In the Kitchen: Cooking with Mother Nature

Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times

Hello season-istas and locavores,

At The Times we try to stay very much in the moment with our food coverage. “Seasonal” is our theme song. We even have this really cool gadget on our website that will help you keep up with what’s best at any time of year. But sometimes Mother Nature just wants to mess with us. Today we’re highlighting three stories of seasonality and how it can confound even our best efforts.

And be on the lookout for Saturday's Counter Intelligence newsletter, with stories about the dining scene and Jonathan Gold's restaurant reviews. 

— Russ Parsons

Los Angeles Times

Craziest spring ever? 

Have you noticed that some vegetables are more expensive right now than they used to be? Have you seen peaches and nectarines ridiculously early in the season? You can thank/blame the same thing for both — that warm weather that had us all going to the beach this winter.

Los Angeles Times

Another victim of the weather is going to be the California wild salmon — but fortunately not just yet. With water that’s been unusually shallow and warm in the streams where they lay their eggs, salmon will be very scarce in the next couple of years, fisheries experts predict. So send our favorite fish out with a bang this summer, which may be the last good one for a while. Here’s nine recipes and some cooking tips to get you started.

One thing it seems we will always have with us in spring is green garlic. Funny, because it started as a farmers’ economy — bring to market the immature garlic they’d thinned from their fields. Now it’s one of the season’s signatures.

Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

Hello onigiri

Of course, there are foods that are good at any time of year. Onigiri are definitely one of those. Take cooked rice, add flavorings of your choice and form it into shapes — balls, triangles, even Hello Kitty — wrap it with a strip of nori seaweed and you’ve got one of the best snacks ever.

Russ Parsons / Los Angeles Times

Asparagus for the patient 

While we’re talking about playing with our food, have you heard the one about me spending an hour and a half basting asparagus with hot butter? Yeah, it’s that Alain Passard thing

Anne Cusack / Los Angeles Times

Toast your chiles 

Cooking with chiles? With some recipes it really helps to toast and even rehydrate them first. Test Kitchen Director Noelle Carter has got a video to give you all the details.


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