Notes on Spring Produce

Recipe Author: Conne Ward Cameron

Preparation:

Another amazing week of vegetables. That head of romaine is just right for grilling – if you’re so inclined. I shared directions for grilling lettuce a few weeks ago, but basically – wash the head, cut it in half lengthwise, brush the cut sides with olive oil and grill. Dress it with a simple vinaigrette. I like this one: 3 cloves garlic, minced, whisked with 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, 1/2 cup olive oil and 1/2 cup sour cream. Add some lemon juice and zest to taste.

Storage: I rinsed my onions just to remove the dirt, let them dry, and then stored them in a basket in my pantry. The garlic went into the same basket, but not rinsed. I removed the rubber band from my kale and washed it in a big sink of water, along with the beet greens, which I removed from the beet roots. The greens went into the refrigerator, wrapped loosely in a damp dish towel. The lettuce got its own rinse and wrap in a dish towel. Squash and cucumbers just need to be rinsed and dried, then stored in the refrigerator in the vegetable crisper. Use them in 3 or 4 days if you can. If they sit too long, they develop little moldy spots. Yuck.

And don’t forget to search Riverview’s recipe database (search bar at the bottom of the page) – there are almost a dozen recipes for beets, many dozen recipes using garlic, and dozens of recipes for summer squash, to point out just a few things you can find here.

I discovered last week that some of my onions just weren’t keeping well at all. Browning outer layers told me to peel them and use them up fast. But if you can’t use them up quickly, you can always chop them and freeze. The result won’t be crisp chopped onion, but it will work just fine in recipes where you’re going to cook down the onions anyway.

Same thing for that gorgeous bunch of celery. I don’t think I’ve ever seen prettier locally grown celery. But what if you can’t use it all up before it starts wilting? Just chop it up and freeze. If you can, freeze it on a cookie sheet so when you put it into a freezer storage container you’ll have individual pieces of celery. But if your freezer is like mine, there’s no room for that. I just put it all in a zippered bag and then try to flatten it out so the celery is in as even a layer as possible. When it’s frozen, I crunch it up and then at least I’ll get smaller “clumps” of celery, even if they’re not individual pieces.

We’re running a recipe in the paper that makes a chicken filling with typical Asian flavors, and then wraps the mixture in lettuce leaves, and THEN wraps all that in rice paper making perfect little bundles elegant enough for company. You can look for it online at www.ajc.com. It’s the In Season column on Tokyo bekana, a lettuce-like Asian green. I’m a big fan of rice paper wraps. Maybe you are, too.