Janet's Notebook
Delicious Recipes Using Springtime Produce

Rhubarb Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

Spring has sprung! OK... maybe that's wishful thinking in some parts of the country. But we are so close to warmer weather and farmers' markets bursting with spring produce. I'm inspired to look through Just A Pinch for delicious springtime recipes that I can make with the veggies.

Grilling or roasting asparagus is fantastic, but try preparing it wrapped in prosciutto as a delicious appetizer like Jeannie Marlinghaus' (St. Louis, MO) did in her Wrapped Asparagus recipe. "This is an easy appetizer that looks and tastes fabulous," shares Jeannie. "I have made it without the prosciutto as well; excellent both ways."

This would be good without the prosciutto... but it's GREAT with it! The tangy dressing is a nice addition (it would work great on other veggies too).

Susan Elliott made the recipe and raved about it. "I originally cut it in half for just my husband and me; other than that, I followed the recipe as written and we both LOVED it," said Susan. "A few days later we were having guests for the afternoon and my husband requested I make these again!" The asparagus is simple to prepare and big on flavor.

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed Robyn Bruce's (Middletown, PA) Broccoli Filled Tomato Cups. My taste buds were sold on these stuffed tomatoes at first bite. The sweet tomato, broccoli, and cheese filling is the perfect combination.

"These beautiful little tomato cups can be served as a side dish or an appetizer," thinks Robyn. They'll be great with a steak, chicken, or even fish. There was more filling than would fit inside my tomatoes, so I saved the extra filling in a small casserole dish. This is too good not to enjoy again!

The Asian flavors in Linda Dalton's (Stoughton, MA) Asian Vegetable Pasta Salad are fantastic. "This is a variation of a recipe I created a number of years ago that gave me an opportunity to participate in a cook-off," revealed Linda. "I didn't win the cook-off, but the recipe is still a winner in my book."

It's a winner in my book too. This dinner is very easy to make and packs a flavorful punch. The fresh sugar snap peas and celery add a crunch to the salad. Sesame oil and freshly grated ginger give the dressing its Asian flair.

"I wanted to try these flavors together along with garlic and Parmesan cheese - it was a success," explains Monika Rosales (Pembroke Pines, FL) of her Orzo w/Snow Peas, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomatoes recipe. Spinach and sun-dried tomatoes mixed into the orzo is a delicious combination. Snow peas add some sweetness to the orzo salad. Next time I may add shrimp or meat to make a meal out of the salad.

Rhubarb is a springtime veggie that people can be curious about. It's not always the most popular item in the produce area, but I think it should be. Fun fact, rhubarb is technically a vegetable but in 1947 it was declared a fruit. The U.S. Customs Court in Buffalo, NY ruled it should be a fruit because of how it's used (it also saved on taxes because imported fruits were taxed lower than vegetables then).

Rhubarb is extremely tart. Most people cook it to make it sweeter which is what Cindi Bauer Marshfield, WI did for her Rhubarb Pineapple Upside-Down Cake.

"I 'love' rhubarb and I love this cake - it's not too sweet and not too tart," says Cindi. "Hubby says it's a nice moist cake." The rhubarb has a nice tang that goes well with the sweetness of the pineapple and strawberry Jell-O. The cake was perfectly moist with a hint of butter and pineapple flavoring. If you don't think you like rhubarb, I suggest trying this recipe. It will convert you.

Springtime is the perfect time to begin incorporating fresh veggies back into our menus. See what your local market has available and get into the kitchen. Happy Pinching!

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