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Extension Education Highlight: Spring recipes

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Cottonbro Studio
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Sariah Israelsen: You're listening to USU Extension Educational Highlight, and I'm Sariah Israelsen.
It's Easter time right now, and so I've brought on Teresa Hunsaker to give us some fun spring recipes to try. Welcome Teresa!

Teresa Hunsaker: Hello! Nice to be with you.

Sariah Israelsen: So, tell me what recipes you had in mind.

Teresa Hunsaker: Oh, you know, there's so many fun features for spring whether it's strawberries or rhubarb or asparagus, so I have to go with asparagus this time.

And then peas. I know it's late, but peas will be coming on and you can even use frozen peas for this salad, so I've got a couple that way.

And then maybe some of us have some leftover ham and so I've got a chicken cordon or a ham cordon bleu type soup that is wonderful, using some leftover ham.

Sariah Israelsen: Oh, those sound so yummy. I'm excited to hear the tips you have to make these.

Teresa Hunsaker: Oh, you bet. Shall we get started on the lemony bow tie asparagus pasta?

Sariah Israelsen: Yes, please!

Teresa Hunsaker: All right. So this is so simple. And you could use any pasta that your favorite but it's basically a matter of cooking your pasta al dente which is has just a little bit of kind of what I call bite left in it.

And then in the meantime while that's boiling your pasta is cooking, you can hurry and sauté up some asparagus with garlic cloves, virgin olive oil, and then some lemon zest or lemon strips of the rind if you want to use those. So, it's very, very easy just in a big Dutch oven while your pasta is boiling and then you'll add in the pasta when it's done.

And you'll add in a cup of heavy cream, some crushed red pepper flakes, a little bit of basil leaves and some lemon juice and this just makes the most wonderful lemony, bowtie asparagus pasta, it is just wonderful for spring and you know I don't know what it is. But lemon to me lemon and citrus still means spring for me and so I love this recipe it's so good.

Then the other one that I have is an herbalist pea salad, and like I said once your sweet peas come on, you could use fresh peas but, in the meantime, you can also use frozen peas and I like to use the little petite peas. And this is basically some leaks that are simmered are sauteed in some olive oil along with some asparagus again and then while the while that cools down a little bit you just add in your frozen petite peas and some celery.

I don't simmer the celery I want that nice fresh crisp crunch that's in the celery added to this salad with some parsley, some fresh dill and then you make a quick salad dressing to go over it. Mine is sour cream with some mayonnaise and rice vinegar but you certainly could use some plain Greek yogurt instead of the sour cream and it works wonderfully and still tastes great.

This has a little bit of granulated garlic, little Dijon mustard and a little bit of sugar to sweeten that up a little bit more. And then that stirred over your pea salad that can be served once it's all combined on a shredded bed of lettuce really good that way or just served plain by itself but it is just so refreshing.
Absolutely love that one!

And then if you do have that leftover ham this ham cordon bleu soup is another very easy, fun thing to have in your arsenal in the spring when the nights feel get cool and chilly and our weather is still a little unpredictable. Just dice up some ham.

It's a quick rue that you're making with your butter and flour. And then adding your milk and cream to that with some seasoning of dried thyme and garlic some chicken broth.

I like to use some rotisserie chicken but you can certainly use leftover grilled chicken or you know some other chicken maybe that you've boiled or baked or something that way and then about a cup and a half of cube ham and off you go with some Swiss cheese and this is really a fun soup for a spring chilly evening.

Sariah Israelsen: Wow, you just made me super hungry. Those sounds so good.

Teresa Hunsaker: Each one of them really are so delicious. I hope that everybody enjoys them.

Sariah Israelsen: Oh, I think we will!

Recipe's can be found below.

Lemony Bowtie Asparagus Pasta

1 lb. bowtie pasta (or any other favorite pasta)

⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 large bunch asparagus, trimmed, thinly sliced on a deep diagonal

4 garlic cloves, smashed

4 3"-long strips lemon zest

½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes

8 large basil leaves

2 lemons, halved

2 oz. Parmesan, finely grated (about 1 cup), plus more for serving

Cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain pasta, reserving 1½ cups pasta cooking liquid.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a large Dutch oven or other heavy pot over medium-high until shimmering. Add asparagus, season with salt, and cook, stirring often, about 1 minute. Add garlic, lemon zest, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let sit until pasta is done.

Add pasta and basil to pot with asparagus mixture and return to medium-high heat. Squeeze juice from both lemons into pot and add 2 oz. Parmesan and 1 cup reserved pasta cooking liquid. Cook, tossing vigorously and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until sauce is creamy and emulsified and pasta is coated, about 1 minute. Taste and season with more salt if needed. Remove and discard garlic.

Divide pasta among bowls, placing a lemon strip in each, and top with more Parmesan.

Herb-a-licious Pea Salad

1 TBS olive oil

2 medium leeks, sliced, white portion only

2 small zucchini, ¼” slices that are quartered

½ lb. fresh asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1” pieces

3 cups frozen petite peas, thawed (approx. 16 ounces)

1 cup sliced celery

1 TBS washed and chopped fresh parsley

2 tsp chopped fresh dill

1 TBS fresh chopped tarragon


½ cup sour cream

1/3 cup mayonnaise

2 TBS rice vinegar

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp granulated garlic

½ tsp Dijon mustard

¼ tsp black pepper

2 tsp sugar

Garnish: 2 sliced boiled eggs

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add leeks; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or until tender. In a Dutch oven, place steamer basket over 1 in. water. In batches, place zucchini and asparagus in basket. Bring water to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a low boil; steam, covered, 3-4 minutes or until crisp-tender. Remove and immediately drop into ice water. Drain and pat dry. (NOTE: If my zucchini is small and nice and tender, I do not steam it…just the asparagus.)

In a large bowl, combine peas, leeks, zucchini, celery and herbs. In a small bowl, whisk dressing ingredients. Pour over salad; toss to coat. Top with sliced boiled eggs. Serve immediately.

Chicken Cordon Bleu Soup (using left over ham)

1/3 c. butter

1 small onion, diced

1/3 c. all-purpose flour

2 c. whole milk

1 c. heavy cream

½ tsp. dried thyme

½ tsp. granulated garlic

1 15 ounce can chicken broth

2 chicken breasts, cooked and cut into bite-sized pieces (I like to use rotisserie chicken)

1 ½ c. ham, cubed

3 tsp. stone ground mustard

¼ c. chopped parsley

6-8 oz. weight Swiss cheese, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

croutons, for serving (optional)

Melt butter in a medium soup pan, or Dutch oven. Add onion and cook over medium-low heat until tender, about 10 minutes.

Sprinkle in flour and whisk until smooth. Cook for a minute, stirring constantly, to cook off the flour taste. Pour in half each of the milk, cream, and chicken broth and whisk until smooth. Gradually add the rest of the liquids and seasonings, including the parsley. Bring to a low simmer, stirring often. Simmer 3-5 minutes.

Remove from heat and add chicken, ham, parsley, and Swiss cheese. Stir until cheese is completely melted. Serve immediately with croutons, toast, or biscuits. May also top with additional parsley leaves and cheese.