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Spring Cleaning, The Kitchen Pantry & A Spring Panzanella by Kelly Sears

Warmer weather inspires us to open the windows, regroup, reorganize, and recharge. We tackle our closets, the garage, the basement, but what about the kitchen? Your pantry shouldn’t be the resting place where half-used ingredients go to dry out. Nor the burial grounds for sad old jars of condiments, never used spices, or tubes of one-use exotic pastes. What’s in your cupboards and pantry should be the bones of your cooking, the essential equipment, tools, and ingredients that you really need and use.

Spring-cleaning isn’t just about cleaning out crumbs, scrubbing the stove, or tossing those suspicious containers lurking long past their expiration date. It’s about matching spring fresh ingredients to the appropriate cooking equipment, tools, and essentials.  It may be time for the Dutch oven to go down a shelf as long-cooked stews and braises that we love so much in the winter make way for lighter fare. Taking center stage, the Sauté pan, perfect for spring fresh vegetables tossed in a bit of olive oil, or for cooking up a light cheese and herb frittata. Bright colored ramekins, ready to bake off a strawberry rhubarb crisp, can make a favorite springtime dessert pop.

Think of your cupboard as your basic cooking wardrobe. New salt and herb blends, good solid balsamic vinegar and olive oil, French mustard and fresh jams combined with spring’s fresh ingredients provide the dynamic accessories that highlight the season, provide color and texture, and give you the tools make a dish your own.

sping panzanella salad

Spring Panzanella Salad with Asparagus and Egg
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Ingredients
  1. 12 ounces ciabatta or other thick stale country bread, torn into bite-size pieces
  2. Olive oil and salt
Dressing
  1. 2 oz. lemon juice
  2. 1 T. white wine vinegar
  3. 1 T. ground sumac
  4. 2 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 4 oz. extra-virgin olive oil
  6. Salt and pepper to taste
  7. 2 T. chopped thyme
  8. 1⁄2 t. cayenne
  9. 2 t. sugar
Vegetables
  1. Green onions, chopped
  2. Flat leaf parsley
  3. Chopped mint
  4. 6 roma tomatoes, seeded, cut into medium dice
  5. 1 seedless cucumber, peeled and cut into medium dice
  6. 4 radishes, sliced thin, then halved
  7. 1 yellow pepper, seeded and cut into small dice
  8. 12 Roasted Asparagus Spears
  9. 4-6 Eggs, hard boiled or poached
Instructions
  1. Cut ciabatta bread into small wedges, toss with the oil, salt, and black pepper, bake on a sheet pan in a 300-degree oven for about 15 minutes, turning halfway through the baking.
  2. Combine the dressing ingredients thoroughly and adjust seasoning if necessary. Reserve.
  3. Combine the vegetables with the dressing and toss until coated. Fold in the ciabatta bread. If poaching eggs, rest on top of salads once plated, if hard boiling sprinkle over salad once tossed.
  4. Adjust with salt and pepper
Marcel's Culinary Experience https://www.marcelsculinaryexperience.com/

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