Spring is in the air and the assortment of fresh fruit at the Union Square Market is becoming more and more plentiful. Shiny New Jersey tomatoes & strawberries, endless varieties of apples, and the beginning of juicy peaches whet the appetite and inspire creative seasonal recipes.
Two weeks ago I took an entertainment themed cooking class with Sindi Kaplan at the Central Synagogue. Sindi prepared a wonderful meal using key seasonal ingredients which brought out the sweetness of Spring and the ease of using readily available ingredients. The sweetness of the meal was reflected in all of the dishes she’d made from the fresh fruits used in the lite tropical sangria to currants in the brown basmati rice. The flavors in each dish flowed from start to finish, which is sometimes difficult to achieve when a meal has multiple components.
I enjoyed Sindi’s seasonal recipes so much that I decided to put my own spin on what was already a delicious and easily preparable meal for a crowd. As I always say, be creative and use what you have! The more you cook, the more knowledgeable you’ll be on substituting ingredients. In this case, I used mango and apple instead of peaches since I had those ingredients fresh on hand. Apples are great fruits to cook with as their flavors deepen and greatly enhance a chicken dish like the Ginger Chicken with Seasonal Fruits Sindi created.
Spring fruits like strawberries and even oranges are great to add to salads, as peaches cook well with chicken and pork. Figs are another wonderful and versatile fruit which I haven’t seen in the stores yet, but am looking forward to using in some other spring inspired dishes.
Please feel to use the recipes below to evoke the inner chef in you this Spring.
Ginger Chicken with Mango, Apples, & Red Onions
Orange Salad with Red Leaf Lettuce, Goat Cheese, Red Onion, & Candied Nuts