Seasonal Cooking with Rita Calvert~The Local Cook

















I received a comment recently from a friend who said my posts for seasonal and local cooking transported her from the mundane to the sublime and put her in a good mood...That’s my most favorite compliment almost EVER! I always believe being around nature-especially the kitchen garden-and then creating a feast from it (plain or fancy) will elevate any doldrums.

Edibles Weekend at Homestead Gardens rids us of any blues with special price offerings to kick off the potager. Fruit trees, edible perennials, annuals as well as all in-stock patio furniture will all have irresistable savings.

Tastings and workshops abound throughout the weekend and Southern Maryland So Good will launch their new farmer meat program with a retail freezer case given especially to Homestead Gardens, Davidsonville. On Sunday afternoon, I'll be happily grilling a melange of spring vegetables and sausages from this new program. For other tasty weekend samplings, Nancy and Kerry will be offering dips and butters with fresh herbs, while Claudette highlights bites of brunch.


Grilled Asparagus Maple Sausage Master Recipe for Pasta or Bruschetta

With Pasta serve 6

I suppose I am hooked on master recipes because a foundation recipe lends to so many choices-food for the week, in fact. Not only can this grilled mixture of spring build an incredible entree or brilliant bruschetta-but can also be an omelet filling or even the lush basis for a free-form galette. Switch the fresh herbs as you like and trade the sausage variety to Italian or any style you favor.



    1 pound fresh asparagus, trimmed

  • 2 mixed large bell peppers, trimmed and quartered lengthwise
  • 1 large red onion, quartered lengthwise and separated into layers
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh Maple Pork link sausage
  • 1 pound pasta, cooked and drained
  • or
  • 1 French baguette, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Freshly grated lemon zest
  • Shaved local aged cheese, if desired

Special equipment: a perforated grill sheet; 2 (10- to 12-inch-long) wooden or metal skewers

Toss asparagus, peppers and onion with 1 tablespoon oil. Grill on lightly oiled grill sheet set directly on grill rack, with grill covered only if using a gas grill, turning occasionally, until slightly softened and golden brown, 9 to 15 minutes, transferring to a bowl as cooked.

Add vinegar, oregano, half of the basil, salt, pepper, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil to grilled vegetables, tossing to coat. Let stand 10 minutes to allow flavors to develop.

While vegetables stand, run skewers crisscrossed horizontally through sausage links. Grill directly over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas) on lightly oiled grill rack, covered only if using a gas grill, turning over once, until cooked through, 10 to 12 minutes total. (Thicker sausage will take longer.) Cut sausage into bite size pieces.

Place pasta in the bowl and toss with vegetables. Transfer to a platter and top with the sausage. Sprinkle with remaining basil and cheese shavings (if using).


For the Al Fresco Lifestyle at Homestead Gardens:













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