Spring has sprung – time to revamp the menu
In case you missed it spring arrived last week, bringing with it the anticipation of warmer weather, increased daylight, decreased heating bills and more time outdoors.
For the home chef, it also means turning over the family menu to include lighter fare, including more fruits and vegetables – and preferably not of the root variety. So if you’re looking for some new ideas and flavors, just turn on your laptop and check out these videos and recipes from the Food Network website.
Spring means fresher vegetables and fruits as produce increasingly comes from local sources. In “Spring Produce Guide” (www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/packages/springproduce-guide), viewers will find a bounty of information, such as Alex Guarnaschelli’s how-to’s on selecting it, cooking with herbs and uses for spring greens. There are also plenty of recipes, such as Rachael Ray’s green salad with strawberry balsamic vinaigrette, Anne Burrell’s strawberryrhubarb crisp, and Ted Allen’s primavera with prosciutto, asparagus and carrots. Yum!
If you’re looking ahead to planning a spring dinner party or cookout, Food’s “Spring Entertaining Guide” (www.foodnetwork.com/holidays-and-parties/packages/spring-entertaining-guide) has plenty of ideas for dishes that are sure to impress your guests. The offerings range from Giada de Laurentiis’ beet and goat cheese arugula salad and Tyler Florence’s “ultimate” paella to Ina Garten’s spring green risotto and the mascarpone and lemon gnocchi, a joint Garten/de Laurentiis production. There is even a section for drinks and cocktails, which include the cucumber-gin spritzer, the sparkling sidecar (orange liqueur, cognac and lemon juice) and the cool rhuby cordial, made with frozen strawberries, rhubarb, cognac, ice cream and vodka. Decadent and delicious.
During the week, you’ll undoubtedly want to spruce up the nightly selection as well, and the section titled “Spring Weeknight Dinners” (www.foodnetwork.com/in-seasonnow/packages/weeknight-dinners-spring) has ideas to do just that. Here, you’ll find entries such as Melissa d’Arabian’s orzo with thyme and lemon zest, de Laurentiis’ selection of six spring salads, Sunny Anderson’s ground chicken chicken tacos with creamy salsa, d’Arabian’s salmon cakes and Burrell’s grilled salmon with herb and Meyer lemon compound butter. All dishes created with the working person in mind.
Of course, if none of the above intrigue your palate, both the Food Network and Cooking Channel (www.cookingchanneltv. com) websites offer up a library’s worth of food knowledge, from recipes and cooking how-to’s to drink and wine selection, all in the interest of making what seems difficult simple.
The only thing limiting you is your willingness to give it a try.