With the Lane County Farmers’ Market only a few EmX bus stops away from campus, fresh and local foods aren’t far from students. Some of the freshest produce to look for at markets and stores this spring are asparagus, peas, artichoke, spinach, rhubarb and strawberries.
Besides the Farmers’ Market, there are other food vendors that specialize in fresh, organic ingredients. The Kiva Grocery Store, located on W 11th Ave., is a locally owned grocery store that sells products from over 250 food suppliers in the Eugene area. Sundance Natural Foods on E. 24th Avenue is also unique to Eugene, and receives lots of its produce from local farmers.
The following recipes use the fruits and vegetables mentioned above to bring the freshest meals to the table. Some also feature wine and beer ingredients that are best cooked in the spring months and also compliment each dish.
These recipes can be served as a full meal if desired: an appetizer, a rich or light entrée option and a dessert.
Spring Appetizer Salad (1 serving)
This light appetizer is a satisfying introduction to any meal. It’s simple to make, but the cooked artichoke hearts add a little special flavor to it. Some ingredients can get expensive, so it can be served as a light meal by itself.
- One artichoke
- A large handful of spinach
- 1 1/2 tbsp. of pine nuts
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- 1 tbsp. of parmesan
- Boil water in a large pot, then cook artichoke for about 40 minutes, turning halfway through. Drain water and refrigerate until cool.
- Slice the heart of the artichoke into small cubes.
- Pour spinach, pine nuts and ¼ cup of artichoke hearts into a bowl, then toss.
- Drizzle olive oil over, then toss again. Sprinkle parmesan cheese, then toss again.
Rich Cream Gnocchi (3-4 servings)
This gnocchi plate is heavy and filling and best served in small quantities with other dishes. Although most beers can be used in this dish, Eugene’s Ninkasi Brewing Company produces a Believer Double Red Ale that would work well. Red ale is considered in season during spring, and the company’s website mentions that this beer goes well with cheeses, and with this dish.
- 3 oz. of cream cheese
- 1/3 cup red ale
- 3 tbsp. butter
- ¼ cup of parmesan cheese
- 1 cup of shredded mild cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp. of bread crumbs (plus more for garnish)
- 3 cups of gnocchi
- a pinch of salt
- a generous sprinkle of sugar
- Place a small pot of water on medium heat. Complete steps 2-5 while it boils.
- Pour red ale into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Add cream cheese, butter, parmesan cheese, cheddar cheese, salt and sugar.
- Stir until melted.
- Stir in breadcrumbs, then let simmer on low heat, stirring occasionally while gnocchi cook.
- When the first pot boils, add gnocchi. Drain when they rise to the top of the pot (about 3 minutes).
- Pour gnocchi into cheese mixture and stir everything together, then garnish with bread crumbs.
Light Pea and Asparagus Risotto (about 2 servings)
If you’re looking for something a bit lighter that’s also healthy, this risotto made from cauliflower rice is a flavorful option. It’s common to cook with dry wines, so a pinot grigio is a good option.
- 24 oz. of cauliflower
- ~ 25 asparagus
- 1 cup of peas
- ¼ cup of pinot grigio
- 2 tbsp. butter
- ½ tsp. onion powder
- a generous sprinkle of salt
- 2 tbsp. of olive oil
- 2 tbsp. of parmesan cheese
- Grate the flower parts of the cauliflower. They should roughly resemble white rice when finished. Set aside.
- Cut the tips of the asparagus, then steam them using a steamer over a pot of boiling water, covered, for about minutes. Boil another pot of water, and cook peas in it for about 5 minutes while asparagus is cooking.
- Drain peas and remove asparagus from heat. Set aside.
- Pour butter, olive oil, salt and onion powder on a pan. Let get hot on medium heat.
- Add cauliflower rice, peas, asparagus and pinot grigio.
- Cook for about 5 minutes, then stir in parmesan cheese.
Sweet Crepes with Strawberry Rhubarb and/or Chocolate Filling (Serves about 5)
This recipe features some of the best of spring: strawberry and rhubarb. It seems fancy, but as long as you cook the crepe batter carefully, it’s fairly simple.
Crepe Batter Ingredients:
- 3/4 cup of milk
- 1 egg
- 2 tbs. of melted butter (plus more for greasing pan)
- 3/4 cups of flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 2 tbsp. brown sugar
- ¼ tsp. of salt
Strawberry Rhubarb Filling Ingredients:
- 1/2 cup of frozen rhubarb
- 1 cup of strawberries
- 1 tsp. lemon juice
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
Chocolate Filling Ingredients:
- 1/4 cup of heavy cream
- 1 tsp. of sugar
- 1 4.4 oz. bar of milk chocolate
- Powdered sugar
- Crush the rhubarb in a blender until smooth, but not completely liquid.
- Slice the strawberries into small pieces.
- Pour strawberries, blended rhubarb, 3/4 cup of brown sugar and lemon juice in a pot.
- Mix on medium heat until brown sugar melts into mixture. Drain out about ½ the liquid, then set aside.
- Beat heavy cream using mixer until peaks form. Add 1 tsp. sugar, then mix in.
- Melt chocolate in microwave for 50 seconds, then pour into the cream mixture.
- Mix together, then set aside.
- Blend all crepe batter ingredients in a blender.
- Melt a small spoonful of extra butter over a medium sized pan on medium low heat.
- Pour about ¼ of batter over the whole pan and quickly tilt the pan to cover it evenly with the crepe mixture. Twist a spatula in circular motions over crepe to spread evenly. Cook about 1 1/2 minutes, then flip over. Cook another 30 seconds then place on plate.
- Repeat with remaining batter, adding a small spoonful of butter to pan each time.
- Heat each filling for 10 seconds in the microwave, stir, then fill each crepe with a few spoonfuls of the strawberry rhubarb or chocolate filling. Fold crepes over.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar.