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I have been very, very busy the past few weeks so instead of sharing a tablescape today, I wanted to share some springtime recipes with all of you.
Spring has finally arrived here in the Northeast and it is glorious to finally have some nice weather. Spring makes me want to open all the windows and welcome in the fresh air. What a pleasure!
I am waiting for all the farmers markets and road stands to open. I love going to farm stands and buying fresh produce straight from the fields. Fresh is best and I want to support the local farmers.
I also buy all my organic herb plants from the farms. This year I am growing a larger herb garden than last year because it seems that I am constantly buying herbs in the grocery store only to have them last a few short days.
Last year we planted basil and parsley but this year I am branching out to add rosemary, sage and thyme.
As we all know I have a brown thumb (I killed the bamboo), so Bob will have to take over the garden. I will still be the chef.
To welcome spring and this lovely weather for the past few days, I decided to make a quick weeknight “Springtime Buffet” for Bob and I with some fresh veggies. Nothing fancy, just an ordinary night.
(Once you read the recipes, you will notice that they are all fairly easy).
I started with one of my favorite salads, an Italian caprese salad which is layers of alternating tomato slices with fresh mozzarella, basil, some olive oil and seasoned lightly with salt and pepper. I have this salad all spring and summer.
I made two additional salads for the table, one is a very refreshing carrot salad with pineapples and raisins.
I have been making this four ingredient salad for years. I can’t even remember where I got the recipe from. When I visit my son, I have to remember to bring a container of carrot salad because it has always been a favorite of his. The secret is using fresh topped carrots and not the carrots pre-packaged in bags. Fresh carrots are so much sweeter.
The second salad was a tossed salad of mixed greens with the addition of radishes, cucumbers, fruit, nuts and cheese. I make my own salad dressing with lemon juice, mustard, mayonnaise, garlic & oil and I will include that recipe at the end of the post.
It is officially spring when I start using one of my favorite pieces for spring and summer. A galvanized wheelbarrow that I use for salad. Purchased last year in my home away from home, Pier 1.
It just puts me in the mood for gardening and springtime.
The main entree for this buffet was a vegetable quiche.
The quiche was filled with yellow squash, green zucchini, peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms and spinach. You can add any combination of veggies you want as long as you use the basic recipe. I change the filling all the time depending on what I have in the veggie bin.
I did not have enough time to “attempt” to make my own pie crust ( making homemade pie crust is not my specialty), so I used a frozen organic pie crust.
I always sprinkle a layer of fine bread crumbs on the bottom of the pie crust just in case your filling is too wet (the mushrooms give off liquid). The bread crumbs will prevent the crust from getting soggy.
I find the best bread crumbs for this job are the organic bread crumbs from Trader Joe’s because they are extra fine.
Once our springtime buffet was complete, we enjoyed eating this meal outside on the patio. I just love when we can dine al fresco.
(Although in Italian, the expression al fresco usually refers to spending time in jail and not eating outside. Very shocked when I heard that bit of information, but we aren’t in Italy.)
I hope that some of the recipes today inspired you to try something new.
Give them a try and find a new favorite, and enjoy the nice weather too!
I’ll be back soon with a new tablescape…
HERE ARE THE RECIPES…
2 bunches topped carrots
1/2 pineapple peeled and chopped OR a 14oz can of pineapple tidbits, drained
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper
Peel the carrots and grate them in a food processor fitted with the large grating attachment. (if you lay the carrots on their sides in the feed tube, you will have nice long grated strands)
Place the carrots in a large bowl and add the mayonnaise, pineapple, raisins, salt & pepper. Toss well and season to taste. Serve chilled or at room temp.
FAVORITE SALAD DRESSING
3 TBSP fresh lemon juice
1 TBSP cider vinegar
1 TBSP mayonnaise
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
4 tsp sugar
1 very small garlic clove, chopped OR 1 TBSP minced garlic in a jar
1 cup olive oil
In a food processor, blend all ingredients EXCEPT the oil until smooth…..with the motor running add oil in a stream, blend until emulsified. Transfer dressing to a jar and keep it covered and chilled until serving, yields 1- 1/4 cup
- 4 large eggs
- 1- 1/4 cup half and half OR heavy cream
- 1/2 cup real mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 cup sliced shallots
- salt and pepper to taste
- garlic powder to taste
- 1- 1/2 cups sharp or mild cheddar cheese OR Gruyere cheese
- 2 cups diced veggies
- 1- 9-inch unbaked frozen “deep Dish” pie shell OR 2 regular pie shells
COOKS NOTE: I sprinkle a layer of fine breadcrumbs on the bottom of the pie crust in case your filling is too wet, it will prevent the crust from getting soggy.
COOKS NOTE: if you add spinach, buy frozen it’s easier…thaw and squeeze out excess water. Break apart the spinach and add to the ingredients.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Hand whip eggs, half-and-half, mayonnaise, and flour in a medium-mixing bowl. Add the remaining ingredients. Pour into an unbaked 9-inch, deep-dish piecrust. Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes or until top is golden brown.
Until my next post, make every day a celebration!
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