Friday, March 18, 2016

Spring Clean Your Cooking

With Spring coming, its' time to start cleaning up our cooking routines. Warmer days mean lighter meals that feature more green than protein. Gone are the days of heavy sauces and stews,of crockpot dinners followed by heavy pies and cakes. Think airy , think Spring.

One of the reasons lamb is so popular for Easter and Passover is that it's a lighter meat. Of course, Spring is a the time of lambing when the young sheep are born. Yet the sweet tender flavor is a far cry from. the heavy beef and pork roasts that we've been eating all fall and winter. Consider serving leg of lamb for Easter. Make it Mediterranean style, studding it with garlic cloves or creating a garlic  lemon marinade ,using an entire head of garlic, along with  lemons , rosemary and parsley. You could also create a parsley pesto, made the same way as basil pesto to serve with it or with lamb chops. Capon is another great idea for a Spring get together. Sizewise  it's between a chicken and turkey and chicken and is primarily sold by butchers and not your local grocery. The flavor is less gamier than regular chicken which makes it a lighter tasting meat.Chicken, itself, is a great Spring dish, It's easier to prepare and cook , along with working well with seasonal veggies such as asparagus. This last will be seen all over supermarkets in the upcoming weeks. A favorite dish is  steamed asparagus , topped with melted  butter, or margarine and sliced hard boiled eggs. The stalks can be grilled too, with just a coating of olive oil and lemon.

Baking takes a lighter turn too. Gone are the heavy  buttercream rich cakes and fruit laden pies of colder days. Many home bakers turn to the airy and light angel food cake for a dessert treat.It's made primarily of egg whites along with almond and vanilla flavorings. Its' light airy texture is a perfect foil for the first berries of the season. Serve slices of the cake with strawberries and homemade whipped cream. As for the yolks, think zabaglione, the ethereal custard, made with them along with sugar and Marsala. You could also serve it with the cake.Another use for egg whites are meringues, the quintessential Passover dessert. They're a great treat for any holiday or Spring gathering. Many novice home bakers do have qualms about making them. Meringues can be temperamental depending upon the level of humidity.(try baking them on dry, sunny Spring days) They usually turn out OK if baked and cooled properly. The trick is leaving them in a cooling oven for entire hour  after baking. This will ensure they won't crack. 'A fun Easter dessert is lemon bars. This classic recipe is another easy bake.with a buttery crust and tart topping with a dusting of confectioner's sugar. It'sa fave with both kids and adults looking for a refreshing change from all that chocolate.

It's time to Spring clean your dishes. Think light and airy tastes and textures for the season again.Cook and bake dishes that reflect  sunny balmy days ahead.

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