Celebrate the arrival of spring with ingredients that capture the flavor of...

Celebrate the arrival of spring with ingredients that capture the flavor of the season.

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Seared scallops over pesto pasta.

Seared Scallops over Pesto Pasta
Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
Serves: 6

2 lbs. sea scallops, rinsed, patted dry
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. butter
1/2 c. olive oil
2 c. fresh parsley
1/4 c. pine nuts
1/3 c. Parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic
Zest of one lemon
1 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 lb. linguine or fettuccine
1-1/2 c. peas
1 lb. fresh asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces (discard ends)

Season scallops lightly with salt and pepper. Heat butter and 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large, heavy skillet and sear scallops over medium-high heat about 3 minutes per side until nicely browned and cooked through. Set aside. In a blender or processor, combine parsley, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, 1 tablespoon lemon zest and 1 tablespoon lemon juice; blend until lightly chopped. Add oil and blend until smooth. Cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, blanch the asparagus and peas for 1 minute in boiling water. Drain. Toss pasta with pesto, asparagus and peas, and serve on plate with scallops on top. Season with fresh pepper.

Mushroom and Gorgonzola Salad
Preparation time: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

4 c. baby portabella mushrooms, halved
1 c. button mushrooms
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
1/3 c. olive oil
1/2 c. Kalamata olives, pitted
2/3 c. marinated artichoke hearts, drained
1/4 c. sundried tomatoes, chopped
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
6 c. fresh arugula or spinach
4 oz. Gorgonzola cheese
Pepper to taste

Combine mushrooms and fresh thyme in a large baking pan. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Roast in 400-degree oven for 15 minutes or until browned. Cool slightly. Combine mushrooms, olives, artichokes, and sundried tomatoes in a bowl. Whisk together remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Toss mushrooms and vegetables with dressing. Place arugula on a large platter. Spoon mushrooms over arugula and crumbled cheese. Season with pepper.

Balsamic-Glazed Strawberries on Pound Cake
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Serves: 6

3 c. strawberries, quartered
5 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
5 tbsp. brown sugar
1 pound cake, sliced into 1″ slices
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream or whipped cream
Fresh mint to garnish (optional)

Heat vinegar and brown sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat. Whisk until sugar is dissolved and simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat and add strawberries, tossing to coat. Spoon berries over pound cake and top with scoop of cream.

Lemon Gingerade
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 30 minutes
Serves: 6

3/4 c. fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 c. sugar
1 c. water
2 c. fresh lemon juice
12 oz. vodka
2 c. club soda

In a small saucepan, combine ginger, water and sugar. Stir to combine and bring to a simmer. Simmer 30 minutes. Cool and strain into a container. In a large pitcher, combine lemonade, vodka and syrup. Stir and serve over ice. Top with splash of club soda. Garnish with lemon slice.

Carrie Hanna is the author of Florida’s Backyard, a collection of original recipes. To order the book, call (800) 839-8640.