Spring fruits and vegetables are now in season

Rubarbarų pyragas

2 lbs. rhubarb, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 6 cups)
1¼ cups granulated sugar
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup light brown sugar
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
½ tsp. salt
Vanilla ice cream, for serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 375 °. To make filling, put rhubarb, granulated sugar, ¼ cup flour, and vanilla into a 9” x 13” baking dish and toss well to combine; set aside. To make crumble topping, put remaining 1 cup flour, light brown sugar, butter and salt into a large bowl and toss well. Using your fingertips, rub butter into dry ingredients until mixture resembles coarse meal. Working with one small handful at a time, squeeze dough together to make a ball, then gently break it into chunks and scatter them on rhubarb filling in baking dish. Bake until rhubarb is very tender and bubbly and crumble topping is golden brown, about 30 minutes. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream if desired; spoon any leftovers into bowls and eat cold for breakfast. Serves eight.

Vyšnių-migdolų pyragas

2 cups fresh, pitted and chopped
6 Tbsps. brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. table salt
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
6 Tbsps. butter, melted
2 tsps. vanilla extract
½ cup sliced almonds
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
1 Tbsp. whole milk
½ tsp. vanilla extract

In a bowl, combine chopped cherries and brown sugar, set aside. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a small bowl, whisk the egg, sour cream, butter and vanilla. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Batter will be dense. Divide the batter into four equal parts. Spoon two parts of the divided batter into two greased and floured 8-inch round baking pans (in other words, one of the four parts into each pan. Make sure to completely cover the bottom of pan; it will seem like there is not enough batter, but there is. Use a small spatula to spread it around evenly.) Top with cherry mixture. Spoon the remaining batter over cherries. (Again, it will seem like there is not enough batter. Just swirl it around gently, you don’t have to completely cover the cherries.) Sprinkle with almonds. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing from pan. During the cooling time, carefully run a sharp knife around the edges to loosen them. In a small bowl, combine the icing ingredients; drizzle over the cake and serve.

Kepti asparagai

2 lbs. fresh asparagus
3 Tbsps. olive oil, divided
1 Tbsp. minced fresh dill
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 Tbsp. whole grain mustard
Salt & black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 425°. Wash asparagus and toss with 1 Tbsp. oil, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Place tossed asparagus on a baking sheet and roast until tender, 10-12 minutes. Whisk remaining 2 Tbsps. oil, dill, lemon juice, Dijon and mustard in a large bowl. Toss asparagus with the vinagrette until coated. (Note: To get the most tender part of the asparagus, don’t trim them, but bend them until they break at their weakest part. This way your asparagus will be tender and not hard or stringy.)

Žviežių abrikosų pyragaičiai

2 lbs. ripe apricots
2/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp. orange liqueur (such as Grand Marnier)
1 cup flour
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ tsp. Kosher or sea salt
¼ tsp. baking soda
½ cup cold unsalted butter, cut
into small cubes
1 cup old fashioned oats

Preheat oven to 350 ° . Butter a 2-quart baking dish. Combine the apricots and sugar in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the apricots are soft (will vary depending on the ripeness of the apricots – very ripe apricots will only take a minute or two.) Stir in the orange liqueur. Puree the apricots in a blender or food processor until smooth. Pour into a bowl and set in freezer to chill while you make the crust. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, brown sugar, salt, and baking soda. Pinch in the butter pieces into the flour mixture, until it resembles coarse sand. Pinch in the oats until well combined. Press 2/3 of the crust mixture evenly into the bottom of the baking dish. Spread the apricot puree over the crust bottom. Sprinkle the remaining crust over the top of the apricot puree. Bake for 1 hour or until crust is golden brown. Allow to cool, then slice and serve. Store in the refrigerator. Yields about 12 bars.