Early Spring Menu

Weather is so strange. In the East, y’all are just cleaning up after a veritable hurricane. Here in the West, after months and months of cold and rain, it’s suddenly 80 degrees and gorgeous blue skies. So while my husband fetches a rose to sip outside tonight, I’m going to pull together an early spring menu:

early-spring-menuGrilled Crostini with Fava Bean SpreadThis nibble comes together super-quick once the favas are shelled, so you can whip it up and be back outside before the conversation even hits a lull.

Fusilli with Artichokes and Swiss Chard I love this dish. It’s winter and spring and light and creamy all at the same time.

Lemon-Herb Lamb ChopsThis makes a perfect first grill–tender lamb chops bathed in a garlicky, lemony marinade. Mmmmm.

Blood Orange GranitaThis granita makes the most of the last of the blood oranges in a light, refreshing dessert.

And I have to throw in a favorite sandwich for this time of year too:

Radish and Goat Cheese Baguettes Everything about this sandwich makes me happy. The radishes–so vibrant and colorful–come straight from our backyard, the bread from our local bakery, and the cheese from grazing goats just a few miles away. Even the olive oil comes from a local producer.


Fusilli with Artichokes and Swiss Chard

I love this dish. It’s winter and spring, and light and creamy all at the same time . . . a perfect pasta for late spring.

Fusilli with Artichokes and Swiss Chard

3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 cup trimmed baby artichokes (or defrosted frozen artichoke hearts), quartered lengthwise
3 shallots, thinly sliced (about 1/2 cup)
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch Swiss chard, cleaned, stemmed and cut into 1/4-inch-wide ribbons
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
3/4 cup vegetable or chicken broth
Sea salt and crushed red pepper
1/2 pound whole wheat fusilli pasta
1 ounce soft goat cheese

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat, and swirl in 1 tablespoon oil. Add the artichokes to the pan, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add shallots and garlic, and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes, until all are a nice golden brown. Add Swiss chard, lemon zest, juice and broth, and bring to a boil, scraping the bottom of the pan. Lower heat to medium, season with salt and red pepper. Cover, and cook for 10 more minutes.

Cook pasta according to package directions less 1 minute. Drain and return to pot. Drizzle remaining 2 tablespoons oil into the artichoke mixture and toss to coat. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper. Pour artichoke mixture into pasta pot and toss several times to mix well. Divide pasta amongst four bowls and top with crumbled goat cheese.

Serves 4