Celebrate the season

Today (March 20) marks the first day of spring, and with the season comes new produce and delectable eats. Some of the tastiest and most healthful dishes are composed of organic and local ingredients grown right in our back yard. To find most everything you’ll need for the following spring recipe, head to the Saturday farmers market in downtown Chico, or to local organic markets such as Chico Natural Foods or S&S Produce & Natural Foods.

Spring Vegetable Soup

2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 scallions, trimmed and sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 small turnips, peeled and diced
2 new potatoes, scrubbed and diced
2 carrots, diced
1 sprig fresh thyme or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
6 cups vegetable stock or chicken stock
1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
1 bunch (6 ounces) watercress, leaves only
2 tbsp tarragon vinegar
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add scallions, garlic, turnips, potatoes and carrots. Cover and cook until vegetables start to soften—about five minutes. Stir in thyme, parsley and stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes. Add asparagus and peas and cook another five minutes. Purée half the soup with watercress and return it to the remainder of the soup. Stir in tarragon vinegar, add salt and pepper to taste—and serve.

Source: Jeannette Ferrary and Louise Fiszer via Globalgourmet.com