Friday, March 19, 2010

We Deserve This Beautiful Day

If you live in the Mid-Atlantic region you deserve the absolutely beautiful weather we've been having this week - sunny and seventy - ahhhhh! I'm finally defrosted after the winter. Spring is right around the corner, and when I think of spring I think of yellow.

And when I think about yellow, I think about lemons - Meyer Lemons! Today is all about the Meyer Lemon - those beautifully bright yellow lemons scented with a lovely bouquet of flowers. Some say they are a hybrid of lemons and mandarins, others debate that marriage. I say they are delicious and the perfect food to help usher in the beginning of spring.

For dinner tonight I made both a vegetarian main course salad and a dessert using Meyer Lemons. The salad is a Farro, Asparagus, Beet and Goat Cheese Salad with a Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette. Farro is an ancient whole grain similar to spelt - if you have trouble finding farro you can substitute spelt or barley, or even brown rice. We love farro for it's chewy and nutty flavor.

8 ounces farro cooked according to package directions, cooled
1 pound of asparagus, cut into 2 inch pieces
Olive oil for sauteing
1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
1 large roasted red beet, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
2 Meyer lemons, zested and juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
Salt and Pepper
2 cups arugula

Heat about 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a saute pan, add the asparagus and toss with the oil. Keep the heat high to saute quickly - about 2 minutes, until cooked but crunchy. Cool. Combine the farro, asparagus, almonds, lemon zest and cheese. Toss to combine.

Make the dressing by combining the lemon juice and olive oil. I use this cool little mixer I picked up on a trip to Italy to mix dressings - Europeans have some of the coolest kitchen gadgets. Add the dressing to the salad ingredients and toss to coat.

Line your serving plate with a bed of arugula, top with the farro salad, and then top the salad with the diced beets - it is lemony delicious.

For dessert I made this lovely, light Meyer Lemon Budino - a budino is a pudding in Italian. This recipe is so easy to make and even more delicious to eat. When it first came out of the oven it was an inch over the ramekin. Enjoy your weekend and this lovely weather!

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