Spring Clean Your Plate

vegetables-970400Spring is finally here! As the snow melts off my deck this morning, I am looking forward to the warmer temps and pretty flowers to come. Spring also brings new crops and tons of new foods for us to try. Farmer’s markets begin to reappear and hope beyond root vegetables emerges!

Ridding your home of dust-bunnies is important, but so is cleaning up your plate, your belly and home pantry. One of my favorite things about spring-time foods is how simply they can be prepared. Home cooking is not fussy- a little olive oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper can make any of these springtime foods sing.

Asparagus: yes you can get this year-round, but it’s not only cheaper but much heartier when in season. Roast, grill or blanch. Asparagus is super fast-food that is high in iron and B vitamins.

Artichoke: Steam these guys and serve with a fresh little aioli. You peel the individual leaves and scrape the meat off with your teeth. Share with a “friend” for a very happy hour – doesn’t that sound sexy?! High in antioxidants and anti-aging chemicals, artichokes are sure to keep you on track. This is on my list for Spring!

Radish: These guys come in a ton of different varieties. They are good on salads, pickled over fish or eaten raw with a little butter and salt. (Yes, real butter!) Radishes are known to ease digestion and build strong bones and tissues.

Strawberries & Spinach: Wonder why this combination makes a popular salad? Spinach and strawberries grow at the same time! We will start to see them come up from the south in early spring and by May you can pick them yourself locally. When we eat them together the Vitamin C in the strawberries helps with the absorption of the iron in the spinach. That’s just the start of the many, many reasons these two superfoods are good for us. Try them together with a simple vinaigrette sweetened with some local honey.

Herbs: You can start your herbs inside from seed or purchase plants at grocery stores or garden centers. Do not underestimate the power of herbs! They provide flavor without additional calories, make our food visually appealing, and actually are great little detoxifiers. For spring I usually start with parsley and either thyme, cilantro, dill or basil – all full of antioxidants.

I encourage you to head to a Farmer’s Market this spring. (Start your search here: http://www.farmersmarketonline.com/fm/Maryland.htm) Meet your Farmer!

Ready to spring clean your kitchen? I can help with a Pantry Makeover or Smart Shopping Trip and help you navigate the Farmer’s market or your local grocery store. What is your favorite spring vegetable?

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