Ginger & Rhubarb Swirl Ice Cream

Rhubarb & Ginger Swirl Ice Cream I feel like summer is almost here.  And it’s not because my cherry tree is starting to blossom, it’s not because my skin tone has darkened slightly from “corpse-like” to merely “fair”, and it’s not because I took my first boat ride of the season; it’s because I churned my first batch of ice cream.

This ice cream is a perfect way to ring in late spring/early summer.  It’s an impossibly smooth, creamy orange-scented ice cream, swirled with a gingery sweet-tart rhubarb sauce.  I served it alongside a stack of my favorite chewy ginger cookies, but licked from a cone while dangling your feet off the end of a dock would be just as good, if not better. [Read more…]

Asparagus & Fresh Ricotta Grilled Flatbread

Grilled Flatbread with Asparagus Ribbons & Ricotta If I don’t post any new recipes here for a while, just assume it’s because I’m making and eating this flatbread for every meal.  

The flatbread is a piece of pizza dough stretched into a rectangle and grilled until it gets a little charred here and there.  It’s topped with a crisp salad of asparagus ribbons and mixed herbs, dollops of fresh ricotta, and a handful of crushed pistachios.  It screams springs and it screams “yes, I’m a pizza, but I’m also a vehicle for salad so you can eat me whenever you feel like it.”  Which will be quite often.

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Fava Bean & Ramp Risotto

Fava Bean & Ramp Risotto
Sometimes, grocery shopping can seem like the most mundane task.  Must buy food, must think of ways to prepare food to sustain myself.  Nutrition, budget…ugg.  But other times, I’m like a kid in a candy shop and the experience leaves me positively giddy.

Yesterday was a perfect example of the latter.  I went shopping, hoping to find something at least reasonably interesting to make for dinner.  I set my hopes fairly low, aiming for decent salad greens and maybe a piece of fish.  Well, I never quite made it to the fish counter because I got side tracked by all of the great spring produce.  Finally!  Ramps!  Fava beans!  Beautiful artichokes!  Asparagus!  Oh my!  I scraped my original plans, loaded my basket with spring greenery, and came up with a plan B.

The asparagus is going on a flatbread tomorrow night, the artichokes were prepared in my favorite way (and something I should really share here one of these days), and the ramps and fava beans were folded into this luxurious risotto.  Eaten with good wine on a relaxed evening in, it was just the way to pass a(nother) rainy spring evening.

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Asparagus & Gruyère Croque Madame

Croque Madame with Asparagus
Here in Minnesota, it feels like we’ve endured more than our fair share of rain this spring.  I’ve gone weeks wearing nothing but ugly, green rain boots.  I’ve never wiped up so many muddy paw prints, nor have I’ve ever wanted to spend more time napping.

It’s not all bad though.  The grass is vivid, the trees have started to bud, and I feel completely justified in eating my favorite comfort foods–bowls of spaghetti showered with Parmesan, brothy bowls of soup with crusty bread, and grilled cheese sandwiches.  

My latest (and arguably greatest) grilled cheese concoction was this open-faced asparagus croque madame sandwich.  A croque madame, if you’re unfamiliar, is a croque monsieur topped with an egg and a croque monsieur is a delicious French sandwich made with béchamel-smeared bread, a slice of ham, and cheese.  You pop it under the broiler and let the cheese melt and the edges get toasty-crunchy.  It’s pretty wonderful whenever, but as lunch on a rainy afternoon, it’s absolute perfection.

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Strawberry-Pecan Oatmeal Muffins

Strawberry, Pecan, Oat MuffinsLet me start by telling you this: this is the third batch of these muffins that I’ve made in three weeks–that’s the sort of muffins we’re dealing with today.  They’re the kind of muffin that’s good not only in the warm, comforting morning treat way, but also the I-don’t-have-to-feel-remorseful-all-day-over-what-I-ate-for-breakfast kind of way.  And, to be completely honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if I whip up another batch as soon as this one is gone.

In other words, I’m pretty smitten with these muffins.  They’re hearty and full of oats, sweetened with a touch of brown sugar and lots of strawberries.  Yogurt keeps them moist and chopped pecans add a touch of crunch.  Also, they hold up ridiculously well so if you hide them from your kids/husband/girlfriend/counter-surfing dog, the batch you make on Monday will carry you all through a whole week’s worth of breakfasts.  

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