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COLUMN: From Grandma’s Kitchen: Sample a taste of spring with asparagus

— April showers bring May flowers, and I am so looking forward to spring and warmer weather, although we had a very mild winter. My poor daffodils popped out of the ground in January, confused by the higher temperatures. Hopefully, they will still bloom.

Take advantage of the fresh asparagus that’s in the market place. It is a taste of spring. Here’s an easy way to cook it. I take a stalk in my hands and gently snap off the hard woody part. Snap all remaining asparagus. Rinse then place in a flat frying pan, cover with water, bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer for five minutes or tender when poked with a fork. Drain and dot with a few pats of butter and sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste.

A wonderful spring dish is risotto. I used to spend an hour cooking and stirring the rice until my husband found a recipe that uses the microwave. Now, it’s all I use. The results are smooth and creamy. It’s a wonderful time-saving shortcut.

Risotto

4 c. chicken broth

1 3/4 c. water

1 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion, minced

2 c. rice

1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese

Salt and pepper to taste

Place broth and water in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Combine butter, oil and onion in a 4-quart microwave safe bowl. Cook uncovered in microwave on high for two minutes. Add rice and stir to coat. Cook, uncovered on high for one minute. Stir heated liquid mixture into rice mixture. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and, with a knife, make a few slits in plastic wrap to allow steam to escape during cooking. Cook in microwave for 18 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed and rice is tender but still firm. Do not overcook; mixture will look loose but will thicken to the proper creamy consistency after cooking. Carefully remove plastic wrap, and stir in cheese and salt and pepper to taste. Enjoy!

Take care, everyone, and happy spring!

Annette Sica is a resident of Baldwinsville. Years ago, she used to write a column for the Baldwinsville Messenger titled Coffee with Annette and she is happy to be writing cooking columns for her community again.

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