Happy Spring!

It’s the first day of Spring!  The Vernal Equinox. Twelve hours of sunlight. In sunny Southern California, we’re celebrating it in the pool. Oh yes, it’s warm enough to go swimming. Good-bye winter – so glad you’re gone.

Spring represents a time of starting over, renewal, rebirth. Flowers are blooming. The hillsides are a beautiful shade of green. Spring vegetables are making their appearance in the markets. Artichokes, asparagus, peas, fiddleheads, green garlic, mint, morels, radishes, spring onions, strawberries. We’ve already begun cooking with some of these delights and can’t wait to incorporate more of them into our spring-time dishes.

Healthful eating is never so easy as it is in spring, with the abundance of fruits and vegetables, rich in disease-fighting antioxidants and anti-inflammatory phytochemicals. It takes so little preparation to bring out the maximum flavor of these beauties.

Try oven-roasting the asparagus with a little balsamic vinegar. Make a wild mushroom and green garlic risotto. Muddle some fresh mint for a refreshing mojito. Top some strawberries with a homemade topping of nonfat Greek yogurt, lemon zest, and a touch of agave.

GRILLED ARTICHOKES

(Recipe for 4 artichokes, 8 servings ½ artichoke each)  This recipe is a great do-ahead recipe. Do all the prep the day before. The slightly smoky taste compliments the nuttiness of the artichoke and no dip is necessary, although some might want to use additional marinade for dipping.

Ingredients:
4   large artichokes
¼  cup balsamic vinegar
¼  cup water ¼ cup soy sauce
1   T minced ginger + 1 t minced garlic
1 tbs. olive oil

  1. Slice artichoke tops off, crosswise. Trim Stems.
  2. Steam artichokes until bottoms pierce easily, or a petal pulls off easily.
  3. Drain artichokes. Cool. Cut each artichoke in half lengthwise and scrape out fuzzy center and any purple tipped petals.
  4. Mix remaining ingredients in a large plastic bag. Place artichokes in the bag and coat all sides of the artichokes. For best flavor marinate in the mixture overnight in the refrigerator but should marinate at least one hour.
  5. Drain artichokes. Place cut side down on a grill over a solid bed of medium coals or gas grill on medium. Grill until lightly browned on the cut side, 5 to 7 minutes. Turn artichokes over and drizzle some of the remaining marinade over the artichokes. Grill until petal tips are lightly charred, 3 to 4 minutes more.
  6. Serve hot or room temperature

Per serving: 79 calories; 1.8 (g) fat; 10.4 (g) carbs; 4 (g) protein


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