By LYDIA BOLEN
Spring is finally arriving! Fresh produce is one delicious benefit of this season of rebirth. I find myself anticipating my weekly trips to the farmer’s market to see what I can find that is freshest. Highlight these bountiful seasonal fruits and vegetables in simple weeknight meals.
A stir-fry is a great way to incorporate more vegetables and less meat into your family’s diet. Colorful vegetables with good texture can present a low-fat meal with lots of flavor. Strawberries and fresh artichokes are my all time favorites. Try my fun recipes for something different and palate pleasing.
CHICKEN AND VEGETABLE STIR-FRY
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
- 1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch segments
- 3 green onions, sliced
- 2 carrots, sliced into small strips
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 can water chestnuts, sliced
- 1 small package peas pods
- 1/2 teaspoon powdered ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce
Preheat wok to medium high. Add sesame seeds to dry pan. Stir frequently, until lightly toasted. Add 3 tablespoons olive oil. Add chicken. Cook until chicken is no longer pink, stirring often.
Add asparagus, carrots, green onions and garlic. Stir until vegetables are tender. Add pea pods and sliced water chestnuts and stir to heat through.
Add ginger, red pepper flakes, and teriyaki sauce. Season with salt and pepper.
Serve over hot, cooked rice.
Makes 4 servings
- 2 cups fresh strawberries, chopped
- 1/2 cup sugar (more if you prefer a sweeter result)
- 2 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk
- 1/2 cup half-and-half
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
Combine 1 cup strawberries and sugar in a small bowl and let sit, stirring occasionally until the sugar has begun to dissolve, about 10 minutes. Transfer the berry mixture to a food processor or blender and process until smooth.
Meanwhile, combine buttermilk, half-andhalf, lemon juice, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Press the strawberry mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the bowl. Stir, cover and chill for 2 hours.
Lastly, remove mixture from refrigerator, and whisk. Pour mixture into the canister of an ice-cream maker. Freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. During the last 5 minutes of freezing, add the remaining 1-cup of chopped berries.
Place in freezer to firm up. If it gets too hard, soften in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before scooping.
Yields 8 servings
ARTICHOKES AND VINAIGRETTE
- 4 fresh artichokes
Wash artichokes under cold, running water. Cut off bottom of each one flush with its base. Cut off about 1/2 inch of the pointed top of the artichoke. Trim tips of leaves with scissors to remove any thorns. Dip each artichoke in lemon juice to preserve its color.
COOKING METHOD – Stand prepared artichokes in a deep stainless steel pot with about 4 inches of boiling water. Add lemon juice to the cooking water. Cover lightly with a lid and gently boil for 25 to 40 minutes, depending on the size of the artichokes. When cooked, remove from pot and stand artichokes upside down on a rack to drain. Carefully pull out the hairy choke in the center of each artichoke.
- 1 egg yolk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon Dijon Mustard
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked white pepper
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil (or a mixture of olive oil and vegetable oil)
Combine the egg yolk, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and mustard. Whip together with a whisk for about one minute. Add the oil very slowly, beating constantly with the wire whisk.
Enjoy dipping the artichoke leaves in the vinaigrette sauce!
Yields about one cup