Eating seasonal produce gives you the best taste and nutrition at the least cost to you and the environment. I’ve included three seasonal favorites for the upcoming months. You can pick one recipe per month to try as each fruit or vegetable comes into season. Eat local and find what’s fresh near you by visiting www.nrdc.org/health/foodmiles/default.asp.
Strawberry Cheesecake French Toast
1 carton (8 ounces) Ricotta cheese
3 tablespoons confectioner’s sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 slices French bread (1/2 inch thick)
1 cup milk
2 cups sliced fresh strawberries
additional confectioner’s sugar or maple syrup
hot, cooked sausage links, optional
In a small bowl, combine Ricotta, sugar and vanilla; mix well. Spread 2 tablespoons each on eight slices of bread; cover with remaining bread. In a bowl, beat eggs and milk; soak sandwiches for 1-2 minutes per side. Cook on a hot greased griddle for 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown and heated through. Serve with strawberries. Top with confectioners’ sugar or syrup. Serve with sausage.
Makes 4 servings — Denise, Illinois
Roast Asparagus with Balsamic Browned Butter
1 bunch asparagus
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Preheat oven to 400 F. Coat a small baking sheet with cooking spray and arrange the cleaned asparagus on it. Sprinkle the salt and pepper over the asparagus and bake for 12 minutes or until tender. The asparagus I used was super thin, so it took only 12 minutes, but if it’s thicker, you might need a longer time in the oven. In a small pan, melt the butter over medium heat and let it cook for about 3 minutes or until it browns, shaking the pan occasionally. Be careful not to let it burn. If it burns, start over. Remove the pan from the heat and add the soy sauce and vinegar, stirring until combined. Pour the sauce over the asparagus on the baking sheet and toss to combine. Plate the asparagus and pour any sauce on the pan over the top. Serve immediately. This will not keep.
Makes 4 servings. — Nancy, Virginia
Blueberry Coffee Cake
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup butter or margarine
Mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut or rub in the butter or margarine with the side of a fork, two knives or your finger tips until it reaches a crumbly state. Set aside.
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
2 cups fresh blueberries
Preheat your oven to 375 F. Blend the flour, baking powder and salt together in a medium-sized mixing bowl. In a large bowl, cream together the sugar, butter or margarine, egg and vanilla. Add the milk and the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, ending with flour. Stir only enough to blend. Fold in the blueberries.
Pour the batter into a well-greased and floured, 9-inch cake pan. Sprinkle the topping over the batter and bake for 40 to 45 minutes. Let cool for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a knife and gently remove from pan. — Belinda, Missouri
photo by simondoggett