Emily's Seasonal Cooking class wraps up this Wednesday, but we're already missing her expertise about local produce and cooking (not to mention her amazing snacks).
So what'd we eat?
Asparagus! The first real sign of spring, asparagus is basically awesome. And how should you cook it? Use the bigger, thicker stalks for roasting, and save the smaller ones to steam or sautee.
Fact: White asparagus is grown in the dark but doesn't taste any different that green asparagus!
Chives! Chives with their flowers attached are almost too pretty to eat, but Emily turned them into a great and simple chive oil for some steamed potatoes. You can use the beheaded flowers in salads or even deep fry them in tempura - they're super peppery and really good.
Beets! Any vegetable you can both make a cake and hummus out of is officially my favorite. Use the greens like chard (they're from the same family) and if you buy small ones, you don't even need to peel them. If you do peel them, just remember to do it after they're cooked, cause it's pretty much impossible when they're raw.
Mustard Greens! By far the coolest thing about mustard greens is that when you eat them raw, they taste like salad that's already been dressed with vinagrette. If you prefer actual lettuce in your salad, they're also super easy to cook - just sautee them quickly with some ginger, pepper, or even bacon, and you're ready to go.
Peas! If chives are almost too pretty to eat, pea shoots and tendrils definitely are. The shoots are great when you want to infuse something with pea flavor, but not have the peas themselves, and the tendrils taste more like spinach. Mix them all up for a fancy looking salad to impress all your friends.
Besides being pretty and delicious, they're also really, really good for you. A serving of peas even has more protein than an egg!
Rhubarb! I've always been sort of frightened by rhubarb, but it's actually great raw and not nearly as sour as you'd think. You can find it throughout spring and summer, and luckily when you buy it at the Greenmarket the poisonous leaves are already removed, though it wasn't until WWI that people discovered they make you really, really sick.
To turn the stems in to pie filling, just cook them in a saucepot for until it reaches the texture you like. Add 1/4 - 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 tbl. of cornstarch for every pound of rhubarb, and make sure the mixture comes to a boil to cook off that gross raw cornstarch taste.
Fingerling Potatoes! Fingerlings cook really fast, so you can mix up a batch of Emily's god-awfully good potato salad in no time flat. All you need is a 1:1 mix of mayo and whole grain mustard, some dill and some salt, and it's pretty much the best thing you've ever eaten.
When you're cooking potatoes, always test them doneness with a sharp knife and not a dull, squared off fork! It's a lot easier to tell if they're done that way.
Persian Cucumbers! My favorite thing ever about cucumbers is that the inside can be 20 degrees cooler than the skin. Persian cucumbers might be kinda hard to find, but they make great salads since you don't have to skin or seed them; just slice thin and mix with some oil and vinegar.
You can learn way more from Emily (and maybe a little from us) at our Grilling and Smoking workshop coming up in a few weeks. It promises to be smoky and delicious.