Who Wouldn't Want to Eat Spring?

Pea and Ramp Soup with Kefir

Spring has miraculously emerged over the past few weeks and to celebrate its arrival I made a soup to capture its essence. Even though peas are starting to pop up at the markets, I used frozen organic petite peas. Although I am not immensely proud of my usage of frozen peas, they are packaged at their peek, are simpler to use, more accessible than fresh and provide nice flavor.

Ramps, garlic and celery were sautéed in olive oil until lightly browned. A bag and a 1/2 of frozen peas were added and the pan was deglazed with a little north fork Pinot Blanc. Once warmed through, a container of organic low sodium vegetable stock was added and the soup was brought to a boil. The pot was removed from the heat and allowed to cool slightly. The soup was pureed using an immersion  blender,  (a regular blender can be used as well) until it reached the desired texture. The soup  was brought back to a simmer and served.

Garnished with kefir for texture and flavor and topped with some warmed whole peas.  

This soup is very simple, flavorful and low calorie. Peas provide more than 3 grams of fiber per 1/2 cup, are a plant-based protein and have iron. So… Pass the pea soup please!

Beet It

Chilled Golden Beet Soup

Stewed golden beets with garlic, onion, hot curry and vegetable stock. Pureed and finished with fat free plain yogurt and scallions.

Farro salad with organic garlic and herb goat cheese, rainbow chard, zucchini and mustard vinaigrette.

Farro is a nutty, slightly chewy grain that originates from Italy. It is a whole grain, meaning that it retains the complete properties of the wheat including protein, fiber and iron. When cooked, farro becomes slightly creamy and its versatility ranges from salads, soups and risotto-like dishes. To add an even more creamy consistency to the farro, I mixed in a little goat cheese, while the grain was hot so it melted and encased the grain with flavor. For a contrast in color and increased nutrient content, I added steamed rainbow chard, sautéed zucchini and finished the dish with homemade mustard vinaigrette.

Rainbow chard is the colorful version of swiss chard. It has slightly more nutrients since it possess more carotenoids, which are the colorful pigments found in plants and animals. Carotenoids act as antioxidants and may reduce the risk of certain cancers and heart disease. Rainbow chard is also a high oxalate green, meaning it contains calcium in an unabsorbable form and has binders that prevent calcium absorption. Boiling the chard can help reduce the levels of oxalate. Rainbow chard also contains high levels of vitamins A, K and C and can act as a lovely addition to a main dish or stand alone as a substantial side.