RECIPES FOR SPRING

I don't know about you, but springtime I go out in the garden and pretend I'm a pilgrim in this brave new land, and can only eat what I find in the garden. So I look around, and what do I SEE?

 

RHUBARB- A delicious desert. Tangy, sour/ sweet. Gorgeous pink. Pick 4 or 5 stalks for every person, depending on the size of your rhubarb. TAKE OFF THE GREEN LEAF part and put on compost pile. Wash stalks, chop up just a bit. Put two or three tablespoons sugar in the sauce pan for every person, (i.e. every 5 stalks). COVER, put on low fire. Stir every thirty seconds with the moisture that's on the stalks. Liquid comes out of them so it's not going to be dry for long. If fire is low, it will turn to sauce. After a minute add juice of an orange and the rind of that orange. And some lemon rind if you have it. Only cook for a few seconds longer or the aroma evaporates. COOL. Serve with fresh cream or whipped cream.

------------------------------------------------------------------

STUFFED ARTICHOKES - Steam or boil 2 chokes per person, until tender. With scissors cut points off leaves so you don't cut fingers as you stuff and so your guests won't hurt themselves as they wolf this down. It's not polite to stick your hungry guests in their greedy fingers. Cut around the shoulders in a circle, so the stem and the heart are in one piece, now PULL the stem away from shoulders so you can reach the fuzz all over that artichoke heart. Clean the fuzz off it. There should be a slight BOWL left on the heart /stem part. You are going to stuff that cavity.

STUFFING. A few cups of Bread crumbs fried lightly in garlic, butter. (chopped olives and onions are optional, garlic, parmesan cheese.You could go crazy, some capers, fairy dust, whatever) Soak dried oregano in lemon juice and lemon rind until it softens, then add it and some chopped, fresh basil or parsley to the crumbs and cool enough that you can handle it.

STUFF crumbs into the heart, replace the neck and 'lid' of the heart. Set in a pan with a half inch of water, lids down, points up. Stuff crumb mixture between the leaves. Everywhere, pushing it down into the leaves so they open a little. BAKE a bit ---at 325, to crisp up the crumbs.

------------------------------------------------------------

CITRUS PUNCH

Lemons and Oranges are just getting ripe about this time. From now thru JUNE they're in better, riper condition than at other times of year. So much CITRUS really isn't ripe. The stupid citrus trees create the fruit in late summer, but it only LOOKS ripe. Truth is, it'll take your teeth enamel off and make lousy juice and make children into citrus haters.

CITRUS is not ripe until it's hung on the tree all winter long, all spring, and then part of the early summer. THINK APRIL MAYBE, JUNE FOR SURE.

JUICE as much of a mix of citrus as you can, add sugar, ice cubes, serve with springtime meals with all the springtime mint you can stuff into the glass.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Collards, mustard greens, turnip greens.

Wash the greens, boil with tbsp sugar, 2 tbsps vinegar or to taste. If not vegan, add some Ham Hocks, or bacon pieces which will send your meat eater friends and relations to culinary heaven and your veg pals out the door! Serve with rice. And pour the Pot Liquor over the rice!

---------------------------------------------------------------

CATFOOD ENCHILADAS- I boil those fresh garden greens for myself, but for the kitty cats? Only the collards ---as cats don't like mustard or turnip that well. I boil the greens with turkey burger (69c a lb. In a plastic bullet. With TWO lbs, I can feed l0 cats with extra left over, making $1.40 a day feed l0 cats ---much cheaper than canned cat food, and not nearly so toxic!) First I feed the cats. They love the greens, pull them out, eat them first!

 Then with the extra left over meat in the pot? For human adults, this catfood presentation doesn't really do it, so I reach into the pot, take some of these boiled, fat free turkey meat scraps, drop them and some grated onion and chopped fresh, raw cilantro into a corn tortilla which I've heated on flame until malleable. I roll tortilla around the meat, put these rolls lined up like soldiers in a buttered oven dish. Throw a small can of enchilada sauce over all, don't leave any part unsplashed. Cut sheets of garlic jack to dot the top, cover with lid or loosely with foil so it doesn't dry out BAKE 15 min. That an a non alcoholic beer, icy cold. Send ya to heaven.

------------------------------------------------------

GARDEN PEAS ARE SO ABUNDANT in spring. When you get sick of butttered peas, make:

SAMOSAS These are little vegetarian pies. In Argentina, they'd call them empanadas, in Russia, Piroshki. In California we are so into FUSION cooking, we call them SAMOSAS! You'll need:

2 1/2 cups whole grain flour

 1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup buttermilk or yogurt

extra flour, as needed

Sift the flour into a medium-sized bowl. Throw out any bran that stays in the strainer. Mix in the salt. Make a well in the center, and add the buttermilk or yogurt. Mix first with a spoon and then with your hand, to make a smooth dough. 

Add extra flour, as needed, to keep the dough from being sticky. The dough will be quite soft. Knead in the bowl for about 5 minutes. Cover tightly and refrigerate until you are ready to assemble the pastries. 

FILLING

2 large potatoes (the size of a large person's fist)

  1 tablespoon butter

  1 cup finely minced onion

  2 medium cloves garlic, minced

  1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger

  1 teaspoon mustard seeds

  1 teaspoon dried coriander either as green cilantro or pounded coriander seeds.

  3/4 teaspoon salt

  1 1/2 cups uncooked green peas

  2 tablespoons lemon juice

  Cayenne, to taste

 Peel the potatoes and chop them into 1-inch pieces. Place in a saucepan, cover with water, and boil until very soft. Drain and transfer to a medium-sized bowl. Mash and set aside. 

Melt the butter in a heavy skillet. Add onion, garlic, ginger, POUNDED mustard seeds,(flattened, pulverized) do the same to the cilantro seed, which is coriander seed, same plant as cilantro... and add salt. Saute over medium heat about 8 to 10 minutes, or until onions are quite soft. Add this to the mashed potatoes, along with the remaining ingredients. Mix well, but try not to smash the peas. Cool for at least 15 minutes before filling the pastries. 

The dipping sauce:

1/2 cup cider vinegar

1/2 cup water

3 tablespoons brown sugar

1 small clove garlic, minced

1 teaspoon salt

Place sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Heat to boiling, then let simmer uncovered for about 10 minutes. It will reduce slightly. Serve warm or at room temperature with hot Samosas. To assemble and bake: Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously oil a baking sheet. Keep a small container of flour, a fork, a small bowl of water, and a pastry brush close at hand. Flour a clean surface, and, one by one, roll 1-inch balls of dough into 5-inch circles, using a rolling pin. Place approximately 1 1/2 tablespoons filling in the center of each circle, and fold over, just like a turnover. Brush the inside edges of each circle with a little water, and fold the edges together to make a small hem. Crimp the edges firmly with the fork.

 If you are storing the Samosas to bake later on, place them on a heavily floured plate or tray, dust the tops with more flour, and cover tightly. Store in the refrigerator or freezer until baking time. Bake: Place the Samosas on the oiled baking sheet. Brush the tops with oil. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees Fahrenheit, then reduce heat to 315 degrees Fahrenheit and bake for 10 minutes more. This is what cooks those raw peas! For maximum crispiness, turn the Samosas over when you turn the oven down. Serve within 15 minutes of baking, with Dipping Sauce. A nice way to serve the sauce is in individual saucers or tiny bowls, so each person can hold both Samosa and sauce directly under his or her face while eating, and the sauce bowl can catch the drips. (It does drip, but that's one of the charms of this ritual.)