Jill's Picks - Recipes for Spring

Welcome to my new occasional themed post: Jill's Picks. In these posts, I'll compile a few recipes, restaurants, travel spots, and the like that are inspiring me right now.

Spring flavors have been inspiring almost all my cooking as of late. Lemon, spring greens like arugula, spring vegetables like asparagus and peas, and fresh herbs have all found their way into my meals. These recipes are my favorites that capture the essence of the spring season.


Polenta Gnocchi with Herbed Peas
Instead of making the gnocchi with the traditional potato, these are made with cornmeal. Once the polenta is cooked, it is mounded into a baking dish and topped with peas that are mixed with fresh herbs and creme fraiche. An elegant meal, perfect for entertaining.

Grilled Asparagus with Spring Spaghetti
The grilled asparagus and spaghetti is tossed in a olive oil sauce spiced with garlic, lemon, hot pepper flakes, and plenty of fresh parley. Top with pine nuts for a little crunch.

Garlic Scape Soup
Made from the early green shoots of garlic, this soup has a smooth garlic flavor without being too pungent. Garlic scapes are only in season for a few weeks during the spring, so buy them up when you see them!

Simply Scrumptious Spring Soup
This soup also makes use of garlic scapes as well as some of the other spring greens like bok choy and yukina savoy. The addition of fresh cilantro keeps the flavors bright, and the potato and lentils make it hearty enough for a rainy day.

Peas, Leeks, and Arugula with Herbed Goat Cheese
The sweetness of the peas and leeks blend well with the bitterness of the arugula. The sourness of the goat cheese balances the whole dish letting the cilantro bring in the freshness of spring at the end of each bite.

Wheat Berry Arugula Salad
The bitter arugula and celery balance the sweetness of the raisins and the apple juice while the wheat berries and almonds provide a crunchy heartiness to any otherwise light salad.

Cheer Up Brownies
On cold, rainy (or snowy) spring days, these are your best friend. Not too sweet, but sweet enough, the chunks of chocolate transport me to a happy place. Oh, and these are gluten-free and vegan.

Lemon Blackberry Panna Cotta
This make-ahead dessert is an impressive ending to any dinner party. I love the intense lemon flavor and the meltingly sweet blackberries in this creamy custard. No one will guess it's vegan.

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