Spring has sprung and so have all the fresh vegetables and fruits in our local farmers market! In our April cooking class we used these fresh ingredients as our inspiration. The benefit of purchasing fruits and veggies at your local farmers market is that food is not being trucked across country. Local fruits and veggies will be higher in nutrients as a result. During the spring you can enjoy fresh greens, asparagus, strawberries and much more. Adventist HealthCare’s Executive Chef Randall Smith made a tasty Asparagus & Arugula Salad and Strawberry & Brie Bites, which makes for a nice appetizer or dessert.

Asparagus contains a natural prebiotic (inulin) which is good for GI health. Asparagus contains glutathione, a strong anti-oxidant; good to have in your diet frequently. And, strawberries have many phytonutrients (anthocyanins, ellagitannins, flavonols, terpenoids, and phenolic acids) that act as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory.

Both the salad and fruit bites are great ideas for a potluck party!

Roasted Asparagus Salad with Arugula & Hazelnuts

Makes 4 servings, from www.rebeccakatz.com

Arugula Photo 04272016

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup hazelnuts
  • 2 bunches asparagus (about 2 pounds), tough ends snapped off and discarded, then peel tough parts if needed
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 4 cups loosely packed arugula

Directions
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet. Put them in the oven for 5 to 7 minutes as it preheats, until aromatic and browned. Transfer to a plate or, if you’d like to remove the skins for a more refined texture and appear- ance, wrap them in a towel and give them a good rub. The majority of the skins will come right off. Coarsely chop the hazelnuts.

Put the asparagus on the same baking sheet in a single layer. Drizzle with the 2 teaspoons of olive oil and generously sprinkle with salt. Toss gently to evenly coat the asparagus. Bake for 8 minutes, until just barely tender.

Put the lemon juice, the 2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and a few grinds of pepper in a small bowl and mix well with a small whisk.
Put the arugula in a large bowl. Drizzle with half of the dressing and toss until evenly coated. Mound the arugula on individual plates or a platter and arrange the asparagus on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing and sprinkle the hazelnuts on top.

Nutrition Facts: 172 kcals, 13 grams Total Fat, 0 mg Cholesterol, 10 mg Sodium, 604 mg Potassium, 12 grams Carbohydrates, 7 grams Protein, 6 grams Fiber
Variation: Substitute toasted pistachios or walnuts for the hazelnuts.

Strawberry & Brie Bites

Strawberry Brie Bites

Ingredients:

  • 12 small fresh strawberries, hulled
  • 12 fresh basil leaves
  • 3 ounces Brie cheese, cut into 12 small pieces (about 1/2by1inch)
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic glaze (see Tip)

Preparation
Thread a strawberry, basil leaf and piece of cheese onto each of 12 toothpicks. Drizzle with balsamic glaze just before serving.

Balsamic glaze is balsamic vinegar that’s cooked until it’s very thick. Look for it with other vinegars in well stocked supermarkets. Or make it yourself by boiling 1 cup balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan over medium/high heat until syrupy and reduced to about 1/4 cup, 10 to 14 minutes.

Nutrition Facts
132 kcals, 3 grams Total Fat, 7 mg Cholesterol, 49 mg Sodium, 478 mg Potassium, 25 grams Carbohydrates, 4 grams Protein, 7 grams Fiber