All posts tagged “spring recipes

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Shaved Apple & Fennel Salad

Tart green apples and aromatic fennel make for a simple, refreshing salad.


With the dog days of summer in full gear, sometime it’s just too hot to turn on the oven. Instead make use of the last of spring’s fennel — the vegetable’s faint licorice flavor is sure to offer a cool reprieve to the heat. Thinly sliced, it’s a wonderful addition to a Waldorf-like salad: combine tart green apple slices, toasted walnuts and this creamy vinaigrette and top with the fragrant fennel fronds. It’s great alone, on top of fresh leafy greens or thinly sliced into a coleslaw for summer’s favorite lunch, a pulled pork sandwich.

Shaved Apple & Fennel Salad, serves four
½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1 large green apple
1large fennel bulb with stalks and fronds attached
½ lemon
¼ cup champagne vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste


1. Set the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the walnuts on a small sheet tray, and bake for 5-10 minutes, until toasted to a rich golden brown color. Set aside to cool.

2. Slice the stalks off the fennel bulb and set bulb aside. Pick the fennel fronds(leaves) from the stalks and reserve.

3. Fill a medium-sized bowl with cool water, squeeze the lemon into it and place the lemon in the water. Using a sharp knife or mandolin, thinly slice the apple (julienne into matchstick-sized pieces if you prefer a slaw) and put into water to reduce oxidation. Repeat with the fennel. Set aside.

4. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and vinegar. Season generously with salt and fresh pepper and slowly pour in the oil, whisking constantly to create a creamy emulsion. Drain the apples and fennel and toss with the vinaigrette. Add in the fennel fronds and walnuts, toss and serve.

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Strawberry Rhubarb Crumb Cake

With a burst of fresh fruit, this not-too-sweet crumb cake is the perfect treat for a summer picnic.

Have I mentioned my recent obsession with rhubarb? I couldn’t resist buying another bunch at the market this week, and as Chicago finally heated up on Sunday I pulled this strawberry and rhubarb crumb cake out of the oven — the perfect dessert to bring along for a weekend picnic in the park. Sour cream gives the cake an extra moist crumb, while a combination of strawberries and rhubarb make a sweet, tart filling. And for an extra-easy dessert, double the crumble recipe and store half in the freezer. Bake off as needed, toss with sauteed berries, peaches or plums, and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

Strawberry and Rhubarb Crumb Cake, makes one 9-inch cake, Modified from
For the cake:
2 tbsp vegetable oil, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pan
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
1/2 cup sour cream
3/4 cup milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup strawberries, quartered
1 cup rhubarb, sliced into 1/2-inch pieces
For the crumble:
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup confectioner’s sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
2 sticks, or 8 oz, butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes and chilled


1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly brush a 9-inch pan with oil, dust with flour, and set aside. In a medium bowl, sift the 1 1/2 cups flour, granulated sugar, baking powder and salt together. In a separate bowl combine the egg, oil, sour cream, milk and vanilla. Use a rubber spatula to fold the dry ingredients into the wet. Fold in the fruit and pour into the pan. Set aside on a sheet tray.

2. In a medium bowl combine the remaining flour, sugar, and cinnamon. Add the butter and using a pastry cutter, two forks, or your fingers, combine the flour with the butter until large crumbs form. Sprinkle crumbs over the batter and place the tray in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then rotate and bake for an additional 15 minutes. Continue baking until a cake tester or thin knife comes out clean— the crumbs should be golden brown.

3. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and allow the cake to cool completely. Once cooled, remove from pan and, using a serrated knife, cut into squares. Store in an air-tight container for up to three days.

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Green Garlic-Potato Soup

Just what you need to beat May’s showers, this creamy soup highlights earthy potatoes with an added punch of spring garlic.

In may be May, but a thick fog has recently taken over Chicago, creating chilly mornings, wet afternoons and brisk nights. This velvety soup is the perfect way to savor the fresh flavors of spring — and warm up while waiting for sunshine. A simple combination of new potatoes, garlic and herbs, it makes an easy lunch alongside a chunk of crusty bread. With a delicate flavor, green garlic is simply young garlic that has not yet developed the bulbs commonly seen as garlic. Available in the early spring months, this versatile vegetable is delicious grilled or sautéed whole, and can be added to a variety of dishes for a fragrant taste, stronger than spring onions but more mild than mature garlic.

Potato and green garlic soup, serves four
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large bunch green garlic, about 8 to 10 garlic plants, trimmed to only the white and light green part and thinly sliced
1 pound new potatoes, cleaned and cut in half
1 cup water
1 bunch thyme
2 bay leaves
1 quart chicken stock
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and pepper, to taste

1.  Heat the olive oil in a 6-quart pot over medium heat. Add the garlic and saute for 5 minutes. Add the potatoes, 1 cup water, bay and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Add the stock and simmer an additional 20 minutes, or until potatoes are soft to the touch. Remove the thyme and bay leaf, and puree using a stick blender or in a stand blender. Do not over process. Strain through a fine sieve and return to pot. Add cream and season to taste with salt and pepper. Simmer until heated through. Top with fresh oil, micro greens or garlic chives and serve. Enjoy!