What I’m Reading Today

Believe it or not, spring is starting to show it’s face already.  March is here and it’s still raining (or snowing) but, head to the market and signs of the seasons changing are definitely evident.  Here’s to sunny skies and lovely produce to come.

 In today’s Mercury News, Jackie Burrell tempts the start of spring with her take on my favorite fruit, the ripe and gorgeous strawberry.  We chatted last week about why I love the early season berries (so over pears and apples!) and my favorite ways to use them, Strawberry Creme Fraiche Ice Cream and Strawberry Rhubarb Compote.  One read through and you’ll be hitting your farmers’ market asap to get your hands on a fresh, ripe box. 
Who knew leftover oatmeal could anchor such an amazing looking muffin?  In today’s New York Times, Martha Rose Shulman takes a healthy look at muffins (yes, there is such a thing).  Her Steel Cut Oatmeal and Blueberry Muffins are full of buttermilk to keep them moist and tender, plus maple syrup instead of the loads of sugar usually called for in these “cupcakes in disguise”.  A combination of steel cut oats, whole wheat flour, and white flour will create a lovely texture and throw in those blueberries…I’m sold.  
Artichokes are a labor of love.  I’m not going to lie to you, they take time and effort to prep if you do anything more than simply steam them but, when these awkward looking thistles come into the market, it’s hard to resist (much like the beloved fava beans).  In today’s LA Times this indulgent recipe for Baby Artichoke Gratin looks absolutely fantastic.  Yes, there is work involved in prepping these little guys but the baby artichokes are much easier to deal with then their more mature siblings.  A homemade garlic aioli is “lightened” (ha!) with heavy cream, the blanched artichokes get folded in, and the top sprinkled with fresh Parm.  After a quick trip under the broiler you won’t believe how fantastically rich and amazing those prickly little vegetables can be.
Happy Reading and Happy Cooking!
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