Early Summer Risotto with New Garden Vegetables

I can’t quite remember when risotto went from being a favourite menu item when dining out to a weeknight staple around our table; a go-to comfort food that changed with the produce brought by each new season.

It may have been when my Italian culinary school chef tutored my class on the art of the risotto, instructing us never to rush the dish or the rice would guess our haste and become gummy rather than creamy. Perhaps I became less intimidated to cook the classic dish after testing it out frequently on Danny when we were newlyweds.

At any rate, I eventually discovered that the cheesy rice dish was an indispensable vehicle for getting my children to eat vegetables. Ever since, I’ve seldom been without the basic ingredients for risotto: chicken or vegetable stock in the freezer, butter and Parmesan cheese in the fridge, rice and onions in the pantry.

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My favourite appetizer for easy warm-weather entertaining (Sweet Pea and Parmesan Tartines)

Part of my warm-weather entertaining manifesto is to keep my gatherings as simple as possible. This encompasses everything from table décor to beverages, and most importantly, food. We host several dinners and social soirées in the spring and summer months, and I’m always on the look out for easy-to-execute lip-smacking appetizers that deliver impressive tastes to my guests. Luckily, these tartines fit the bill perfectly.

While the name sounds highly impressive, tartines (or crostinis) are really nothing more than slices of toasted/grilled bread topped with a little something. It can be as simple as store-bought jam and a slice of aged cheddar, assorted spreads, cured meats, or fresh produce that’s paired with fragrant herbs and oils.

I typically opt for the latter, and they are almost always the highlight of the meal. Lightly buttered bread is usually grilled, rubbed with garlic and then covered with a variety of toppings. For spring, I’m smitten with the combination of sweet peas, Parmesan and mint, but you can use pretty much anything that’s in season.

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Radishes 3 Ways (Recipe: Radish Sandwiches, Salad and Herb Butter)

Written by Shaina of Food for My Family.

Our farmers markets here in the Midwest U.S. of A are still lacking a bit in the fresh produce selection, though I did see the first few strawberries there just this past weekend, which made me giddy like a teenager on their first date. (Note: I did not go on a single “date” in the traditional sense as a teenager.)

To clarify, there are plenty of the same things over and over: lettuces, chives, spring onions, peas, asparagus out the wazoo and radishes as far as the eye can see.

Three years ago, I was not so interested in radishes. I would eat them when they were available, but seek them out I did not. Then last year I had an awakening. My husband started showing up to our house with bunches of Easter egg radishes purchased from his on-site farmers market after work. He’d proclaim how pretty they were and talk about peanut butter and radish sandwiches as a child.

Not being one to waste, I set about using the bunches as best I knew how, first with just a bit of butter and salt. [Read more…]

Pea Plant

Salute Spring! Peas (Recipe: Pea-camole)

Join us as we Salute Spring with a week-long series featuring the finest fruits and vegetables of the season. Written by Megan of Stetted.

Peas make me optimistic. After a cold winter, they’re the first of the spring plants to push through the dirt and begin reaching toward the sun. Once the tendrils start their grab, they’ll climb as high as you let them, only stopped by the limit of your trellis. They are harbingers of things to come, with lovely white blossoms leading the way for plump green pods.

If I had known how sweet and crunchy fresh peas could be when I was a child, I probably would have not shunned them as I did, choking down only what was necessary to be able to leave the table.

My son has no such qualms about peas. He gobbles them up as soon as they’re shelled, leaving the possibility for even attempting a recipe almost impossible. I can’t fault the kid.

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