March 12, 2007

It's Spring! It's Spring! (Boing! Boing!)

I cannot tell you what a boost it is to see things growing and blooming right now. At the market on Saturday, it seemed like everyone was in great cheer and I'm sure the extra sunshine had a lot to do with it. I love these first few tentative steps into springtime. There were the first of the season peas, strawberries and favas. The strawberries still need a few more weeks of warmth but the peas and favas are (were) great. We were also pleasantly surprised to see Barbara with her tomato plants and we spent about 20 minutes at her stand trying to pick out which lucky ones were going to go home with us. In the end, we chose Aunt Ruby's German Green, Royal Chico and a Sweet 100. Yesterday afternoon was spent in the garden, planting our new acquisitions which also included some more herbs and flowers for the rose bed.

Last night, we had a celebration of the changing of the seasons on the table. While my love affair with Bon Appetit is dwindling, they still manage to publish a few interesting recipes in an issue and I had my eye on the grapefruit-avocado salad. So there was that, as well as tagliatelle with favas, homemade ricotta and spring herbs then a meyer lemon-buttermilk sorbet. I was disappointed with the sorbet. It was almost overwhelmingly tart and the elderflower syrup that I snuck into it was totally lost, as was the meyer lemon. Ah well, they can't all be winners. We cracked open a bottle of bubbly some friends gave us and toasted the season. Hurray!

Grapefruit-Avocado Salad with Cassis Dressing, adapted from Bon Appetit

The original recipe calls for sherry vinegar, but we were out, so I subbed in the grapefruit vinegar from TJ's. Any mild vinegar would be fine here, champagne, perhaps, if you have it handy. A Kir Royal is an excellent accompaniment.

1 TB fresh ginger, finely minced
1 TB shallot, fine dice
1 1/2 TB olive oil
1 1/2 TB mild vinegar
1 1/2 TB cassis, black currant liqueur

1 pink grapefruit
1 avocado, sliced into eighths
1 small head of lettuce, or equivalent

Combine ginger through cassis in a bowl. Taste for salt and pepper.

Using a paring knife and working over a bowl, carefully remove all of the rind and pith from the grapefruit. Cut between the membranes of the fruit to loosen the segments. Set aside.

Line plates with lettuce. decorate with grapefruit segments and avocado. Taste the dressing again, if it's too sweet, you can add some of the grapefruit juice. Whisk dressing to reincorporate and drizzle over salad. Salt and pepper

Serves 2

Tagliatelle with Ricotta, Fava Beans and Fresh Herbs

If you decide to make your own ricotta, and I hope you do, you can have the leftover cheese drizzled with honey for breakfast the next day. It's what I eating right now, actually. The picture is what the dish looks like when everything is combined and tossed. The directions below make for a much nicer presentation.

2 lbs favas in pods, shucked, parboiled and peeled, you'll end up with 1 1/2 cups beans
8 oz tagliatelle, cooked, 1 cup cooking water reserved
fresh spring herbs, we used chives and green garlic
1 lemon, zested and juiced
2 cups fresh ricotta (we use Heidi's recipe)
pecorino romano

Toss hot pasta with favas, herbs, zest, juice and enough reserved pasta water to help evenly distribute. Salt and pepper. Divide on plates. Dollop each portion with ricotta. Serve, passing pecorino.

Kir Royal

Special bonus recipe! You didn't think that I would hold out on you, did you?

sparkling wine

Method 1: Place 2 tsps cassis in the bottom of a champagne flute. Gently pour wine into flute.
Method 2: (My favorite) Gently pour wine into flute. Drop 2 tsps cassis into wine. Watch cassis sink to bottom.

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Blogger La Gaucha Guapa said...

That all looks and sounds delicious! Especially the homemade ricotta! I know we just had spring here in South America, but I already miss it! It is all pears, apples, and squash for us.
Thanks for putting up my link!

March 14, 2007 7:16 PM  

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