Kitchen Wit & Wisdom: Bounty of the season awaits

Fresh, locally grown strawberries are the perfect match for a Springtime Spinach Salad

We’ve been enjoying spring for some time now and with it, the first fresh lettuces, green onions, radishes, kale, strawberries, asparagus and spinach of the season.

Indeed, it’s time for fresh salads to make a return to our diets. If you aren’t growing your own produce, we have a number of farmers’ markets in Vernon, Lumby, Coldstream and Armstrong, along with a few local markets that offer locally grown fresh produce for salads.

The first recipe today makes use of fresh spinach and strawberries, which are always delicious in the spring. It’s tossed with other fresh ingredients, real bacon and hard-cooked eggs, making a wonderful salad. A sweet, tangy oil and vinegar dressing tops it off! The second salad for the week uses spinach and asparagus along with quinoa and wild rice. If you add cooked chicken it will make a complete meal. Enjoy something different by trying these salads.

Springtime Spinach Salad

2 eggs

4 slices bacon

5 cups fresh spinach, rinsed and torn into bite-size pieces

1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup thinly sliced onion

1 kiwi, sliced

1/2 mandarin orange, peeled and segmented

1/4 cup ketchup

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup brown sugar

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

1/2 teaspoon spicy brown mustard

1 dash garlic powder

Salt and pepper to taste

1 cup seasoned croutons

Place the eggs in a saucepan with enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover, and let eggs stand in hot water for 12 to 15 minutes. Remove from hot water and cool. Peel, chop and set aside.

Cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp and evenly brown. Drain, crumble and set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together the eggs, bacon, spinach, mushrooms, strawberries, onion, kiwi and orange.

In a separate bowl, mix the ketchup, water, olive oil, brown sugar, cider vinegar and brown mustard. Season with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Pour over the salad mixture, and top the salad with croutons.

Asparagus, Wild Rice-Quinoa Salad

with Lemon-Turmeric Vinaigrette

1 cup chopped asparagus

3 cups baby spinach

1 cup cooked wild rice (from ½ cup uncooked)*

1 cup cooked quinoa

Dressing:

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

½ teaspoon raw honey (or maple syrup)

¼ teaspoon turmeric

Salt + pepper to taste

Bring about 3 cups of water to boil, add asparagus and cook for about 2 minutes, until they’re starting to get tender. Pour through a strainer and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking process. Set aside while you assemble the salad.

Add spinach, wild rice, quinoa and asparagus into a large bowl.

Whisk together the dressing ingredients then pour over salad and toss to combine. Serve immediately or store in the fridge for up to one day.

Note: if cooking rice from scratch, follow the instructions on the package for cooking wild rice (mine took about 50 minutes).

Optional: add 2 cups cooked chicken.

Cathi Litzenberger is The Morning Star’s longtime food columnist, appearing every other Wednesday and one Sunday per month.

 

 

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