Dip Into Spring

It’s been busy around here lately. Work is crazy and the house is often messy. And all of those grey skies make me sleepy and lazy.

But spring is on its way, despite the softening white snow still on the ground. Things are starting to get muddy and balmy breezes blow through on occasion. No flowers are up yet, but I’m salivating over the Baker Creek Seed Catalog, which is chock full of heirloom beauties I covet but have no room to plant.

So here are a few spring-like, but still hot and rich dishes for that in-between time when it’s still raw and blustery and cold out.

Baked Spaghetti Squash Carbonara with Peas

spaghetti squash carbonara with place settings

I love spaghetti carbonara, but whenever I try to make it at home, I always end up curdling the eggs. So a baked recipe, and one that cut the calories a teensy bit with spaghetti squash? Awesome. Here is the original recipe, which I followed almost verbatim, except for the peas and a splash of cream. This rich dish needs the bright greenness of the peas to balance it out a bit. You’ll definitely want to use all of the bacon, but feel free to cut this recipe in half, as it makes quite a lot.

1 large or 2 small spaghetti squashes
10 slices bacon
1 small yellow onion, diced (you can use scallions and/or chives if you like)
4 large eggs
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan or any other aged salty Italian cheese
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 cup frozen green peas

Pierce the squashes and bake at 375 F until squashes are tender. Cut in half, scoop out the seeds, and scrape out the strings.

Put bacon on a sheet pan and place in the oven at 375 F and bake until crisp. Pour off the fat (save it for beans and fried eggs) and cut the bacon into thin strips crosswise.

In a large baking dish, whisk the eggs, ricotta, Parmesan, salt, and pepper together. Add the spaghetti squash, onion, bacon, and peas and mix thoroughly. Top with additional cheese if desired.

Put the dish in the still-hot oven and bake for 40-50 minutes or until set and golden brown on top.

Serve hot in small servings. This stuff is delicious, but rather rich.

Baked Spinach, Sorrel, and Avocado Yogurt Dip

sorrel spinach avocado dip

I bought some delicious-looking local, red-veined sorrel at the grocery store the other day. If you’ve never had sorrel before, it’s a lovely dark green with a distinctly lemony flavor. I also had a couple avocados that were at that perfect level of ripeness where you just have to use them before they go bad. With some frozen spinach and some plain lowfat yogurt, this dish was born.

1 package frozen spinach, 8 oz.
1 package sorrel, appx. 8 oz.
2 very ripe avocados
appx. 2 cups plain lowfat yogurt
4 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

Thaw the spinach in the microwave and squeeze dry. Snip with kitchen scissors into a baking dish.

Snip the sorrel and cook with a little water in the microwave. Squeeze dry and add to baking dish.

Put avocados, yogurt, garlic, and salt into a food chopper, processor, or blender and process until smooth. Add to baking dish with 1 cup mozzarella and stir/fold until the greens are well-incorporated. Smooth until level in dish. Top with remaining 1/2 cup mozzarella and bake at 350 F for 30 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Serve hot with blue corn chips, pita chips, or toasted bread.

spinach and sorrel dip with blue corn chips

How have you been celebrating spring lately?

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