A Spring Equinox Feast: Recipes for a Healthy Season
Spring is almost here! On March 20th, the northern hemisphere will welcome the Spring of 2010 into the world and many of us will celebrate the Spring equinox to recognize the change of seasons. Why not throw a dinner party to herald the return of green to nature? These recipes are all healthy, delicious and take the best of winter and combine it with the new flavors of Spring.
Flax and Sunflower Seed Bread
This recipe for a whole grain bread includes the extra protein and minerals found in seeds- nature’s powerhouse foods. Seeds are what we plant in Spring to get our gardens started, so this bread honors the growth to come by including them in the bread.
- 2 cups water
- 2 tablespoons butter, softened, or 1/4 cup oil
- 6 tablespoons honey
- 2 1/2 cups bread flour
- 2 1/2 cups whole wheat bread flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 2 1/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup flax seeds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1. Warm 2 cups of water with 6 tbsp of honey dissolved in it. then sprinkle 2 1/4 tsp of yeast and let proof for 10 minutes.
2. Then add 1/4 cup of oil and 1 1/2 tsp salt. Add all your flour and seeds. Knead well.
3. Let rise in a oiled bowl for 1 hour, punch down and divide into 2 loaves then let rise again for 45 minutes.
4. Bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Provencal Greens Soup
This recipe from the New York Times brings together some pretty simple ingredients for a cleansing, tasty soup that’s on the lighter side. Of French origin, this is the perfect bowl to celebrate Spring while still keeping the early season chill out.
2 leeks, cut in half length-wise, sliced, rinsed of dirt and drained on paper towels
4 garlic cloves, sliced
6 cups chopped greens (leaves only), such as Swiss chard, dandelion greens, watercress and beet greens
1 1/2 quarts water
Salt, preferably kosher salt, to taste
Freshly ground pepper to taste
2 large eggs
4 thick slices country bread (like the recipe above), toasted and rubbed with a cut clove of garlic
Grated Parmesan for serving (optional)
1. Heat one tablespoon of the olive oil in a large, heavy soup pot over medium heat, and add the leeks. Cook, stirring, until tender, three to five minutes. Add the garlic and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cook, stirring, until the garlic is fragrant, about one minute. Add the greens, and stir until they begin to wilt. Add the water and salt to taste, and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, until the greens are very tender and the broth sweet. Add pepper, and taste and adjust seasoning.
2. Beat the eggs in a bowl. Making sure that the soup is not boiling, whisk a ladle of it into the beaten eggs. Take the soup off the heat, and stir in the tempered eggs. Brush the garlic croutons with olive oil, and place one or two in each bowl. Ladle in the soup, sprinkle on some Parmesan if desired and serve.
Rustic Pear Tart
This recipe from The Food Network makes a delicious and not-too-sweet ending to a simple meal filled with fresh greens and hearty seeds.
- 1/2 cup whole-grain pastry flour or regular whole wheat flour
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons granulated sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 4 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
- 2 tablespoons lowfat buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons icewater
- 3 medium pears
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1/4 teaspoon boiling water
To prepare the crust, in a medium bowl whisk together the whole-wheat pastry flour, all- purpose flour, granulated sugar and salt. Add the butter and using two knives or a pastry cutter, cut the butter into the flour mixture until you get a pebbly, course texture. In a small bowl combine the buttermilk and ice water. Using a fork, gradually mix the buttermilk mixture into the flour mixture. Pat the dough into a 4-inch round and wrap in plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
In the meantime, preheat the oven to 425 degrees F, and prepare the filling. Peel the pears, core them and cut into 1/4-inch slices. In a large bowl toss the pear slices with the lemon juice. Sprinkle in the cornstarch, brown sugar and cinnamon and toss until the pears are evenly coated. Set aside.
On a lightly floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a large circle about 9 inches in diameter. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and draping the dough over the rolling pin, transfer to the prepared baking sheet. If the dough breaks at all patch it up with your fingers.
Arrange the pears in a mound in the center of the dough, leaving a 2-inch boarder. Fold the border over the filling. It will only cover the pears partially and does not need to be even.
Bake the tart for 15 minutes, and then reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees F, keeping the tart in the oven all the while, and bake for another 40 minutes, until the pears are tender and the crust is golden brown.
In a small bowl stir together the honey and boiling water to make a glaze. When the tart is done remove it from the oven and brush the honey glaze all over the top of the fruit and crust. Transfer to a plate to cool slightly. Cut into 6 wedges and serve warm or a room temperature.