The spring equinox is this Thursday, March 19, which means the Northern Hemisphere is ready to provide humans with food once again. It's time to detox and start re-centering fresh foods. To get a handle on all this newly emerging green stuff, SFR called up Gayle Ice of Ice's Organic Farm, who, with her husband Ron, recently won the Organic Farmer of the Year accolade from the New Mexico Organic Farming Conference. She shared some seasonal updates from the farm, along with some tips to bring spring into your home.
"Right now, what we have in the ground so far are sugar snap peas, and those'll come in in June," Ice explains. "We've got garlic…we have a few onions, and we have a few herbs that'll be coming in, too."
Ice also says Spring dining is as much about the setting as it is the food.
"We do a whole lot of flowers… the daffodils are already up, they aren't blooming yet but they're already up, and they'll be blooming in the next couple of weeks," she says. "On the table, you want to have flowers,"
Ice is getting ready to start the later-season vegetables, like tomatoes and chile, in her greenhouses next week. She'll be ready to bring things like garlic, onions and the daffodils to the Santa Fe Farmers Market the first week of May.
Some things, like greens, are a little more tolerant of the cold and can grow in greenhouses or hoop-houses early on. Of course, nature starts providing greens of her own, too; here are some recipes to include in your next meal plans, to get your body in line with the changing seasons. The Santa Fe Farmers Market has a handy guide to what's in season on its website; check it out at santafefarmersmarket.com.
Dandelion green potatoes
Dandelions are one of the first things to pop up in spring, and they're not a weed: herbal medicine prescribes dandelion for liver cleansing, and there's promising, early medical research showing its usefulness in treating diabetes. Of course, salad aficionados already prize dandelion greens for their tangy bitterness and spring mornings are still chilly and call for a hot bowl of fried potatoes, spinach and dandelion greens. Add a fried egg on top if you're into that.
- 3 tablespoons oil (vegetable or canola for crispy potatoes)
- ½ pound potatoes, cut into ½ chunks (Yukon gold, especially baby are best, and seasonal)
- ½ white onion
- 1 clove garlic
- 4 oz spinach
- 4 oz dandelion greens
- Roasted green chile (optional)
- Heat oil on medium-high heat. Rinse potatoes; if you plan on using a starchy potato like a russet, it’s best to soak them overnight to remove starch and pat-dry before frying.
- Add potatoes to pan; leave to sit 2-3 minutes before turning.
- Bring a pot of water to a gentle boil to blanche dandelion greens.
- After about 15 minutes, add onion and green chile; stir.
- When onions are just starting to get translucent, put dandelion greens in boiling water for about a minute; rinse in cold water and pat dry.
- Add garlic and about half of the spinach to the pan; when it’s wilted, add the other half. When that’s wilted, add half of dandelion greens, wilt and add other half. Serve hot when last added greens are just wilted.
Radish, watercress and sprouts tea sandwiches
Light, easy and green like spring, these sandwiches come together easy with beautiful layers and are like a spring shower, but for inside your body. Radishes are one of the first root vegetables to come into season and give these sandwiches a dose of flavor with some crunch. Serve these at your first tea on the patio with some crudite and lemon cookies and your guests will be like, "Ohmygod, Martha, this is your year."
- 12 slices thinly sliced white sandwich bread
- 3 radishes, thinly sliced
- ½ cup watercress,
- ½ cup sprouts (any kind)
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- Apply a very thin layer of mayonnaise to six slices of bread.
- Arrange radish slices on top of mayonnaise, followed by thin portions of sprouts and watercress.
- Add top layer of bread and slice diagonally. Garnish with extra sprigs of watercress or sprouts. Plate in a cute manner to impress; shoo curious cats while waiting for guests.