Every week, your challenge is to create an eye-opening dish within our capricious themes and parameters. Blog your submission on Open Salon by Monday 10 a.m. EST -- with photos and your story behind the dish -- and we'll republish the winners on Salon on Tuesday. (It takes only 30 seconds to start a blog.) Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. And yes, mashed potato sculpture counts as a dish. Emphatically.
This week, we asked for your favorite spring dishes, whatever spring means to you wherever you are.
THIS WEEK'S WINNER:
Pea shoots with caramelized garlic and seared scallops by Lisa Barlow: Recalling a month working at a favorite seasonal restaurant, Lisa shares the thrill of a box of pea greens, a sure sign that the Era of 100 Potatoes is coming to an end. In this simple but lovely dish, she slowly caramelizes garlic, sautés the greens in the oil, and tops it with perfectly sautéed scallops, if you'd like them.
THIS WEEK'S ALTERNATE WINNERS:
Asparagus barley risotto by Cathy Elton: Using barley instead of the traditional rice gives this satisfying vegetarian (or even vegan) springtime dish a nutty, chewy character. Roast some asparagus, get some shallots sweating in a pot, and stir away!
Grilled artichokes with spicy lemon aioli by Dawn E. Bell: The spring artichoke season is one reason to be jealous of Californians, and what better way to celebrate those sweet, savory little bulbs than to char the bejeezus out of them on a grill? (Incidentally, if artichokes aren't really your thing, you may consider Dawn's other entry this week: Mushroom, roasted garlic, and cheese bread.
Spinach, strawberry and grapefruit salad by Kolika Elle Kirk: It warms the cockles of our hearts when people get excited over a salad, and Kolika can barely contain her love for this mix of fruits, spinach and poppy seed dressing.
PLUS, ALSO, TOO: THE HONORABLE MENTIONS
Halibut with bacon, mushrooms and broiled Belgian endives by Hans Denee: For many, the opening of the halibut fishing season is the truest signal of spring. The thick, meaty, mild-flavored fish is a lovely counterpoint to power-packed flavors like bacon and mushrooms.
Ribollita (Tuscan bread and vegetable soup) by Vivian Henoch: So it's not exactly a "spring" dish, but still, Vivian's contribution of vegetables simmered in stock with savory pancetta and thickened with cubes of bread is as fundamentally satisfying a dish as there is.
Waiting-for-spring strawberry cream cheese French toast by Brandi Jo Plaster: The calendar says it's spring, but for many who live in the frigid North, that's just a sick joke. But Brandi, in Minnesota, makes the best of it with some strawberry preserves. And cream cheese. And eggs and milk and butter. And there you go.
Violets! Candied and jelly, by Theresa Rice: Eating flowers may not be everyone's idea of delicious, but violets' aroma have long made them favorites. Theresa shares her favorite ways to treat them.
And while you're reading, you might always check out a few paeans to some favorite spring foods: The Angry Chef's herbs and fresh green garlic, Bobbot's song to oyster mushrooms, plucked from the trees.
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AND NOW FOR THIS WEEK'S CHALLENGE:
Lately, our SKCs have seemed alarmingly earnest and nutritious. Pea shoots! Tea biscuits! Cashew spread! Props to you guys, but we're ready to revisit good old-fashioned things-not-for-company. We admit we don't cotton to the notion of "guilty" pleasures -- I mean, if you like something, own it! -- but there are still things we don't really want to call up Ma to tell her we're making. So this week, share with us your most satisfying recipes for curling up on the couch or for stealing bites of as a midnight snack.
Be sure to tag your posts: SKC not-too-guilty pleasures (Please note that by participating, you're giving Salon permission to re-post your entry if it's chosen as a winner, and acknowledging that all words and images in your post are your own, unless explicitly stated. Adaptations of existing recipes are fine, but please let us know where the original comes from. And if you'd like to participate but not have your post considered for republication on Salon, please note it in the post itself. Thanks!)
Scoring and winning
Scores will be very scientific, given for appealing photos, interesting stories behind your submissions, creativity, and execution.