Makes 10 to 12 canapés.

Note: Radishes are a sure sign of spring: simple, beautiful and zesty. There are as many variations to this recipe as there are types of bread and butter. From "The Spoonriver Cookbook," by Brenda Langton.

• 2 tbsp. chopped fresh chives or parsley

• 4 tbsp. butter, softened

• 1 bunch red, Easter or French breakfast radishes

• Thinly sliced multigrain bread, cut into bite-size pieces

• Sea salt


Fold the chopped herbs into the softened butter.

Wash and thinly slice the radishes. Put them in a bowl of cold water.

Spread approximately 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon butter onto a piece of bread and top it with a radish slice or two. Just before serving, sprinkle with a little sea salt.

Variation: Omit the fresh herbs and add a little wasabi, white miso or umeboshi plum to the butter.

Nutrition information per each of 12 servings:

Calories 70 Fat 4 g Sodium 102 mg Saturated fat 3 g Carbohydrates 6 g Calcium 18 mg

Protein 2 g Cholesterol 10 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 bread/starch, 1 fat.



Serves 4 to 6.

Note: Asparagus is one of the first vegetables we enjoy in the spring. Potato and zucchini help give this dish a perfect consistency without the traditional roux or cream. From "The Spoonriver Cookbook."

• 11/2 lb. asparagus

• 1 tbsp. olive oil

• 1 leek or small onion, sliced

• 1 large potato, peeled and cut into large dice

• 3 c. chopped zucchini

• 4 c. vegetable stock

• Salt and pepper


Peel the asparagus. Cut off the tips and reserve. Cut the stalks into 1- to 2-inch pieces and set them aside.

Bring some water to a boil in a small pan, add the asparagus tips, reduce the heat, and simmer until done. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a soup pot and sauté the leek for a few minutes. Add the potato, zucchini and asparagus stalks and continue to sauté a few more minutes. Add the stock, bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for approximately 15 minutes. Purée the soup, working in small batches to prevent an explosion of hot liquid, and return it to the soup pot. Add the asparagus tips and season with salt and pepper. Heat for a few minutes and serve.

Nutrition information per each of 6 servings:

Calories 94 Fat 3 g Sodium 105 mg Saturated fat 0 g

Carbohydrates 17 g Calcium 39 mg

Protein 3 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 3 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1 bread/starch, 1/2 fat.



Serves 8.

Note: Kanten is a traditional Asian fruit dessert, refreshing and creamy, named after the dried seaweed setting agent used in the dish, also called agar (which works similar to gelatin). Agar can be found at food co-ops. At Spoonriver, the dessert is topped with fresh fruit and nuts, depending on the season. Here black cherry juice and coconut result in a brightly colored, flavorful dessert. Finish it with fresh strawberries. From "The Spoonriver Cookbook."

• 4 c. black cherry juice

• 5 tbsp. agar flakes (see Note)

• Pinch of salt

• 1 (15-oz.) can coconut milk


Pour the cherry juice into a saucepan. Add the agar flakes and the salt and bring the juice to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 3 minutes, stirring frequently, until the agar dissolves.

Pour the mixture into a bowl and refrigerate the mixture (called "kanten") until it sets, about 11/2 to 2 hours.

Put the kanten and the coconut milk in a blender and blend until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Pour the kanten into individual serving dishes. Serve it cold garnished with fresh fruit.

Nutrition information per serving:

Calories 130 Fat 11 g Sodium 46 mg Saturated fat 10 g

Carbohydrates 9 g Calcium 13 mg

Protein 1 g Cholesterol 0 mg Dietary fiber 1 g

Diabetic exchanges per serving: 1/2 fruit, 2 fat.