Simple recipes for spring |

Simple recipes for spring

Linda Marrone
Special to the Appeal

I don’t know if it’s just me, but it hasn’t seemed like a long winter. Maybe that’s because I wasn’t here for most of it.

Spring is so “in the air.” I’ve already picked a couple of daffodil bouquets, and have tulips and hyacinth poking out of the ground, so it won’t be long now before they are ready, too. I start looking at all the seed and plant catalogs, and I get the “I wants,” but my husband, Ralph, gets the “I don’t want to” plant and care for all of this.

After more than 30 years in the same spot, we are running out of room to put stuff, which is why I always want to opt for container gardening, but that involves a lot of hand watering. We usually compromise somewhere in the middle – except I don’t do weeds.

I’m getting ready to plant my herb garden in an old bread box. You could buy a few herbs in small containers and put them in a basket on your kitchen counter or in a window.

Talking to my friend, Brenda, from Smith & Smith farms in Dayton, they have already planted shelling peas, snap peas, beets, carrots, spinach, chard, leeks and onions, and will be planting potatoes this week. She said even if the potatoes come up and get a little frosted, they come back. They have also planted some hardy flowers in containers in a protected area, like geraniums, pansies and trailing greens.

Ralph and I went down to San Francisco for a couple of days for the Macy’s Flower Show. This year is Macy’s 60th annual show with a “Celebrate Italy” theme. It runs through April 22.

The first floor of Macy’s is decorated with flowers and is really something to see. They have a farmers market Tuesday and Saturday mornings that is one of the best I’ve ever been to.

The early spring rhubarb, asparagus and strawberries have been pretty good at our local markets.

With Easter and Mother’s Day coming up, here are a couple of recipes that I would like to share with you. This first one is for cupcakes, which I really like to make because they are so much easier to make and handle than a regular cake, and they are portable.

They would be a great addition to any brunch or picnic lunch.

Sunshine Buttermilk Cupcakes

6 T. butter

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla

1Ú2 teaspoon orange extract

11Ú2 teaspoon grated orange zest

11Ú2 teaspoon grated lemon zest

2 eggs

3Ú4 teaspoon baking soda

3Ú4 cup buttermilk

11Ú2 cup flour

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tin with 12 paper liners. Melt butter and stir in sugar, vanilla, orange extract, orange and lemon peel and eggs.

Add the baking soda in pinches, breaking up any lumps with your fingers. Stir thoroughly.

Stir in the buttermilk and flour until well blended. Spoon batter into tins filling each cup about two-thirds full.

Bake for 15 minutes or until cupcakes are springy and fully puffed. Cool on rack for 5 minutes then lift out the cupcakes and cool before frosting. Sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with your favorite butter-cream or cream-cheese frosting.

This next recipe came to me by way of a new health magazine called “Radius.” This recipe is from the “American Heart Association Quick and Easy Cookbook.”

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Rosemary

1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

8 ounces shitake or button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced

1 T. olive oil

1Ú2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

Freshly ground black pepper

Garlic powder

Preheat oven to 500. Place asparagus spears and mushrooms in large Zip-loc bag. Drizzle olive oil over mixture in bag; then add rosemary.

Seal bag and shake gently until asparagus and mushrooms are coated. Arrange asparagus and mushrooms in single layer on a baking sheet.

Season with salt and pepper to taste and, if desired, garlic powder. Bake about 10 minutes or until asparagus is tender crisp.

• Linda Marrone has been a Carson City resident since 1973 and together with her husband, Ralph, formerly operated Marrone’s Restaurant in Carson City and Somethin’s Cookin’ Catering.