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Walnut Creek Magazine

Chef Recipes Showcase Spring's Seasonal Bounty

By Chef Debbie Shavar, Buttercup Grill

3 lbs. asparagus, tough ends removed and discarded
2 T. olive oil
1 onion, coarsely chopped
6 cups chicken broth
2 T. lemon juice
Salt & pepper to taste
1/2 cup sour cream
Fresh herbs for garnish
Directions: Snap off tough ends of asparagus spears and discard. Slice off asparagus tips, then slice diagonally into thin slivers. Reserve. Cut remaining stalks into 1 inch pieces.
Heat olive oil in soup pot, add onion. Cook until translucent. Add cut asparagus stalks and chicken broth. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer and cook until tender. Cool for 15 minutes, then carefully process in a blender. (Fill blender only 1/3 of the way up because heat causes soup to expand.) Transfer to pot and add 1 T. of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. If soup is too thick, add broth to thin. Add asparagus tips to soup pot and simmer until tips are tender 3-5 minutes. Ladle soup into bowls and drizzle with lemon sour cream sauce.
Sour Cream Lemon Sauce: Mix sour cream and remaining 1 T. of lemon in a small bowl.  Season with salt and pepper and thin with 1- 2 T. of water.


By Chef Melissa Shaffer, Walnut Creek Farmers Market

1.5 pounds redskin or small potatoes, cut into bite-sized chunks
2 cups sugar snap peas, strings removed
1/2 bunch radishes (about 4-5), thinly sliced
1 cup mixed herbs, roughly chopped: dill, mint, and parsley
1-2 cups mixed greens or arugula per person
1-2 hard-boiled eggs per person
Lemon Dijon Vinaigrette:
1 large clove garlic, crushed or minced
1 tsp lemon zest
3 T lemon juice
2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Directions: Bring a medium saucepan with salted water to a boil. Add peas and blanch for 1 minute or until bright green. Remove with a slotted spoon and place in a large bowl with ice. Once cool, transfer peas onto a towel to dry. Bring water back to a boil and add potatoes, cook 5-10 minutes or until easily pierced. Drain and cool.

Slice peas on diagonal into 2-3 pieces each and place in a large bowl with radishes, potatoes, and herbs. Toss together. Add vinaigrette, salt, pepper, then toss with vegetables. Let sit for at least 10 minutes for flavors to absorb. Serve on a bed of mixed greens or arugula and top with eggs.


By Chef Ty Pearce, Sunrise Bistro
1 scoop fresh ricotta cheese, preferably Bellweather Farms Sheep’s Milk Ricotta
1 minced piece of Meyer lemon zest to taste
Bunch of greens (arugula, pea tendrils, sunflower sprouts) seasoned with good olive oil.
Salt and pepper
Bunch of spring vegetables, such as fava beans, peas, or asparagus, blanched
1 T. (or so) thinly sliced spring onions
Mint leaves, minced
In a bowl, toss greens and blanched spring vegetables (If you add peas, blanch 45 seconds, asparagus 21 seconds, fava beans 1 minute.) Cut vegetables into bite-size pieces. Squeeze on fresh lemon juice, a little more olive oil, and toss. Sprinkle on sliced onions and garnish with mint. Serve on a plate with a scoop of ricotta. Season with salt and pepper.


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