Kitchen Stories

Kitchen Stories

Editorial Team

Every Friday in April, the Kitchen Stories editorial team will share what’s on the weekend’s shopping list and what we’ll make with it. We’ve decided to challenge ourselves by shopping hyper seasonal and diving into all the spring produce this month.

Will you join the challenge? Take part by letting us know what’s on your shopping list in the comments!

On Lisa’s shopping list: Artichokes

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Artichokes remind me of southern France. Of big family dinners after a long, slow day at the beach. Of ice cold rosé from the nearby winery. And of my aunt who would prepare them as easy as it can be. She couldn’t be bothered to cut off the tips. Her recipe? Bring a big pot filled with water to a boil. Add salt, a little sugar, and some halved lemons. Add the artichokes and let them simmer until a sharp knife can stick into them easily. Serve them immediately to at least 10 hungry people who’ve been waiting patiently. So easy, it’s barely a real “recipe”, and the same applies for the dip: a rich mix of finely chopped hard boiled eggs, cornichons, pickled radishes, crème fraîche, dijon mustard, and fresh herbs such as parsley, chives or even a little mint, salt and pepper. The liquid in which the cornichons are pickled helps to create the perfect creamy consistency.

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Apart from my aunt’s artichokes, the vegetable has always been a kind of beautiful mystery to me. At first sight you seem to throw away most of it to get to the best, golden part: the hidden heart. In the film Amélie, Amélie Poulain says, ”At least you’ll never be a vegetable—even artichokes have hearts.” This quote kind of sums up this mysterious vegetable to me in a quite good and philosophical way. Not many words or explanations needed.

Until now, every year, I couldn’t wait for my first artichokes in May—very late in the season as I know now. So, time to hit Berlin’s farmers markets and bring sun and relaxation into everyday life while I ponder the mysteries of artichokes, and life.

Lisa’s recipe picks:

Goat cheese-stuffed artichokes

Goat cheese-stuffed artichokes

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I love how the tender leaves are being combined with a creamy and rich filling, plus surprises such as pine nuts and honey. Definitely a priority on my must-try list.

Braised chicken and artichokes

Braised chicken and artichokes

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It’s very easy to change up a well-known recipe. Everyone loves your braised chicken? Add olives and artichokes next time for a more Mediterranean feeling at the dinner table.

Spinach and artichoke dip

Spinach and artichoke dip

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It’s great to have a set of no-fail, back pocket recipes that you can always go to. For me it’s a foolproof gluten-free chocolate cake or my grandma’s butter cake—I’ve made them almost too often. This hearty, cheesy, and warm (!) dip is a very good candidate for something new and savory...

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On Xueci’s shopping list: Strawberries

Although April is a bit early for peak strawberry season, I’ve already seen them popping up at the farmer’s market—a delightful reminder that spring is certainly here. I can’t pretend I haven’t heard them (the strawberries) screaming “Take me home!” Plus, they’re simply one of the fruits I look forward to the most each year.

I secretly think of strawberries as the “fruitiest” fruit—sweet but sometimes a bit sour, bright, firm and yet juicy, and the perfect bite-sized snack. What more can you ask from a fruit? However, it’s left up to luck to get the best strawberries If you happen to discover a farm near your city to pick up some super fresh strawberries yourself, that would surely be a weekend highlight for kid and adults alike. Otherwise, I suggest picking them at a farmers market.

I have the same problem as Kristin with her radishes: I always finish a box of strawberries before actually starting to, or even thinking about, cooking with them. So this month, I will challenge myself to devote more time to these lovely berries by preparing something new with them, instead of just inhaling them straight out of the carton.

Xueci’s recipe picks:

Strawberry and cucumber salad

Strawberry and cucumber salad

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This light and vibrant salad features two of my favorite fruits!. Cilantro leaves could be a bold substitute for basil and if I want to have a real spring produce party asparagus and rhubarb could also make appearances!

Strawberry-balsamic pizza

Strawberry-balsamic pizza

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Putting strawberries in smoothies or cakes is nothing new, they are born for something sweet . But what is challenging is integrating them into savory dishes. Strawberry (or, to be honest, just about anything edible) on pizza it definitely always worth a try. I might even sneak a few slices of prosciutto on it, as one of our community members suggested.

After reading my fellow editor Julia’s article about how easy homemade jam is, I might even try to make myself a jar of strawberry jam to make the short season of red berry love, last.

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On Julia’s shopping list: Asparagus

When I was a child, I couldn’t stand asparagus—the texture was too mushy or fibrous for my liking and it always tasted so bitter. It wasn’t until years later that I started to question my opinion, because how could it be that everyone except me couldn’t wait for asparagus season to begin?

I learned that asparagus can have a bitter taste if it’s harvested too close to the rhizome. In this case, it helps to add some sugar to the cooking water, or (if you’re dealing with very bitter asparagus) to cut off ta generous section of the ends stalks. Most people also tend to overcook asparagus—the stalks shouldn’t be too soft, but still give a slight resistance when pierced with a fork. Green asparagus needs approx. 15 minutes to cook, while white asparagus takes some minutes longer.

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With my new knowledge I started to become friends with asparagus and lately, I am actually one of the people who’re excited for the first asparagus on the market! So every year, until the end of the asparagus season on June 24th (we’re precise with our asparagus season here in Germany), I’m trying to catch up with all the delicious asparagus ideas and dishes that I missed out on as a kid. Of course it all starts with magnificent buttery Hollandaise. But, since I’m vegan, I make my Hollandaise with a vegan butter substitute, skip the eggs, and add some plant-based cream instead.

Julia's recipe picks:

Green asparagus tart

Green asparagus tart

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This tart caught my eye immediately. It looks fancy, but is actually quick and easy to prepare (thanks to puff pastry that’s waiting in my fridge anyway). For a vegan option, I’ll skip the gorgonzola and egg, and instead use a vegan Hollandaise as the base and sprinkle some nutritional yeast on top.

Asparagus pasta salad

Asparagus pasta salad

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I’ve never tried the combination of white asparagus and pasta before, but since I’m a big fan of frying asparagus, this recipe is a sure shot and will (most likely) make me very happy. It's also a great option to take to go, so I’ll probably save some of it for an office lunch, too. My favorite thing about this recipe? It features another seasonal vegetable—radishes!

Asparagus risotto with peas and prosciutto

Asparagus risotto with peas and prosciutto

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Last but not least, I’m already looking forward to trying out this spring risotto with green asparagus. The stalks are blanched and added to the risotto just before serving—this way, it keeps its firm-tender bite and vibrant green color. The recipe can be easily prepared vegan with a vegetable broth and and nutritional yeast instead of Parmesan. Since I'm such a big fan of asparagus now, I don’t mind to kick the prosciutto completely and put the focus on the asparagus and peas.

More delicious ideas for you