Share Spring

SPRING brings beautiful flowers, buds on the ttrees and, one of my favorite things as a chef, spring vegetable shares! As Rochesterians, we are lucky to have so many Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs. (Read more about these programs on page 15.) Spring shares typically include lots of leafy greens such as butter lettuce, romaine and kale. Let’s not forget yummy radishes, mild leeks, wintered carrots and fresh herbs like chives and green onions. With Mother’s Day fast approaching why not use these delectable delights to host a brunch?

Along with a fresh fruit and artisanal cheese platter, serve buttery croissants or warm biscuits with a variety of select jams. I love making a simple light salad with a flavorful dressing. I can’t think of a better way to use those beautiful leeks from your CSA share than to feature them in a mouth-watering quiche.

So I can indulge in eating a warm buttery biscuit (and not have to spend an extra hour on the treadmill) I make my quiche with a sweet potato crust. I serve this with a salad made with romaine, butter and leaf lettuce topped with thinly sliced radishes and carrots. A fresh chive and buttermilk dressing is perfect to complement these delicate greens.

A “make your own Bloody Mary” bar is a fun and easy way for your guests to help themselves to a cocktail. Start with one or two good quality bottles of vodka or tequila (which is called a Bloody Rita by the way). If you are looking for a good pre-made mix,“Mr. and Mrs. T’s” and “Tabasco” are bloody good choices (pun intended). My personal favorite is Campbell’s Tomato juice and Stuarts Spices Homemade Blood Mary Mix. Now for the fun part. The garnishes! Celery sticks, horseradish and a selection of hot sauces for your spice-loving guests are a must. Next, with a selection of olives, pickles and marinated peppers, salamis, pepperoni, and a variety of cheeses, guests can fill a skewer or fancy cocktail pick with all their favorites.

I hope you enjoy these recipes, tips and tricks of the trade. May you enjoy all the wonderful and delish things this spring has to offer.


Sweet Potato Crusted Quiche with Havarti and Leeks {Gluten-Free}

For the Filling:

• 1 leek, white and green parts washed and thinly sliced

• 4 slices of thick cut bacon sliced into ½ inch strips

• 2 tablespoons butter

• 8 eggs

• 1/2 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

• 1/4 cup full-fat coconut milk (or heavy cream)

• 4 oz of Havarti cheese shredded

For the Crust:

• 2 large sweet potatoes (about 2 lbs), peeled and grated on a large-holed box grater

• 2 teaspoons salt

• 1 teaspoon pepper

• pinch crushed red pepper flakes

• 1 egg


• Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.

• Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-inch glass pie pan with cooking spray.

• Place the grated sweet potatoes in a large piece of cheesecloth or a clean kitchen towel. Gather corners together and squeeze out any moisture.

• In a medium bowl, whisk together 1 egg, 2 teaspoons salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper & a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes. Add the squeezed sweet potatoes and mix to totally combine. Press the sweet potato mixture into the bottom and up the sides of the prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and allow to cool slightly, about 10 minutes. • Turn oven down to 350 degrees F.

• Meanwhile, in a sauté pan cook bacon over medium high heat until crisp. Remove bacon and place on paper towels to drain excess grease. Clean out pan and again, over medium heat, add butter and the leeks, along with a pinch of salt and pepper and cook until softened, about 6-8 minutes. Let cool slightly before adding to the egg mixture.

• For the egg mixture, whisk together the eggs, salt, pepper, and coconut milk or cream until totally smooth. Add the cooled leeks and bacon and 1/2 the Havarti cheese. Stir to combine. Pour the filling into the prepared crust. Sprinkle the rest of the Havarti cheese on top.

• Bake 30 minutes, until the center is mostly set. Allow to rest 20 minutes before serving.

• Yields 6 servings, 337 calories per serving.

Creamy Chive Dressing Directions

• 1-1/2 teaspoons salt (to taste)

• 1-1/2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper

• 1 pinch cayenne

• ¼ cup fresh chives, chopped 10 spring 2016 11

• 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

• ¼ cup buttermilk

• 2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

• 1 cup sour cream

• 1/2 cup mayonnaise

In a bowl, whisk together buttermilk, lemon juice, vinegar, sour cream mayonnaise, salt, pepper, and cayenne until smooth and stir in chives. Dressing yields 2 cups and can be stored in an air tight jar for up to 2 weeks. Yields 12 servings, 175 calories per serving.