Katie: The farmers market in Paderborn seems to have a different “it” item each week. While the stands were filled with white asparagus last week, strawberries seemed to outnumber them this week. They smelled so sweet, that I just couldn’t resist buying some, even though I already had some at home.
I decided to try a savory dish using strawberries. This recipe for Strawberry, Pistachio, and Goat Cheese Pizza from Cooking Light caught my eye. I used my favorite pizza dough recipe. Instead of watercress, I decided to go with another spring item, green asparagus. I tried shredding it, like Matt did with his pizza. After rolling out the dough, I brushed it with a little olive oil and added the shredded asparagus, which I had mixed with olive oil, sea salt, and ground black pepper. I then baked the flatbreads for about 15 minutes at 475 degrees, removed them from the oven, and then added the remaining ingredients. I tried putting a couple of the flatbreads back in the oven for a couple of minutes and served the other ones without baking the other ingredients. Both variations worked well.
These were really good! The combination of strawberries, goat cheese, and pistachios worked really well together, and the asparagus added an interesting twist. I added asparagus sparingly, but next time I would probably add a little more. I toasted the pistachios in a frying pan before chopping them, which enhanced their flavor. This was a good spring meal!
Bill: We’ve been roasting our fresh vegetables in the oven or on the grill. One of our favorites is roasted Asparagus which is simple to make tossed in a little olive oil, lightly salted and roasted at 400 degrees for about 12-14 minutes. We decided to try this recipe for roasted broccoli recently and it tasted great. We also did a variation on this using cauliflower. It took a little longer to roast, but was the best tasting cauliflower I’ve ever had. The toasted bread crumbs, garlic and Parmesan cheese all add great flavor!
Katie: After my success with Spaghetti Squash Gratin, I bought another spaghetti squash at the farmers market, but had been waiting to use it. I decided to finally make something with it this weekend and wanted to find a hearty recipe that Flori would like. I first saw the combination of meatballs and spaghetti squash on Martha Stewart’s website, but I decided to try this recipe for Turkey Meatballs with Quick and Spicy Tomato Sauce from Ellie Krieger. I made a few adjustments with the meatballs, including adding more bread crumbs, an extra egg white, and some grated sweet potatoes along with the grated carrots. I also made them smaller than the recipe called for (around 25 meatballs) and baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees F. Since I didn’t have chipolte peppers, I used a teaspoon of harissa paste to make the sauce spicy.
I prepared the spaghetti squash by poking holes in it with a fork and baking it for 1 hour at 400 degrees F (200 degrees C), cutting it in half, removing the seeds, and then scraping out the squash with a fork.
The spaghetti squash was not quite as flavorful as I had anticipated (maybe because I had waited too long to use it??), but the sauce and meatballs turned out really well. I can’t even remember the last time I ate meatballs, and they aren’t something I would typically think of cooking, but I’m glad I can add them to my cooking repertoire!
Matthew: I’ve been eating a LOT of tomatoes lately and have tried to change things up so that I don’t get tired of them. So far I’ve roasted them, made caprese salad, eaten them with homemade pesto, and put them in salads. I was inspired to try tomato pesto by seeing this recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I decided that I wanted the tomatoes to be cooked in my pesto, and to avoid them being too watery, I decided to sun dry them. I halved, seeded, sliced, and salted about 8 roma tomatoes and put them in the oven for ~2 hours at 200 degrees. They weren’t completely dehydrated by the time I pulled them out, but I thought it would be good enough. I then toasted some almonds and combined them in the blender with the tomatoes, a good amount of olive oil, and some parmesan cheese. The resulting pesto was a nice salmon color. Then, to complete my meal, I tossed some cooked pappardelle with the pesto and some roasted green beans, red bell pepper, and onion. The final product was outstanding. The sun dried tomatoes added an intense and complex flavor which paired well with the nuttiness of the almonds, the salty parmesan, and the smooth olive oil. Definitely a do-over!
Katie: Continuing on my quest to try new vegetables, I noticed parsnips in the produce section at our grocery store. I don’t know if I had ever eaten them before, but I definitely had never cooked them.
After seeing the photos for Roasted Parmesan Parsnips on Sprouted Kitchen, I knew I had to try them. They turned out pretty good! I improvised on a marinara sauce using garlic, a can of diced tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar to serve with the parsnips. It was definitely something different and might even make a good appetizer or side dish for guests.