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TND – Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Green (with apologies to Crystal Gayle))

April 13, 2012

Dear Everyone in the Food Industry:

Please stop tormenting me with exciting recipes for Spring produce. Yes, we’re having an early Spring (the fact that we’re having Spring at all is kind of remarkable) here in the Northeast, but it’s not that early. It’s not that I begrudge you your access to fresh produce after a long winter (except for how I totally do). It’s not that I don’t want you to post recipes for Spring sandwiches filled with hard boiled eggs, pickled onions and seared asparagus, and gorgeous appetizers of crostini with strawberries and peashoots, and noodles with kale & spicy rhubarb sauce (just so you know, y’all, this is getting made the instant I see rhubarb at the store); I can (and do) bookmark them for later experimentation and consumption. It’s just that, well, I’m positively green-eyed with jealousy of your Spring bounty.

I have very carefully not been asking Wilson Farms how much longer I have to wait for local asparagus, and fresh green spring peas, mostly because I have a feeling the answer is going to be 6-8 more weeks and very rarely on a Saturday morning am I up for feeling that depressed.

You can chart how desperate I am for seasonal produce by how many pounds of citrus I bring home every week. In the early Winter I can contentedly gorge myself on squash and chard, and enjoy the crisp Fall weather as the perfect excuse to roast everything in sight. By late Winter/early Spring, however, I’m hauling home grapefruit, crates of mandarin oranges (and after that season passes, bags upon bags of cara cara oranges), and going through lemons and limes like I’m worried we’re all going to succumb to scurvy any second now. I’m indulging in pineapple at every opportunity, and taking advantage of the fact that somewhere tropical it’s mango season and for the past month ripe, sweet mangos have been on sale every time I set foot in a Whole Foods.

And yet none of that fills the craving for asparagus that’s been picked that morning, or field ripened strawberries, or freshly unearthed new potatoes. Pineapple and mangos are delightful, but they don’t say Spring like a spear of asparagus does. In the meantime, while I await Spring produce with greater and lesser degrees of patience, we had light salad dinner that anticipated Summer, while acknowledging the flavors of Winter.

Cajun Chicken Salad
w/ apples, bacon, dried figs, candied pepitas
Pomegranate Roasted Tomatoes
Savory Oatmeal Cookies

Cajun Chicken Salad

Served this week with sliced apples, some crumbled crisp bacon, wedges of dried figs and candied pepitas.

Recipe previously given: Cajun Chicken Salad

Pomegranate Roasted Tomatoes
Mostly because I had them leftover from the pre-dinner nibble part of Easter Dinner.

Recipe previously given: Playing Parlor Games

Savory Oatmeal Cookies
(makes about 2 dozen 1-Tbsp sized cookies)

I saw this recipe last week and could barely hang on until Tuesday to make them. These are exactly as fantastic as the recipe name and the ingredient list suggests they will be, and what’s more they’re ridiculously easy to throw together. On second thought that last bit might be really dangerous.

Having made these with parmesan and rosemary, I now want to play around with the cheese/herb combination because these would work with any cheese that’s hard enough to grate. I want to try them with gruyere and thyme, and with an aged Gouda and thyme (and serve them with a dollop of apple butter on the side). I also want to try making them a little larger and incorporating some chopped dried cranberries (particularly with the gruyere version), or chopped dried apples (with the aged Gouda variation).

I served these as part of dinner, but they’d be great as a pre-dinner nibble, or as part of a plated luncheon, or on a cheese tray with some fruit.

1 cup rolled oats (not quick cooking)
¼ cup warm water
1/3 cup olive oil
1 egg
¼ cup (scant) brown sugar, lightly packed
1 cup flour
¼ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp pepper
1 cup parmesan
2 tsp minced rosemary
Flakey sea salt (like Maldon or fleur de sel)

Preheat oven to 350. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, or a baking sheet.

Sprinkle the warm water over the oats in a large bowl.

Whisk together the olive oil, egg and brown sugar. Add to the oat mixture and stir to combine. Allow to sit for 5 minutes.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper. Mix in the parmesan and rosemary.

Add the flour mixture to the oat mixture and stir to combine. This will make a very stiff dough, and I ended up mixing in the last of the streaks of flour with my hands because it was easier than using a spoon.

Form 1 Tbsp scoops of dough and place on the lined cookie sheet (you can place them fairly close together, they don’t spread much). Use your fingers to flatten to ¼” thick disk. Sprinkle with a little of the flakey salt. Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until edges are slightly darkened. Cool on a cooling rack.

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