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Cooking with Spring Vegetables

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Guest Post by Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN

Cooking with Spring Vegetables

As flowers start to bloom and the weather warms up, you can pack away your sweaters and take out your dresses and open-toe shoes. While you're at it, stock your kitchen with the tastes of spring.Let's talk about cooking with spring vegetables.

Strolling through the farmers market on a sunny spring day is one of my favorite culinary experiences --one that I look forward to throughout the winter, especially on blustery, snowy days. These days you can find almost any fruits and vegetables at your supermarket year round. But if you live in North America as I do, much of the produce you will find in the winter months comes from far away--that means you're paying top dollar for subpar produce. For better flavor at lower cost, I prefer to buy local and seasonal produce.

Many restaurants have jumped on the local/seasonal bandwagon, so for the next few weeks you'll see menu options that include ingredients with which you may not be familiar. Don't be afraid to ask what they are and try something new--you may even be inspired to get creative in your own kitchen.

Some of my favorite spring ingredients are asparagus, scallions, leeks, and fava beans. You might also want to discover spring specialties such as fiddleheads, garlic scapes, and nettles. Not sure what to make with these ingredients? Check out my delicious Leek and Tomato Frittata.

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Leek Frittata1

Leek and Tomato Frittata
Serves 4

'2 teaspoons olive oil
'2 cloves garlic, minced
'2 leeks, sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
4 whole eggs
1/2 cup egg whites
2 tablespoons low-fat milk
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Dried thyme and rosemary, to taste
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese (or cheese of your choice)
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat olive oil in a 10-inch ovenproof skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes. Add sliced leeks and sauté 5 minutes. Stir in grape tomato halves, cover, and cook 2 more minutes.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the whole eggs, egg whites, milk, salt, pepper, thyme, and rosemary. Pour eggs over vegetables in skillet; sprinkle shredded Cheddar on top. Cook over medium until sides are dry, about 3 minutes. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and transfer to oven. Bake 15-20 minutes, until frittata is golden brown. Remove from oven and let rest for a few minutes. Cut into wedges and serve.

Jessica Fishman Levinson, MS, RD, CDN is a registered dietitian and the founder of Nutritioulicious, a nutrition counseling and consulting practice in New York City. Jessica has extensive experience as a nutrition writer, editor, and speaker. She is the co-author of We Can Cook: Introduce Your Child to the Joy of Cooking with 75 Simple Recipes and Activities (Barron'??s, August 2011), a cookbook for children ages 3 to 6. Jessica maintains a popular nutrition blog and has been featured as a nutrition expert on television and in magazines, newspapers, and websites. Jessica lives in New York City with her husband, twin daughters, and dog. You can follow Jessica on Twitter @JLevinsonRD.

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