Spring Has Sprung!

Is it me, or does this year feel like it's flying by?!! No complaints here, other than the weather in Seattle. I think our January and February were actually nicer than April and May! It may be cold, a little rainy, and way too windy, but it is light out until 8:30 pm. This makes it acceptable to grill and eat spring fare, even if we are bundled up in down coats, and that extra pair of gloves is still in the car!

The farmer's market in my neighborhood of Edmonds, WA just opened a couple of Saturday's ago. After perusing my latest copies of Cooking Light, Everyday Food, and Coastal Living, I was inspired to put together menus for the next couple of dinners.

Yesterday, I headed to the farmer's market first, with my list of ingredients. I was pleasantly surprised to find that most of the produce was less expensive than the grocery store, locally grown, and mostly organic. I picked up asparagus, arugula, tarragon, green onion, and basil. It is so fresh and fragrant, I can't wait to get cooking! I finished out my shopping at the local Trader Joe's, and I'm ready for the week! These are all new recipes to me:

Menu #1: Grilled steak with poblano relish, and black bean salad

Menu #2: Chicken skewers with orange basil sauce, and rice salad

Menu#3:Spring green salad with Italian tuna and white beans, and grilled kalamata olive ciabatta bread

Pasta in a light sauce with spring veggies and chicken

MENU #1:

Grilled Steak (courtesy of the latest issue of Everyday Food Mag, although I substituted a few ingredients due to what the store/market had):

  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 1/2 lbs tri tip steak
  • 1/2 lb poblano chiles
  • 1 small white onion, sliced crosswise into 1/2 inch thick rounds
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for the grill
  • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3 limes)
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
  • course salt and ground pepper 

1. In a large glass dish, combine orange juice, and soy sauce. Add steak, turning to coat and marinate at room temperature for 20 minutes.

2. Heat oven broiler, with rack in top position. Place poblanos and onion on a rimmed baking sheet and broil until charred, 7 to 10 minutes. When poblanos are cool enough to handle, rub with a paper towel to remove skins. (I run them under cold water and remove with my hands). Remove stems and seeds, and discard. Roughly chop poblanos and onion and place in medium bowl. Stir in oil, lime juice, and cilantro, season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat grill to high heat. Clean and lightly oil hot grill. Remove steak from marinade and grill 5 to 7 minutes per side for medium rare to medium. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes before thinly slicing across the grain. Serve steak with poblano relish.

Black Bean Salad (courtesy of the April issue of Food Network Magazine, subbed a few ingredients once again):

2 garlic cloves, chopped finely
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and diced
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 15 oz can of black beans, drained rinsed.
  • 1 1/2 cups cucumber, diced
  • 1 1/2 cups grape tomatoes, halved
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
  • salt
  • 4 cups arugula, watercress, or spring greens

1. Heat olive oil over low and add garlic, jalapenos, and cumin, cook 5 minutes.

2. In a large bowl toss black beans, cucumber, tomatoes, green onion, lime juice, cilantro and salt.

3. Mash the garlic mixture and add to the bean mixture.

4. Just before serving add greens to the bean mixture and toss.

MENU #2:

Chicken skewers with basil sauce:
  • 1 Orange, squeezed to extract 1/4 cup juice
  • 2 Cups basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and rough chopped
  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • salt and pepper

1. Prepare grill to medium-high heat

2. In a mini food processor, combine orange juice, basil leaves, olive oil, garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Process until mixture is finely chopped.

3. Sprinkle 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper over chicken. Evenly thread onto 4 (12 inch) skewers. Grill 5-7 minutes per side of chicken, until cooked all the way through.

4. Drizzle Chicken with sauce, or serve separately as a dip for the chicken

Rice salad:
  • 1/2 pound white basmati rice
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • A handful of basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/2 pint grape tomatoes, halved
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • pinch of salt 
1. Cook rice according to package directions.

2. Melt butter in the pot over low heat and combine with feta. Add cooked rice to feta butter and toss with basil and tomatoes, season with a little salt and pepper.

MENU #3:

Spring greens salad with Italian tuna and white beans (courtesy of the June issue of Cooking Light)

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup thinly vertically sliced red onion
  • 2 (6-ounce) cans Italian tuna packed in olive oil, drained and broken into chunks
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 (5-ounce) package fresh baby arugula, spring greens, or watercress
  • 2 ounces Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

1. Whisk together first 6 ingredients in a large bowl. Add tomatoes and next 4 ingredients (through arugula); toss. Top with cheese.

Grilled kalamata olive bread:
  • 1 loaf kalamata olive ciabatta bread
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
1. Heat grill to medium-high. Cut bread into 2 inch wide pieces, and brush exposed sides with olive oil. Grill bread with the olive oil side down, two minutes or so per side. Remove from grill and serve with salad.

MENU #4:

Pasta in a light sauce with spring veggies and chicken (adapted from an Everyday Food Mag recipe, March 2009)

  • Coarse salt and ground pepper
  • 3/4 pound linguine (I am using Penne since I prefer it, but you can use any pasta)
  • 1 pound asparagus (tough ends removed), cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise (quartered if large) and thinly sliced
  • 4 ounces sugar snap peas (stem ends trimmed), halved
  • 2 cups chicken, cooked and chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 tablespoons fresh tarragon leaves

1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook pasta 4 minutes short of al dente; add asparagus, zucchini, and snap peas. Cook until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Reserve 1/2 cup pasta water; drain pasta mixture, and set aside.

2. In the same pot, bring cream and butter to a simmer. Toss in pasta mixture and enough pasta water to create a thin sauce (it will thicken as it stands). Season with salt and pepper, and top with tarragon.

Happy Spring Everyone!


  1. Laurie, I'm so glad I found your blog. These are really wonderful recipes. I'll be back as often as I can to see what else you've been cooking. I hope you are having a wonderful day. Blessings...Mary

  2. Mary,

    Thank you for the kind words, you made my day!


  3. I remember seeing the pasta in EDF awhile back. Looks so yummy!


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