Spring Box Recipes

Spring marks a big shift in the food coming in the door, both in the farm box and from the garden. I find I need a revamp of the solid recipes I make weekly. These are some early spring mainstays that everyone likes.

We are just starting to get the earliest greens like sorrel and garlic mustard, as well as the last of the fall-dug roots like carrots and parsnips – both of which need spring-ified recipes because at this point we are all tired of stews and soups and pureed roots.

Lawn-gathered Salad

This salad is made entirely of greens and flowers we gathered from the lawn. It is more of a visual recipe. Violas and dandelions make up the bulk of the salad, with cameos by sorrel (sourness takes over if you use more than a small handful of leaves), garlic mustard, and chives. Because the greens are so young and tender, this salad benefits from a substantial dressing – usually something with avocado works really well. I’ve also used this cider-based dressing (if I have any left – it is sort of a late fall/wintery dressing, great on heavy greens like kale), which is sweet and can work well if you have more sorrel and garlic mustard in the mix.

Avocado dressing:

  • 1 medium ripe avocado
  • Juice of 1 large lemon or 2 small lemons
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Mash together or blend with a little water until desired consistency.


Classic Sorrel Sauce

First thing up in my garden is Sorrel. Three types: Garden Sorrel, French Sorrel, and ‘Profusion’ Sorrel – a cultivar from Richter’s herbs that is a slug bait: leaves grow so close together that moisture proliferates unless I harvest all the time. Here is a basic sorrel sauce for fish, potatoes, pretty much anything.

  • 1 cup crème fraîche
  • 2 cups packed sorrel leaves (4 ounces)—stemmed, leaves sliced into 1/3-inch strips
  • 1 tablespoon freshly-squeezed lemon juice
  • Salt
Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small saucepan, simmer the crème fraîche over moderately low heat until reduced to 1/2 cup, about 15 minutes. Stir in the sorrel leaves and lemon juice and simmer until the sorrel melts into the sauce, about 5 minutes. Season the sauce with salt and pepper and remove from the heat.

Another Green Sauce: Garlic Mustard Pesto

I made this just this week from small bunches I weeded from the flower beds – I used maybe 7 bunches which came to about 12 cups of herb once I cut off the roots and rinsed and spun the leaves. They were still small, the largest about quarter-sized, and very slightly tinged with purple.
  • 12 cups lightly packed garlic mustard leaves and tips, loosely chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • garlic clove
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon honey
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. In a blender, pulse the garlic, pine nuts and parmesan.
  2. Add the garlic mustard leaves (I left stems since they were so young).
  3. While blending, pour in the olive oil until smooth.
  4. Add salt, sugar, lemon juice and pulse until mixed.

Store in the refrigerator in glass, well sealed so it won’t flavor the other things in there. I like the glass containers with vacuum sealed snap-lids. Use on pasta, fish, as a dipping sauce or salad dressing base, on steamed or grilled vegetables, or on crusty toasts.


Tahini Carrots

This is a fresher-feeling recipe to use all those carrots, dug last November, that KEEP COMING!
  • 3 pounds carrots, peeled and sliced 1/2 inch thick on the bias
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Spread the carrots in a large steamer basket and steam until just tender, 5-6 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and let cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk the lemon juice with the tahini, olive oil and water until smooth. Whisk in the garlic and season with salt. Pour the dressing over the carrots, add the parsley and toss to coat. Serve.

Baked Parsnip Chips with Cashew Cream

My friend Karina’s cashew cream is unreal, so delicious. Start by making the cream, since the nuts need to soak.
For the cashew cream:
  • 1 cup raw cashews
  • 1/4 cup fresh water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 Tablespoons lemon (1 whole)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
Soak cashews in hot water to cover overnight or for 4 hours. Drain and place in a blender (I use the NutriBullet, which won’t handle more than 1 cup of cashews so if you are making a larger batch use a food processor) with the fresh water, salt, lemon, and vinegar. Blend until very smooth. Refrigerate until parsnips are ready.
For the parsnips:
  • 2 1/2 pounds parsnips, (or carrots) peeled, cut into 3 x 1/2 inch strips
  • 6 sprigs finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

Preheat oven to 450. Mix parsnips, rosemary, garlic, and oil on a rimmed baking sheet. Season with salt and pepper and toss to coat. Spread out in a single layer.

Roast for 10 minutes, turn parsnips and roast until tender and browned in spots, 10-15 more minutes. Sprinkle cumin over and season to taste with more salt, pepper and cumin if desired.

Serve with Cashew Cream.

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