Spring Clean Your Supper: Ideas and Recipes from the Shine Supper Club
April's Supper Club was all about spring cleaning the way we eat. When we elbow hearty braises, root vegetables, and comfort food out of the way, what bright spring goodness takes its place? Personally, I'm obsessed with rhubarb these days, but y'all had great ideas to freshen up the dinner table on a nightly basis.
Keep it simple. Ingrid of The Cozy Apron likes to pair the freshest seasonal vegetables of the season with big, gutsy flavors. She keeps the number of ingredients in her dishes down by buying fewer, better quality ingredients: "Good vinegars, citrus, fresh herbs, quality oils and seasonings can make a big difference in taking something "simple" to the next level." Here, she throws together a salad of crisp baby bok choy and carrots with a bright, bold sesame-soy vinaigrette. Get the recipe.
Make a salad with staying-power. When spring starts to get busy with an intense training schedule, Dessert by Candy turns to this hearty grain salad, easy enough to throw together "while I become one with the couch in the evening." This recipe featuring quinoa, black rice, mushrooms, and a lemon quinoa dressing is the picture of health--avocado keeps it luscious. Get the recipe.
Mix a better wine spritzer. "This is not your convenience store aisle wine cooler! (put down that bottle of"hard lemonade" now!)," writes In Foodie Fashion. She stirs together Riesling, muddled sage, and lemon, and tops the whole thing off with ginger beer. Sounds like the perfect spring happy hour to us. Get the recipe.
Brighten everything. Shine writer Piper Weiss likes to add lemon zest to every dish in spring to give it that bright kick. Add lemon zest to pasta, salad dressings, fresh-cooked veggies, or make a quick gremolata to top pork chops or chicken breasts. Piper added via tweet: "also love a stinky cheese plate w figs this time o'year." We say: stinky cheese sounds right any time ole time o' year.
Make healthy choices irresistible. Snacking on fruit gets lovelier in the spring, but Because of Madalene makes it even more special with maple cinnamon and honey vanilla yogurt dips. Get the recipes.
Find your perfect spring menu. There's something to be said for stalwart recipes that can be counted on again and again. Our friends at Food Network suggested a dish with three kinds of spring peas, Giada's lamb ragu with mint, and lemon bars for a sweet tart finish. Get the recipes.
Upgrade your convenience foods. For a quick spring-cleaned dinner, Lily Marie turns to Velveeta Skillets and boxes of Zatarains but switches up the package directions. Instead of adding meat, she subs in beans and fresh veggies for a lighter--but still super fast--weeknight dinner. Smart! Get the recipe.
Make healthier takeout.Sarah Lipoff lightens what would be a heavy meal (and saves big on the cost of Chinese delivery) by whipping up her own version of orange chicken with fresh juice and zest. (Also be sure to check out her irresistible-looking spring soup with roasted celery, leeks, and green lentils!) Get the recipe.
Cook up a quick pasta salad. This pasta salad from D.M.R. Fine Foods is equal parts pleasure and practicality. Quick-cooking pasta and frozen shrimp bring this dinner together fast, but it's simplicity is also one of its selling points: "This recipe is simple, yet it offers the best of flavors we love, especially as the days become longer and lighter fare is in order. " We couldn't agree more. Get the recipe.
Embrace the ephemeral. Spring comes and goes in a flash with a cast of produce characters that vanishes just as quickly. Enjoy the brevity of spring with dishes that celebrate the stars of the season. Oregon Pinot Kitchen builds a salad around sweet, tender pea shoots; her dining companion remarked it was the best salad he ever had. Get the recipe.
How else do you spring clean your supper? Tell us in the comments!
And be sure to check back at the Shine Supper Club tomorrow for our announcement of May's theme. Hope you'll join us!