Fresh Spring Recipes

by Chef Joseff VanHorn

What’s blooming in your garden this spring? The following recipes include some of our favorite super foods combined with the season’s first crops.

Cold Soba Noodle Salad

Makes 4 servings

12 ounces dried soba noodles

Vinaigrette

1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons lime juice
3 tablespoons  soy sauce
2 tablespoon hot sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons black sesame seeds

Vegetables

3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1/2 yellow onion
1/3 head broccoli
1/3 head cauliflower
1/2 cup fresh peas, (or substitute edamame)
1/2 cup of baby carrots or 1 large carrot
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 cup fresh spinach

In a large pot of salted boiling water, cook the soba noodles until al dente, (about 4 minutes). Drain and rinse under cold water; shake off any water and blot dry. Transfer the noodles to a large bowl. In a skillet, simmer the orange juice over moderate heat until syrupy, 15 minutes. Scrape into a bowl. Whisk in the lime juice, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and sugar; season with salt. Pour in 3/4 cup of the vinaigrette. (Reserve remainder). Add sesame seeds and toss.

Prep the vegetables: Thinly slice (julienne cut) onion, small dice carrots, cut broccoli and cauliflower into bite-sized pieces.

Cook the vegetables: In a large skillet or wok, heat the vegetable oil. Add the onion and sauté over high heat until it starts to brown, (about 3 minutes). Add the broccoli, cauliflower, peas, carrots and ginger to the onions and sauté until all vegetables are tender, (about 5 minutes). Add the remaining vinaigrette and spinach leaves and cook until wilted, (about 2 minutes).

Add the vegetables on top of the soba noodles and enjoy!

Tabbouleh Salad

Makes 4-6 servings

3 cups fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 cup fresh mint
4 spring onions (with the green parts)
4 ripe medium-sized tomatoes
2 cucumbers
1 cup quinoa
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/2 cup lemon juice
5 tablespoons virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper

Bring 2 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, and then turn the heat down to low. Cover and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Use a fork to fluff and separate the grains. Set aside.

Peel and deseed the tomatoes and cucumbers and chop into small dice.

Clean the parsley and mint. Remove the large stems. Finely chop.

Trim the spring onions and chop them into 1/4 inch lengths. Put the quinoa, cucumber and tomato in a large mixing bowl. Add salt, pepper, allspice, lemon juice, olive oil, mint and parsley.

Taste for seasoning. If too dry, you can add additional lemon juice.

Toss well. Tabbouleh benefits from resting; you can cover the bowl with plastic wrap and leave in the refrigerator for a few hours or overnight, tossing occasionally.

Serve over Romaine lettuce leaves.

Lamb Chops with Asparagus and Farro

Makes 4 servings

1 tablespoon herbs de Provence
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided
Kosher salt Cracked black pepper
8 lamb rib chops, frenched
1 cup farro, rinsed
2 cups chicken stock
1bay leaf
2 sprigs thyme
16 asparagus spears
Half a lemon

In a small bowl, whisk together the herbs de Provence,1/4 cup olive oil and a pinch of salt. Arrange the lamb chops in a single layer on a large baking sheet and drizzle with the olive oil mixture, rubbing to coat each chop thoroughly. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.

In a medium saucepan, combine the farro, chicken stock, bay leaf, thyme and salt to taste. Cover and simmer over medium heat until farro is tender and the liquid has mostly evaporated, about 30 minutes. Remove from heat.

Preheat the oven to 400 F. Toss asparagus with 3 tablespoons of olive oil; rub with minced garlic, kosher salt and cracked pepper.

Roast until crisp-tender, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and keep warm.

In a large skillet over medium heat, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil. Sear the lamb chops until cooked to desired doneness, about 3 to 4 minutes per side.

Arrange a mound of farro in the center of a plate. Lay four spears of asparagus over the farro. Arrange two chops around the asparagus. Squeeze the lemon over the lamb, sprinkle with coarse salt and serve.

Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup

Makes 4-6 servings

3 cups carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon butter, unsalted
1/2 medium onion
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
6 cups vegetable broth
1 1/2 cups half and half cream
salt and pepper, to taste
Cream
Pepita (pumpkin) seeds
Ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 F. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Place carrots on the baking sheet and add olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Toss to combine.

Arrange the carrots in a single layer and place baking sheet into the oven. Bake until tender, about 35-40 minutes.

Chop carrots and set aside. Melt butter in a heavy pot over medium heat.

Chop the onion and cook until soft and tender. Stir in ginger and cook for another minute.

Add roasted carrots and vegetable broth. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to medium low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Purée soup in a food processor. Pour soup back into pot and stir in the cream. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with approximately 1 tablespoon cream, 1 teaspoon pepita seeds and ground black pepper.

Smooth, rich and velvety roasted carrot and ginger soup is full of flavor.

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