By Chef Steve Petusevsky
Healthnotes Newswire (April 23, 2009)—With the spring season comes a delicious variety of vegetables—often more affordable than off-season items. The arrival of asparagus, artichokes, baby greens, and berries all leave no doubt that winter is over!
Flash in the pan
Delicate spring vegetables make easy dinners when flash sautéed—cooked briefly in a pan heated to medium-high—in a small amount of olive oil, then simply seasoned with salt and pepper for a great side dish. If you want to get a bit more creative add sesame seeds, fresh herbs, or garlic.
For a complete meal, add slivered cooked chicken, cooked shrimp, or diced tofu. When adding these extras, be sure not to overcook the vegetables so they keep a bright color and a trace of their crispness. Serve the stir-fry alone or over a bed of a tasty whole grains, such as brown rice or quinoa, or whole-wheat couscous.
The only kitchen rule: Make sure that the harder vegetables are added earlier and all together. For example, asparagus, peppers, and onions will cook in about the same time. If you decide to use something soft, like tomatoes, add them at the end of the cooking process to preserve the natural character of the vegetable.
Serve your stir-fry with a salad
Spring fruits such as apricots and berries are incredible when tossed into a baby field greens salad with extra virgin olive oil and raspberry or balsamic vinegar. Throw in some walnuts or pecans and crumbled blue cheese for a salad that you will crave in all four seasons.
Best bets for the season
• Sugar snap peas
• Vidalia onions
• Baby lettuces
• New potatoes
A pioneer in the marriage of good taste and sound nutrition, Steven Petusevsky, or "Chef Steve" is a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, where he was awarded a fellowship and served as Chef Instructor. He has also been the National Director of Creative Food Development for Whole Foods Market, the largest natural food retail chain in the country. A widely published columnist in magazines and newspapers such as Natural Health, Fine Cooking, the Los Angeles Times, and Food & Wine, and a nationally syndicated columnist for the Chicago Tribune, he is also the author of the Whole Foods Market Cookbook: The Ultimate Guide to Natural Foods (2002, Random House).
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