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I am a simple country girl who loves life and lives it to the fullest. I cook for one of the greatest families ever. Cooking is my passion and I consider it as well to be my gift.

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Monday, January 3, 2011


Spring is a time of renewal, not only for our sight and senses, but for our palates. With memories of winter fading, we can turn our thoughts to the wonderful array of springtime produce. Firm asparagus and sweet green peas are at their peak. Celebrate the awakening of the warming soil with these time tested recipes.


NUTRITIONAL INFO: Excellent source of Vitamin A, C, and folate.

LOOK FOR: Firm smooth stalks and thin or fat shoots with tight buds at the top.

STORAGE: Cut the ends of the stems and place in water as you would flowers. Store in refrigerator for just a few days.

USES: Roasted, steamed. Drizzle with olive or nut oils.


2 lb. trimmed asparagus
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
sea salt & freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a shallow baking dish that is just big enough to hold the asparagus. Divide asparagus into three bunches. Layer one bunch at a time with the tips all pointed in the same direction. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper. Repeat layers, finishing with the cheese. Dot the top with the butter and place in oven. Bake about 20 minutes or until asparagus is cooked through and the cheese is golden in color.
Serves 4 to 6


NUTRITIONAL INFO: Excellent source of vitamin C. Good source of vitamin A, fiber and folate.

LOOK FOR: Bright green pods filled but not bulging. If to large they are old and starchy.

STORAGE: Keep in refrigerator. Use within 2 days.
BEST USES: Peas like keeping company with carrots, mushrooms and pearl onions. For a lively zip add fresh dill or mint.

Plump, freshly shelled green peas in my humble opinion, are a must have in your
kitchen after a long drab winter.
I learned the fine art of cooking risotto many moons ago from a wonderful lady in her home in Grandfather Golf & Country Club. Though I was intimidated by it at first, it did not take me long to get past that initial bout of nerves. Now I absolutely love making risotto and you need not be intimidated by it either. It just takes some time, but trust me when I say that the finished product is well worth it.

1 lb. unshelled English peas (which should yield at least 1 cup shelled)
3 cups chicken broth
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced
1 cup Arborio rice (best rice to use for risotto)
1/2 cup dry white wine
juice and zest of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh mint (optional)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste

Bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of peas and cook for 2 minutes, just until they turn bright green. Plunge into ice water to cool, drain well.
Bring chicken broth to a boil in the same pan you cooked the peas in.
Heat the olive oil in your largest heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent but do not allow it to brown. Add the rice and cook for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it has turned nearly white. Add the wine, stirring until the wine evaporates. Now add the broth, 1 soup ladle at a time, allowing for almost all of the broth to be absorbed before adding the next ladle full. Continue adding and stirring, you may stop stirring long enough to pour yourself a glass of the wine, until all of the broth has been used. This is going to take approximately 18 to 20 minutes. It will have a creamy appearance.
Add remaining ingredients, season to taste with salt and pepper. Cover for a few minutes, allowing for it to steam, then serve immediately. Never allow your risotto to loaf. Pass a bowl of extra grated Parmesan cheese. Serve remaining wine with the meal.
Serves 4 to 6

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose, I would always greet it in a garden."~Ruth Stout

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