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Keep it Fresh with these Spring Cooking Ideas (Plus a Bonus Recipe!)

Spring has sprung and thus our cooking styles have changed. Say goodbye to the thick, hearty meals we enjoy in the fall and winter seasons and say hello to the lighter, fresher fare of spring! So what makes a dish more “springy?” Typically spring cooking is lighter and very colorful! Here are some tips to help you add a springtime flare to your cooking at home!

  • Keep it Fresh – Lots of fruits and vegetables will be coming into season during the coming months so take advantage!
  • Get Colorful – The beautiful colors of spring can easily transfer into your cooking. Add fruits and vegetables with bright colors to your dishes to give them a springtime feel.
  • Stay Light – After months of hearty winter meals, now its time to get light (and I’m not just talking about losing our winter insulation!) Use lighter oils and glazes instead of thick sauces. Try using a protein like fish instead of London broil.
  • Keep your Cool – Now that its warm outside we can start making cooler meals (temperature wise that is!) Try making pasta or couscous salads and mix in fruits for a fresh springtime taste.
  • Lots of Veges – Start your meal off with a fresh salad and accompany your main course with lots of roasted vegetables!

Spring is all about growth and rebirth. Spring clean your diet and start cooking with a fresh new perspective! To give you a head start try out this recipe we would like to share with you. Not interested in cooking anything? Have your next office meeting or event catered by That Personal Touch Catering! Check out some of our spring specials here.

 Roasted Asparagus Salad

  • 1/4 pound of fresh asparagus
  • 2 Red bell peppers
  • 1/3 cup virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons of pine nuts
  • ¼ cup of sliced grape tomatoes
  • 2 cups of spring mix salad greens

Slice the red peppers in half lengthwise, removing the seeds and the membrane. Place peppers skin up on a sheet pan and place under a hot broiler until the skin blackens and blisters.  Cool peppers in a plastic bag for 10 minutes.  Carefully remove skin and dice peppers. Place lemon juice, garlic, olive oil and basil in a small bowl and wisk to combine.  Add diced peppers and pine nuts, season with salt and pepper. Wash and rinse asparagus, carefully remove the woody end (hold each spear at both ends and bend gently-the woody end will snap off at its natural breaking point.)  Blanch the asparagus in boiling water for 3 minutes, or until just tender.  Immediately drain asparagus and place in a bowl of ice water to cool.  Drain again, and pat dry with paper towels. Arrange spring mix on plate, garnish with sliced grape tomatoes.  Place asparagus over spring mix and gently spoon the dressing over the top of the asparagus and serve. Garnish options: sliced black olives or lemon wedges for squeezing.

September Garden Veggie Deep Dish Pizza Party

It may be September but there are lots of delicious vegetables that are still in season like peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, mushrooms, and onions. You know what those vegetables sound like? Pizza toppings! When it comes to pizza, everyone’s favorite is usually thin crust. The light, crispy thin crust, sweet tomato sauce, and thin layer of cheese is just so delicious. But what about deep dish? This underrated style of pizza seems to be popular nowhere but Chicago. Until now… Check out this fantastic deep dish pizza you can make at home in your cast iron skillet using all those delicious seasonal vegetables. What you need:

  • 1 Pizza Dough – You can buy premade dough at most any grocery store. If you want the challenge of making your own dough, check out this dough recipe.
  • ½ Cup of Pizza Sauce – Pizza sauce can be anything from standard marinara to one of my favorites, arrabbiata (spicy!) Do you like white sauce or oil? Experiment and let us know how it goes!
  • At least a Cup of Veggies – Use up those tasty in season veggies like eggplant, fresh tomatoes, and a green pepper.
  • At least a ½ Cup of Mozzarella Cheese – You can cheese this to the max if you want (I usually do) otherwise, use at least ½ a cup.
  • Olive Oil – For coating the skillet (You’ll also need a cast iron skillet!)
  • You can also add seasonings, Parmesan cheese, basil or whatever you fancy!

Istruzione:

  • Cook the veggies however you’d like. I’d suggest roasted them in the oven (since you’ll have to use that anyway) or try grilling them to give them that smoky charred flavor.
  • Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
  • Use olive oil to coat your cast iron skillet. You can also rub a garlic clove around to add some more flavor.
  • Add your dough to the skillet and push it up the sides about 1-1.5 inches.
  • Sprinkle in your cheese. (Oh yeah, cheese first with deep dish!) Then add your veggies and top with the sauce. You can put some cheese on top and add seasonings and/or Parmesan.
  • Bake for about 25-30 minutes. (Adjusting for altitude it may take 30+minutes) Basically you are looking for a golden brown crust and bubbly cheese and sauce.

Let it cool for a few minutes and then enjoy. Deep dish is hearty so don’t expect to eat it all, even though you’ll want to. Don’t feel like cooking? That Personal Touch Catering will cater your events at home or work. Check out our catering menu here.

Light and Lively Dishes for Your Spring Wedding or Event

Spring is here and we are ready for it in the kitchen. We have assembled some delicious ideas for your Springtime wedding, party or event! Let us know what you think and if you’d prefer to have someone else do the cooking, give us a call! Check out some ‘Springy’ meals on our main menu here or see our current specials here.

Now, let’s begin with Appetizers! Our pick: Cucumber Tomato Bites Far from tame, these tasty mouthfuls combine cream cheese, mayo, and ranch seasoning to create a pillow of ectasy between the sublime cucumber and the cherry tomato topping.Hint: Don’t spoon the cream cheese mixture onto the cucumber. Use a pastry bag. Weddings are the time to take the presentation up a notch. Click here for the recipe: http://www.karaspartyideas.com/2013/11/cucumber-tomato-bites-appetizer-recipe.html

Next up, Salads Our pick: Spring Salad with Orange Vinaigrette This is unique and filling, yet won’t slow your guests down on the dance floor. Take the zest and juice from in season oranges, add a nutty Jarlsberg cheese, crunchy bacon pieces and hardy walnuts for texture. Even your relatives who only consider potato salad a “real salad” will be clamoring for seconds. Get the full recipe and instructions here: http://dineanddish.net/2012/01/the-runners-diet-recipe-spring-salad-with-orange-vinaigrette/

We’re almost there: Sides Our pick: Greek Orzo Salad Orzo, or by another more exotic name, Risoni, is like a blank canvas before Van Gogh got his hands on it. It is a mere brushstrokes, or in our case, ingredients from becoming spectacular. The cooled orzo is punctuated by crunch red pepper, red onion, and cucumber but softened by spinach and artichoke hearts. Uncover the recipe here: https://veganadventures.squarespace.com/blog/greek-orzo-salad

Where’s the beef? Mains Our pick: Garlic Lime Chicken with a Mango SalsaChicken is a mainstay because of its versatility and people pleasing potential. Why mess with perfection? Your guests will love the colors and kick of the lime and mangoes.

Take it from a bride: Use chicken thighs. They don’t dry out as easy as chicken breasts. Another tip? Add grilled pineapple and keep an assortment of hot sauces on your guests table. Nothing breaks the ice like a challenge to the rest of the table to see who can stand the heat. Full recipe here: http://www.food.com/recipe/garlic-lime-grilled-chicken-with-mango-salsa-161381Fresh, springtime, light and refreshing, no matter the adjective used, these springy menu options are packed with veggies, fruits and plenty of flavor.