Fun and Easy Spring Recipes
"April showers bring May flowers", at least that's what I have heard! You realize that spring has arrived when you begin to observe all the bright, boisterous colors which follow this decadent season. Spring has a way of bringing out the radiance! Strawberries seem more red, blueberries more blue, sunflowers more yellow and well, you get the picture.
As a chef, not only are spring colors important (as it pertains to plate presentation) but the delectable choices of food are, as well. There is a reason people use the phrase "spring-time fresh." Things that surround us during this season are more crisp, luscious, and fresh. Even the air seems a little cleaner. I have put together a few dishes that are not only colorful and delicious, but can also be prepared just in time to entertain friends and family this spring season.
Playful Portobello Mushrooms
You will need:
- 3 lbs. of ground beef
- 1 medium onion
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- 1 tsp. paprika
- approximately 6-8 eggs
- 3 cups of beef stock
- 4 Roma tomatoes
- 6-8 Portobello mushrooms
- one bunch of green onions,
- one cup of white distilled vinegar
- 3 quarts of water
- salt and pepper to taste
- Place the ground beef in a skillet and cook until browned.
- While the beef is cooking peel the onion, then dice and sauté until it becomes aromatic (approx. 6 minutes). Set to the side.
- Peel your garlic cloves, dice, then add to onions. Set to the side.
- After your beef is cooked, remove from heat and drain excess grease. Return to the stove, add beef stock, and dry ingredients (paprika, cayenne, salt and pepper). Then add onions and garlic.
- Reduce until stock thickens (this allows all the flavors to be absorbed).
- Place some olive oil on the mushrooms and bake in the oven at 350 for 12 minutes.
- After the mushrooms have cooked and the beef mixture is ready, fill the mushrooms with the mixture and place in the oven for 5 minutes.
- Mix water and vinegar together. While cooking, take your eggs and place in mixture. Poach for 4-6 minutes.
- Remove the mushrooms from the oven and top each one with a poached egg, pepper and green onion.
You will need:
- 1 bag of Israeli couscous (you can find at most grocery stores)
- 1 bunch of parsley
- 1 container of cherry tomatoes
- 1 cucumber
- 4 ounces of fresh mint
- 1 orange
- 1 lemon (garnish)
- ½ cup of Italian Vinaigrette
- Prepare the couscous as directed on the back of the bag. Allow to cool when finished.
- Wash cherry tomatoes thoroughly, then cut in half. Then wash cucumber, dice and set to the side with tomatoes.
- Peel orange, cut into wedges, set to the side.
- Next, chop the parsley (reserve some for final garnish) and mint, combine and set to the side.
- Take a large mixing bowl and combine tomatoes, cucumbers, mint, parsley and about 1/2 cup of Italian dressing (you can always add more if needed.)
- Arrange the orange sections around the top and garnish with a little more parsley.
You will need:
- 1 bag of fresh spinach (you can also get baby spinach if you would like)
- 1 medium Red Onion
- 1 small bag of dried cranberries
- 1 small bag of sunflower seeds
- 1 Red Bell Pepper
- 2 Navel Oranges
- 1 bottle of Citrus Vinaigrette
- Take the Red Onion and Red Bell Pepper, slice into julienne strips and set to the side.
- Slice oranges into rings.
- Remove the spinach from bag and place into a large mixing bowl.
- Combine spinach, red onions, red bell pepper, shredded carrots, citrus vinaigrette and mix well. (Please note that you will only need to pour a small amount of vinaigrette as a little bit goes a long way.)
- Place your spinach mixture onto your serving bowl, sprinkle with Dried Cranberries, Sunflower seeds, and set out with a pair of tongs
- Garnish serving bowl with orange slices around the edge.