach & Chevre Tart 3I’ve been really into brunch the past few weeks.  Life has felt a bit frantic lately and carving out time for a leisurely morning meal on the weekends is a good way to make the day at least feel like it’s stretched out in front of you, even if the minute your plate is empty you’ve got to run off and go about other business.

This tart is the latest addition to my brunch repertoire.  It’s basically a compact quiche that’s heavy on green vegetables and goat cheese.  Spinach is whisked into an eggy custard, topped with spears of asparagus and rounds of chèvre, and baked in a flaky crust.  It’s a great thing to linger over with a second cup of coffee on a spring morning or, should the weather cooperate, perfect for a patio lunch with a salad and a glass of wine.

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Strawberry Buttermilk Cake with Lemon Glaze

Strawberry Buttermilk Cake

My grocery store has been doing a very good job of catering to my need to immerse myself in all things spring, stat.  I walked in a few days ago and was greeted by a huge tower of daffodils.  Behind them was an equally large tower of asparagus, and behind that, a sea of red strawberries.  Needless to say, I wound up leaving with a cheery bouquet of daffodils, a couple of bundles of asparagus, and more strawberries than I could ever (reasonably) eat fresh so I simply had to bake a treat.

I’d like to call this strawberry-lemon buttermilk bread, mainly because I’m eating a slice with my morning coffee as I write this, but it’s really more of a cake and I’ve got to say, it’s everything I wanted it to be: light, bright, optimistic, and tasting delightfully like spring.  The crumb of the cake is tender and moist, there’s a strawberry in nearly every bite, and the lemon glaze is a much-needed pop of sunshine.

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Mushroom, Leek & Artichoke Stuffed Shells

Spring Vegetable Stuffed ShellsOne surefire way to determine the success of a recipe is to eat the dish every night for a week and if you find yourself craving more after it’s gone, you know you’ve got a winner.  For instance, you know a batch of baked shells is worth sharing with the world (and by “the world” I mean my mother and the three other kind souls that read my blog) when you single-handedly take down three-quarters of the pan and, when they’re finally gone, you find yourself wishing for just one more dinner’s worth.  Forgive me for a moment while I lament the fact that these little beauties will not be my dinner again tonight.

Alright, I’ve had a moment to compose myself and I’m ready to tell you all about these spring vegetable stuffed shells.  The shells have been stuffed with a filling of sautéed mushrooms, leeks, artichoke hearts, and tarragon.  They’re then blanketed in a lemony béchamel sauce and baked, with just enough cheese melted over the top.  All in all, it’s my perfect kind of comfort food–cheesy and a bit indulgent, but not to the point where you’ll be wracked with guilt after eating it, nor is it “food-coma” heavy.  It’s exactly the kind of thing I could eat it every night of the week–oh wait, I kinda did.  

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Honey-Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs & Radishes

Roasted Chicken Thighs & RadishesIn a continued effort to simplify my life, spend less money, and wash fewer dishes, I came up with this recipe for roasted chicken thighs and radishes.  And, of course, I’m always on a mission to eat well.  I’m happy to say, this chicken covers all of my needs.

This dinner is a 1-skillet situation.  Honey-lacquered chicken thighs are roasted over a bunch of halved radishes.  Once roasted, the radishes are tossed with the green radish tops and finished it with a squirt of lemon.  Eaten on a damp, chilly night, this had a lightened up comfort food quality that was just right for a rainy spring dinner.

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