I think Spring has finally sprung! The weather has shown 80-degree temperatures one day and near frozen precipitation the next, that’s a sure sign of Spring in the West Virginia mountains, right? Anyway, with the arrival of Spring, many anticipate the first signs of early vegetation in the way of ramps, asparagus and rhubarb. I have heard talk of the first mushrooms up for the season and I, myself, am waiting for the first of the locally grown strawberries to appear! What “Spring” foods do you look forward to the most when the season arrives? I’ve provided a few recipes to incorporate some of these ingredients…enjoy!!
2 pounds of fresh asparagus, trimmed
12 slices of bacon, slightly precooked
1/2 cup (1 stick) of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 cup of light brown sugar, packed
1/2 teaspoon of Cajun seasoning
10 turns of the pepper grinder
1/2 teaspoon of garlic salt
2 teaspoons chili powder
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Trim the asparagus by bending the bottom half of one asparagus spear until it pops apart at the natural break. Then line up the other spears and use a knife to cut them all at the same length. Spray an oblong, glass baking pan with non stick spray. If you use a metal pan instead, you’ll probably want to line it with a couple of layers of aluminum foil for easier clean up!
Divide the asparagus into 12 equal bundles. Starting about a half inch from the bottom of each bundle, wrap the bundles with the bacon, securing with toothpicks, if needed, and place the bundles into the baking pan.
In a heavy skillet, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the soy sauce, brown sugar, Cajun seasoning, chili powder, garlic salt, and pepper; bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour sauce all over the asparagus bundles.
Roast at 400 degrees, about 25 minutes, or just until asparagus begins to wilt, basting with the brown sugar sauce several times.
4 C. diced rhubarb
2 C. sliced strawberries
1 C. sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 Tbsp. butter, melted
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 C. brown sugar
1/2 C. flour
6 Tbsp. butter, cubed
2/3 C. chopped pecans
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In large bowl, combine rhubarb, strawberries, sugar, flour, melted butter, and cinnamon. Toss to combine and place in 9 inch square pan. Bake for 10 minutes.
For topping, combine brown sugar, flour, and butter in food processor. Combine until crumbly. Stir in pecans. Sprinkle over rhubarb mixture. Bake until brown and bubbly, about 25-30 minutes.
½ C. shortening (or part butter or margarine)
1 C. sugar
1 ½ tsp. vanilla
1 1/3 C. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 C. fresh strawberries, sliced
1 ripe banana, mashed
½ C. chopped pecans
Cream shortening and butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until fluffy. Add vanilla. Sift dry ingredients together and slowly add to creamed mixture. Fold strawberries and bananas into batter and add nuts. Pour into loaf pans that have been greased and floured and bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour (large loaf) or 40-50 minutes for 3 small loaves. Loaves should be nicely browned.