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    Spring Cleaning for Your Recipe Routine

    It has been a long winter, and to top it off, on Groundhog Day old Punxsutawney Phil predicted six more weeks of winter in our future. To help get you through the end of winter, it helps to look forward to the spring. Spring is the time of year when everything is renewed. We have all heard of spring-cleaning for the home, but what about spring-cleaning for the palate? A new season is on its way and with it comes fresh new food ideas — so start getting excited for the flavors and textures that come along with this bountiful harvest!

    This spring, fill your plate with the freshest fruits and vegetables of the season. Set aside the squashes and root vegetables from the winter, and experiment with the many options that are newly available. Imagine the fresh stone fruits you’ll enjoy, like apricots and avocados. Picture vibrant and juicy fruits, such as mangoes and pineapples. Envision a range of lush vegetables including peas, artichokes, chives, asparagus, fennel, spinach and watercress. Last but not least, remember the earthy taste of fresh morels, carrots and leeks.

    The best chefs know that local, seasonal ingredients are what make the difference between a good dish and a great dish. The upcoming food trends for spring will focus on highlighting these ingredients in new and refreshing ways. Soups and stews will be a big trend in dining, featuring tender new vegetables while still providing warmth — perfect for those spring days that still have a chill in the air. A spring onion soup with a touch of creamy goat cheese is a velvety dish that is sure to please. For a great spring vegetable stew, fill your Dutch oven with white asparagus, potatoes, scallions, herbs and a rich broth. It’s a hearty dish that provides ample sustenance for the season.

    Fresh pizzas are another trend on tap for this spring. Set aside your usual mozzarella and tomato-based sauce and try a lighter pizza inspired by the tastes of spring. Warm, crispy pizza crust is the perfect base for Fontina cheese, asparagus and chives, or ricotta, basil and ramps. For an extra treat, crack a few eggs over your pizza and let them cook to sunny-side-up perfection as the pizza bakes.

    Pasta dishes also undergo a change when spring comes, and the trend is toward lightened-up plates. Put away your lasagna and mac and cheese recipes, and instead explore homemade pasta options like gnocchi, ravioli and pappardelle. Try tossing your pasta with spicy crumbled sausage, fava beans, tomatoes and wilted arugula, or opt for seafood with linguini paired with fresh clams and fennel.

    Pasta dishes coated in thick pesto sauces are also on trend for spring. Pesto sauces can be made quickly and easily using a wide variety of options. Start with a green base, like basil, parsley, arugula, carrot tops or fennel fronds. Add in nuts like pine nuts, almonds, or walnuts. Toss in some Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese, a few cloves of garlic and a drizzle of olive oil. Pulse the mixture in your food processor until you reach the desired consistency and pour over your pasta.

    All good meal end with a good dessert; the perfect finish to your dining experience. The hottest trend for this spring is savory desserts. The unique combination of salty and sweet flavors is gaining popularity, and chefs are experimenting with unique ingredient pairings to excite your taste buds. For example, picture a creamy cheesecake filling poured over a brown butter pretzel crust. Maple and bacon are being combined in unique ways as well, such as maple bacon donuts and even maple bacon ice cream. Perhaps the most well-known sweet and salty pairing is the trifecta of chocolate, caramel and salt. While this classic flavor combination isn’t new, chefs are finding unique ways to merge them together, such as sweet-and-salty brownies drizzled with a rich caramel sauce and dusted with coarse sea salt.

    Use these ideas for inspiration to start thinking about all the ways that you plan on refreshing your recipe collection for spring, and the new season will be here before you know it. Be sure to stay on the lookout for these spring dining trends at all of our establishments, because they may very well sneak into our restaurants and buffets!

    Read more about our amazing Chefs and restaurants here: http://cape-girardeau.isleofcapricasinos.com/dining/ove

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