Matcha Madness, Spring Pantry Essentials & Cooking For The Season

Happy Friday and a very happy first day of Spring! No matter the weather wherever you are, it's safe to say that we've all been waiting for this (or at least to be able to say it). Today it's all things matcha, unique and flavorful pantry essentials and inspiration for cooking in-season with the freshest produce around!

Photo courtesy of Panatea via Fast Company

Photo courtesy of Panatea via Fast Company

Matcha Madness

...it's a thing! Now this is the kind of "madness" that I can get behind. I've talked about the beauty and magical wonders of this green powder several times before, but the buzz just continues to grow. The latest comes from an article in Fast Company, describing it as "a potent Japanese green-tea powder that leaves you jonesing for another hit." 

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

If you're looking for where and how to get started, here's a simple how-to for making a Classic Matcha Latte at home. Just give it a little time, patience and finesse. This morning mood-booster won't let you down and provides that energy boost without the jitters that coffee sometimes does.

For as bitter as matcha can be, it's actually a perfect addition to sweets. And apparently, it favors pairing with white chocolate-like things. I think it speaks for itself in this beautiful Matcha White Chocolate Bark as well as this creamy Matcha White Chocolate Mousse

Photo courtesy of My Darling Vegan

Photo courtesy of My Darling Vegan

If you're a fan of peanut or almond butter cups, consider branching out and trying these Pistachio Matcha Chocolate Cups

Photo courtesy of Faring Well for Food52

Photo courtesy of Faring Well for Food52

And lastly, for those sweet summer days, indulge in this Matcha Mint Chip Ice Cream masterpiece from the lovely lady over at Faring Well.

Photo courtesy of Food52

Photo courtesy of Food52

Spring Pantry Essentials

For keeping dishes light and bright, yet still flavorful, be sure to stock your pantry with products that will spark your imagination and encourage creativity in your cooking. I always seem to find new favorites over at the Food52 Shop.

Photo courtesy of Food52

Photo courtesy of Food52

While yes, you could just grab some fresh bay leaves from your local store, a much better option seems to be this bundle of Fresh Sweet Bay Laurel Leaves. They're grown on a small farm in Northern California, are cut to order and shipped within 24 hours or less of cutting. 

Photo courtesy of Food52

Photo courtesy of Food52

Snatch one of these limited edition batches of Beet Fusilli which is a special blend of fresh beets and organic semolina which would pair well with almost any earthy, spring pesto. I'm currently favoring this Spinach Basil Pesto - it's wonderful

Get fancy with your oils and add a uniquely rich and nutty taste to salad dressings, pastas and grilled fish thanks to these Special Reserve Walnut & Pistachio Oils. I've even heard that oils like these can sometimes hold up much better to heat than olive oil.

Photo courtesy of Food52

Photo courtesy of Food52

And speaking of oils, you should always have a big jar of Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil lying around. It provides a rich, smooth texture in smoothies and is an excellent replacement for butter when sautéing vegetables. Not only will you improve your digestion, but your overall health as well.

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Cooking For The Season

And once you're stocked with some nice spring pantry essentials, it's only fitting to keep your eyes peeled for recipe inspiration! If you have a local farmer's market, make sure that you take full advantage and grab in-season produce. I love this clever Spring Produce Guide to help keep you in-the-know. Spoiler alert: think artichokes, arugula, zucchini. And strawberries, raspberries and citrus! Here are some taste-bud dancing recipes to help inspire use of these in-season gems:

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Gadget

Photo courtesy of Kitchen Gadget

Lemon Artichoke Pesto, a simple pesto that only requires a handful of ingredients. The zest from the lemon should really tickle your taste buds and give any meal that "spring is in the air" kind of feel.

Photo courtesy of Gourmande in the Kitchen

Photo courtesy of Gourmande in the Kitchen

If you have yet to try sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem Artichokes), then now is the time to do so with this Sunchoke & Mushroom Sauté.  Showered with a little parsley, garlic and lemon and voila! Simple, easy and packed full of flavor.

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

Photo courtesy of Nutrition Stripped

And finally, the holy grail of berry dessert (of breakfast), Frozen Berries and Pink Cashew Cream. It's certainly pretty to look at, but even better to fill your belly with. It's surely at the top of my hit list. 

Cheers to Spring! Be well.

xo Allison