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Simple spring brunch

Apr 3rd, 2012 | Category: Cooking

by Tina Hoban

The sun has begun to make a more frequent appearance here in the Northwest and, luckily for us, nature is taking her cue and offering us the first edibles of spring. Everything seems to be again coming to life and growing more vibrant. Even the yolks in our chickens’ eggs are changing, becoming darker and richer as they eat more bugs and plants.

Asparagus with lemon butter and proscuitto, and eggs on bed of greens. PHOTO BY TINA HOBAN

I have been watching my patch of rhubarb emerge from the ground just outside my front door. Its rapid growth has always amazed me as it unfurls its enormous leaves. My daughters look forward to cutting the young stalks and chewing on them plain. As for me, I’ll take mine baked into something yummy, like a rhubarb coffee cake.

I always seem to think about brunch in the spring, although I am not sure why.  Something about the quality of the light as our days grow longer make me more willing (and able) to coax friends out for a mid-day get together.  Or maybe the sight of asparagus, rhubarb and fresh greens simply inspire. Whatever the reason, this menu makes full use of what is plentiful in early spring.

The recipes will feed six, but can easily be adjusted to serve more or less. So go ahead, and invite some friends over, or just treat yourself to a seasonal spread.

Tina Hoban is the owner of Scratch Desserts and an avid recipe developer.  She runs a small scale farm near Ferndale with her husband, Ed.

Asparagus with Lemon Butter and Prosciutto

6 Tablespoons melted butter
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
2 lb. fresh asparagus
4 oz. thinly sliced prosciutto (Italian style cured ham)

Melt the butter, lemon juice and zest over low heat.  Keep warm.
Trim any tough ends off of the asparagus stalks.  Steam or blanch the stalks for 2 to 3 minutes, or until cooked, but still crisp.  Gently toss the asparagus with the lemon butter.  Top each serving with a slice of prosciutto.

Soft Scrambled Eggs on a Bed of Greens

Serves 4 to 6
12 large eggs
2 tablespoons butter
3 – 4 tablespoons minced fresh herbs (I used chives and tarragon)
3 oz. fresh goat cheese
– salt and pepper
4 cups loosely packed arugula (or seasonal fresh greens)

Whisk eggs in a medium bowl.
Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Pour the eggs into the pan and sprinkle the herbs on top. Cook the eggs, stirring frequently, until they are partially cooked. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add the goat cheese in small chunks. Stir the mixture until just cooked through – do not overcook.
Arrange the greens on a platter, or individual serving plate and top with the hot eggs. Serve immediately.

Rhubarb Coffee Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups sour cream
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 oz. butter, melted
2 cups sliced rhubarb stalk (cut into 1/2” pieces)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 9” x 13” baking pan.
Stir together the flour, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl.
In a large bowl, stir together the sour cream, brown sugar, eggs, vanilla and butter.  Gently stir in the dry ingredients, then the rhubarb until evenly mixed.  Do not over-stir or the cake will be tough.
Spread the batter into the baking pan. Mix together the 1/4 cup sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Published in the April 2012 issue of Grow Northwest magazine.

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