Farmers Market Report: Signs of Spring Edition

by March 16, 2012 at 11:00 am 2,321 0

"Borderstan" "Stephanie Willis"

Signs of Spring (Stephanie Willis)

From Stephanie Willis. Email her at stephanie[AT], follow her on Twitter @shaw_girl.

It looks like Punxsutawney Phil was wrong on February 2. Winter has been given the bum’s rush around here and spring is in full swing. Flowers are blooming, temperatures are soaring and the steps at the Portrait Gallery are bursting with office workers eating lunch to enjoy it all.

Before you know it, asparagus, English peas and morel mushrooms will be sprouting up at farmers markets all over Borderstan. In celebration of the unusually warm weather in DC this week, I decided to share some of my favorite spring recipes for you. File them away for when you snag your first bunch of spring produce this year!

  • After I got over my fear of cooking risotto, I discovered it’s a beautifully customizable dish. And since spring has such an abundance of vegetables to choose from, risotto seems a no brainer. One of my favorite spring risotto recipes is this Asparagus and Lemon Risotto with Arugula from Veggie Belly. It’s creamy with bursts of lemony sunshine — just like a perfect spring day.
  • Don’t be fooled by the simplicity of this Roasted Cherry Tomato Tart recipe. Behind the easy directions and small ingredient list lies a beautifully composed symphony of spring flavors. Get the freshest cherry tomatoes you can and good basil because they are the star of this dish. And the tart dough is so easy to make, even a caveman can do it (sorry Geico).
  • The first rhubarb of the season should — nay MUST be used for this Rhubarb Almond Coffee Cake from Not Derby Pie. If you think you’re not a fan of rhubarb, put aside your preconceived notions and give this cake a try. And if you still don’t like rhubarb after making it, email me. I’ll be more than happy to take it off your hands.
  • I know this will sound odd and you will probably question my sanity when you read this, but trust me here. Strawberry.Leek.Quesadillas. You read that right. Strawberries. In a quesadilla. With leeks. This is a recipe that will open your eyes to using strawberries in savory dishes. And spring will never be the same.
  • And to completely turn your head around, how about trying peas in dessert? This lovely Green Pea Ice Cream from the Frozen Fix tastes just like fresh peas… in the form of ice cream. It’s a deliciously decadent way to eat your veggies. Your mom would be proud. And probably a little confused.
  • If you manage to get your hands on morel mushrooms this season, I strongly encourage you to make this Morel Mushroom and Brie Tart. Don’t like brie? Use fresh goat cheese from the Dupont Circle Farmers Market. I’ve made this tart with both brie and goat cheese and both versions are equally swoon worthy.

Speaking of the Dupont Circle Farmers Market, small signs of spring are showing up there now, too! One of my favorite vendors, Clear Spring Creamery, is back for the Spring and Summer season! I am obsessed with their rich and creamy milk — it’s unlike anything I have ever tasted before. And Dolcezza Gelato is also back at the market. Grab a pint of their seasonal gelato and sit out near the Dupont Circle fountain this Sunday. It’s gonna be a beautiful spring day.

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