Time to ‘tart’ spring cooking!


Spring is here! It’s time for lighter fare, artichokes, wraps, berries and all the glories of warmer temperatures.

Chicken Wraps

Makes 4 servings.


  • 3 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 3 teaspoons ginger, minced, or ginger paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot water
  • Juice from half a lime


  • 7 green onions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 cups coleslaw mix or cabbage, shredded
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 cups carrots, shredded
  • 1 bunch cilantro leaves, chopped
  • 1 head butter lettuce
  • Salted peanuts to garnish

In a medium bowl, stir together all sauce ingredients, and set aside.

Heat a large pan over medium-high heat. Add green onions, cabbage and ground chicken, breaking up meat. When chicken is almost cooked through, add carrots and cilantro, and cook for 2 minutes. Pour sauce over meat, stirring to coat. (Do not add the sauce earlier because sugar could burn.) Cook for 3 minutes on high, and reduce heat to low for a couple minutes, until sauce thickens. Serve chicken mixture in butter lettuce leaves, sprinkling peanuts on top.

Strawberry Tart

Makes 6 servings.


  • 2 1/2 cups vanilla wafer cookies
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted


  • 12 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
  • Zest from one orange
  • 1 1/2 pounds of strawberries, sliced into thirds
  • 2 tablespoons strawberry jelly

Heat oven to 375.

Using a food processor, pulse vanilla waters into crumbs. Combine crumbs with brown sugar and butter. (Depending on the brand of cookie, an extra tablespoon of butter might be needed to make crust stick together.)

Press crumbs into a shallow pie dish or tart pan, pressing onto sides of pan, too. Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until set and golden brown. Cool completely.

Whip together cream cheese, vanilla extract, powdered sugar and orange zest. Spread into cooled pie crust. Layer strawberries on top. Microwave jelly for 15 seconds to warm it, and brush it on berries. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours before serving. Cut with a sharp knife that has been run under hot water.

Grilled Artichokes

Makes 3 servings.


  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon pepper seasoning
  • Dipping Sauce:
  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 green onions, sliced


  • 3 large artichokes
  • 2 lemons, juiced (save peels)

In a small bowl, combine marinade ingredients, and set aside.

In a separate small bowl, stir together all dipping sauce ingredients, and refrigerate.

Slice each artichoke in half lengthwise. Inside, you will see a small, fuzzy center in a half-moon shape; cut this out. Sometimes there will be purple petals inside; you’ll want to remove those, too. Rub artichokes with lemon juice. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add used lemons to water. Add artichokes, and boil for 15 minutes. Remove and drain. Turn the artichokes so the inside is facing up and brush with marinade. Allow to marinate for 2 hours.

Heat grill to medium-high. Place artichokes sliced side down, and grill for 5 minutes.

To eat artichokes: Start by pulling the petals off at the bottom and from the outside. Glide them between your teeth to get a tiny bit of meat at the bottom. The closer you get to the heart, the more meat you get. Dip pieces in sauce before eating. At the end, you can eat the heart and stem. It’s a slow process but rewarding.

Mushroom Tart

Makes 4-6 servings.

  • 3 leeks (can substitute 1 medium red onion)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Half a small zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 8 ounces portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion salt
  • 2 teaspoons garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sun-dried tomatoes, minced
  • 1 cup Italian cheese, shredded
  • 2 ounces feta cheese, crumbled
  • 1 puff pastry sheet

To clean leeks, fill a large bowl with water. Slice roots off leeks, and slice white parts of leeks in half. Discard tough green parts. Place white leeks in water, and shake to clean. Allow to rest for 10 minutes. Dry with paper towels and slice. Set aside.

Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add leeks, zucchini, mushrooms, Italian seasoning and onion salt. Cook until tender. Add garlic, balsamic vinegar and sun-dried tomatoes. Cook for 1 minute. Remove from heat to cool. Once cool, place in colander to strain out moisture. Stir in both cheeses.

Heat oven to 400. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Place thawed puff pastry on parchment. Add mushroom mixture to center, in a circle. Fold up four corners of puff pastry to hold mixture in. (I had a little mixture leftover; I added it to eggs the next morning.)

Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately; leftovers do not keep well.