Ring in Spring with Fresh Favorites of the Season
March 2022 Issue
By Leslie Rohland
Photography by Lucy Rosen
Ah, finally the much-awaited arrival of spring is here! With longer days, warmer nights and the promise of summer just a short time away, spring brings a bounty of fresh seasonal produce perfect for delicious, flavorful spring dishes. Whether you’re getting ready to celebrate one of spring’s many holidays or events with a big dinner party for family and friends, or just looking to welcome in the warmer weather with some cozy al fresco dining in your own backyard, there are numerous ways to take advantage of the freshness of spring, the season filled with new possibilities.
We all have our own ways of marking the arrival of spring. For some, it may be noticing the first vibrant colors of budding flowers, or relishing in the morning symphonies of backyard birds. For food-lovers, or anyone eager to move from traditional winter dishes to the often lighter, veggie-centered dishes, spring is often marked by the abundance of ripe produce bursting at farmers’ markets throughout the region.
While some items can be found year-round at grocery stores, cooking and eating in-season springtime produce allows you to enjoy fruits and veggies at their peak textures and flavors, making them the centerpiece of dishes sure to put a spring in your step.
And, there’s so many to choose from! Some of my favorites to use in my spring menus include asparagus, peas and avocados. The recipes below are a great way for you to incorporate these veggies at home for a sensational springtime meal. Other great spring vegetables to take advantage of this season include cabbage, chard, mushrooms, radishes, rhubarb (who doesn’t love a freshly baked rhubarb pie?) strawberries, turnips, artichokes, arugula and fava beans, along with a host of other favorites making their way into markets in the coming days, weeks and months of spring.
Here’s to welcoming the wonders—and wonderful produce—of spring. Let’s all enjoy some mouthwatering recipes of the season and savor all that spring brings.
Chilled Avocado Soup
2 cloves Garlic, minced
½ Sweet onion, minced
1 Tbsp fresh Lime juice
2 cups Chicken or vegetable broth, divided
¼ cup Cilantro leaves
2 large Avocados, pitted, peeled, cut into cubes
Salt and pepper, to taste
½ cup Heavy cream
Sour cream, for topping
Add garlic, onions and ¼ cup of broth to a soup pot and bring to medium-high heat. Cook until garlic is lightly browned and onions are translucent. Add in remaining broth, avocados, lime juice and cilantro. Bring to a simmer and cook 5-10 minutes, until all the flavors come together. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Pour mixtures into blender. Blend until smooth. Add in cream and blend slowly, just until cream is incorporated. Place in refrigerator until chilled. Garnish with cilantro and a swirl of sour cream.
Fried Rice with Spring Veggies and Egg
4 Tbsps Vegetable oil
2 bunches Scallions, white and green parts separated
1 small Shallot, thinly sliced
1 Serrano chili pepper, thinly sliced
1 large Egg, beaten
1 1-inch piece Ginger, peeled & grated
3 cups Rice, cooked
1 bunch Asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces on a diagonal
1 Tbsp Soy sauce, or tamari
1 cup shelled Fresh peas (or frozen peas, thawed)
1 Tbsp Honey
1 Tbsp Sesame oil
Cilantro to taste, as garnish Large eggs, fried, enough for servings
Make the rice according to package directions and set aside. Slice scallions into 1” pieces. Heat the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high. Cook white scallions, shallot, Serrano and ginger, stirring occasionally until fragrant and just softened—about 2 minutes. Add beaten egg and stir to break up; cook until the egg is cooked through. Add rice; toss everything together, then let cook without disturbing until rice begins to crisp up—about 1 minute. Add asparagus and peas and cook until vegetables are softened—about 4 minutes. Add soy sauce, honey and sesame oil and toss to coat. Divide fried rice among plates. Top each with a fried egg and garnish with cilantro and green scallions.
Lemon Parmesan Sweet Peas
1 Tbsp fresh Lemon zest
1 lb Green peas (fresh, or frozen & thawed)
Juice from 1 large Lemon
2 Tbsps Olive oil
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
Ground black pepper Parsley, chopped
In a small bowl, zest the lemon and set aside. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add peas to the saucepan and sauté until the peas are cooked through. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper (to taste) to the saucepan. Stir until the cheese has melted and all the ingredients are incorporated. Transfer peas to a serving dish, garnish with more parmesan cheese and fresh chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Thai Cucumber Salad
1 cucumber, sliced thin
½ tsp Kosher salt
½ Red onion, sliced thin
1 Thai chili, sliced thin
2 Tbsp Cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp Roasted peanuts, roughly chopped
For the Dressing:
1 Tbsp Apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp Sugar
2 Tbsp Water
4 Tbsp Thai Sweet Red Chili sauce
Add salt to the cucumber, mix well and set aside in the fridge for 10-15 minutes. Chop the onion, chili, peanuts and cilantro, and set aside in separate bowls. For the dressing, combine all ingredients in a small sauce pan over low heat. Allow to cook until thickened, about 6-10 minutes. Let cool. Completely Drain the salt water from the cucumbers. Toss the cucumbers, onions and dressing together. Top with the peanuts and cilantro. Serve immediately.
Leslie Rohland, owner of the Cottage Cafe, Bakery and Tea Room in Old Town Bluffton, is an award-winning recipe creator who is known for her delicious and ever-changing menu at her extraordinary restaurant. She is also the owner of the popular healthy eatery The Juice Hive and the micro-roastery May River Coffee Roasters. For more information about The Cottage Cafe, visit www.thecottagebluffton.com or call 843-757-0508.