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Central Standard

Spring-Inspired Recipes

With each season comes exciting seasonal produce – but now what? On today's Central Standard, how to give your go-to recipes a spring makeover with seasonal ingredients including peas, garlic scapes & herbs, to name a few.

We'll host a recipe exchange with local food writer Beth Bader, co-author of The Cleaner Plate Club: Real Food Your Kids Will Love and Shanita McAfee, Executive Chef and owner of catering-company turned restaurant opening later this month, Magnolia's Contemporary Southern Bistro.

Dandelion Salad with Shrimp and Warm Bacon Vinaigrette
From Shanita McAfee

  • 4 slices day old Farm to Market Grains Galore bread
  • 2 cloves sliced garlic
  • 6 oz. slab bacon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 bundles dandelion greens washed and torn
  • 1/2 cup red wine vinaigrette
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
  • 8 oz. roasted shrimp
  • 3 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Dice Grains Galore bread, then toss with 2 tb. olive oil, season with salt and pepper and bake in a preheated oven until golden brown
  2. In a large heavy bottom skillet add remaining olive oil and bacon, cook until it begins to brown and add garlic for the last minute of cooking time. Remove bacon and garlic with slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel. Make sure to reserve the reaming oil.
  3. Place cleaned greens in bowl or serving platter, top with croutons, bacon, and garlic.
  4. Add honey, mustard, and vinegar to the oil, pour over the greens and season with salt and pepper.
  5. Top with shrimp and serve

Asparagus and Potato Salad with Mint and Lemon Dressing
From Beth Bader

For the dressing:

  • Juice and zest of three lemons
  • 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard.
  • 1 tbsp. honey
  • 2 tbsp. white balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 cup walnut or almond oil
  • kosher salt and pepper to taste

For the salad:

  • 2 cups greens, divided for four plates (spring mix, or green and red leaf)
  • 3 tbs. chopped mint, blend with greens
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs
  • 1 lb. or asparagus
  • 1 lb. new potatoes (Ms. Bader loves the blue ones in this recipe)
  • feta cheese (optional)
  • coarse finishing salt, black pepper to taste

Wash and boil the potatoes, skin on, until tender. Remove from water, and chill for two hours. Blanch the asparagus for three minutes and shock in ice water to stop the cooking and set the color.
Whisk the dressing together. Chop the hard-boiled egg. Assemble each of the four plates with greens, two potatoes sliced lengthwise, 1/4 of the asparagus, 1/4 of the egg. Drizzle with the lemon-mint dressing. Finish with coarse sea salt and black pepper if desired. Sprinkle on 1 tbs. of feta. Serves 4-6. 

Pasta with Asparagus, Peas, Ham and Parmesan
From Shanita McAfee

  • 8 oz. linguine
  • 2-3 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb. asparagus (tough ends removed and cut into 1-inch pieces)
  • 1 1/2 white onion sliced
  • 3/4 cup half & half
  • 1/2 lb. Virginia ham
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen peas (thawing not necessary)
  • 1 tbsp. fresh chopped tarragon
  • 3/4 Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Cook linguine according to package instructions
  2. Heat olive oil over medium heat (careful not to overheat), add asparagus and cook until bright green, add onion (about 1 1/2 to 2 mins)
  3. Add half & half and bring to a boil, let it reduce for 5-7 mins
  4. Add ham, peas, tarragon, salt & pepper, cook until peas are tender and bright green
  5. Remove from heat on a serving platter, pour over the linguine and toss the parmesan cheese 

Grilled Flank Steak with Radish Chimichurri
From Beth Bader

2 lbs. flank steak


  • 1/2 cup dry red wine (Cabernet)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp. organic canola oil
  • Few grinds of pepper
  • Juice of 1 lemon plus zest
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed

Whisk marinade ingredients together and place in sturdy zip lock bag with the flank steak. Marinade at least two hours, up to overnight.
Radish Chimichurri:

  • 1/2 cup cilantro, packed leaves
  • 1/4 cup parsley, packed leaves
  • 1/4 cup mint, packed leaves
  • 20 small radishes, 1/2-1 inch diameter
  • 4 spring onions, white plus 1 inch of green, or use garlic scapes
  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/8-1/4 crushed red pepper

Chop the radishes and onions or garlic scapes finely. Chop herbs, add the radish and onion blend. Drizzle in oil and vinegar. Blend in salt and red pepper.
Remove steaks from marinade and discard marinade. Grill over direct heat to desired doneness, depending on the thickness of the steaks, about 6 minutes per side for a 1-1/2 inch thick steak for medium-rare. Let rest for 10 minutes.

Makes eight 4 oz. servings.

Steamed Asparagus with Lemon Butter and Parmesan Cheese
From Shanita McAfee

  • 1 lb. asparagus 
  • 6 oz. shaved Parmesan
  • 4 oz melted butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  1. Cut tough stems off asparagus
  2. Rinse and steam until al dente (about 3-5 mins)
  3. Drain and place on serving platter
  4. Drizzle with butter and toss in the Parmesan cheese and lemon zest, season with salt and pepper to taste

Mushrooms, Peas and Herbs for Spring
From Beth Bader

  • 1/2 lb. fresh mushrooms
  • 1 medium shallot, diced
  • 1/2 cup fresh shelled peas (or frozen)
  • 1/4 cup tarragon leaves
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 oz. cognac
  • 1 oz. parmesan (enough to grate over the top of the dish)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cooked linguine

Melt the butter in a skillet. Add the shallot and cook one minute. Add the mushrooms and cook another five minutes. Add the peas. Cook another 2 minutes. Add cognac, let liquid get absorbed, about another minute. Finish with salt, pepper, and the fresh tarragon. Toss with the pasta and grate the cheese over the top.