The Plan to Eat Podcast

#12: Spring Seasonal Foods with Joy Manning

March 23, 2022 Plan to Eat Season 1 Episode 12
#12: Spring Seasonal Foods with Joy Manning
The Plan to Eat Podcast
More Info
The Plan to Eat Podcast
#12: Spring Seasonal Foods with Joy Manning
Mar 23, 2022 Season 1 Episode 12
Plan to Eat

Spring is just around the corner and we can't wait for all the new fresh produce! This week, Riley and Roni are joined by Joy Manning, a food journalist and Edible Magazine editor, to go over what's coming into season in the Spring. Per usual, we share tons of recipes and Joy gives us some great tips for making simple meals with fresh produce. This episode is full of veggies on toast, veggies in pasta, and veggies to make pesto! We hope you enjoy!

Find the recipes Riley and Roni talk about in this episode:
Grilled Asparagus Subs with Smoky French Dressing
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Freeform Chicken Meatballs - a team favorite!
Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
Find all of Joy's recipes and articles on Epicurious here:

Connect with Joy:
Her website:
Her podcast, Local Mouthful:

Sign up for a free trial + get 20% off your first annual subscription:
Contact us:

Connect with us:

Show Notes Transcript

Spring is just around the corner and we can't wait for all the new fresh produce! This week, Riley and Roni are joined by Joy Manning, a food journalist and Edible Magazine editor, to go over what's coming into season in the Spring. Per usual, we share tons of recipes and Joy gives us some great tips for making simple meals with fresh produce. This episode is full of veggies on toast, veggies in pasta, and veggies to make pesto! We hope you enjoy!

Find the recipes Riley and Roni talk about in this episode:
Grilled Asparagus Subs with Smoky French Dressing
Antipasto Pasta Salad
Freeform Chicken Meatballs - a team favorite!
Strawberry Cream Cheese Pie
Find all of Joy's recipes and articles on Epicurious here:

Connect with Joy:
Her website:
Her podcast, Local Mouthful:

Sign up for a free trial + get 20% off your first annual subscription:
Contact us:

Connect with us:


I'm Riley and I'm Roni. And this is the plan to eat podcast, where we have conversations about meal planning, food, and wellness. To help you answer the question what's for dinner. 

Roni: Hello, everyone. Welcome to another episode of the Plan to Eat podcast. Today, we got to interview Joy Manning. She is a food journalist and editor based in south Philly, and we got to talk to her about spring seasonal foods.

Riley: This podcast covers so much juicy information about what's in season for spring, all the beautiful vegetables that are in season, how to cook them and some great recipes to try. 

Roni: We loved talking to Joy and we know you guys love this episode too.

Welcome Joy to the Plan to Eat podcast. We gonna want to get started today, just to get a little bit, get to know you a little bit.

Joy: well, that sounds very nice. Thank you, Roni. Thank you, Riley. It's great to be here with you both today. Um, [00:01:00] yeah. What do you want? 

Riley: Oh, I was just going to ask you just to tell us about yourself and your food journey.

Joy: Sure. I am a writer who focuses on food and health, and I have been. A very long time. I started my writing career in 2005 when I covered mostly restaurants at that, at that time, um, along the way I got to be also, I mean, I was always very interested in health, but, um, I sort of professionally merged them when I made a move to prevention magazine.

Is there a nutrition editor where I got to work on my two favorite topics? And then after that I became a full-time freelancer where I have been combining. Ever since I am an author, um, my most recent book is called, is our food killing us, which is every beat is up every bit as upbeat as it sounds spoiled.

The answer is yes. Um, and I do recipe development as well. I work on, uh, I work on cookbooks, sometimes mine, sometimes other people's. Um, I last year did a [00:02:00] big chunk of recipes for Joe Yonan forthcoming cookbook, which is going to be titled mastering the art of plant-based cooking. And I do. Yeah, journalism.

I am the editor of edible Philly and my work has appeared in places like the Washington post and the Philly Enquirer Enquirer. So yeah, that's sort of like where I am today, trying to bring all of my interests together, uh, um, at the intersection of food and health. 

Riley: I love the way that communicate so fully. What you do. I love that.

Roni: Got a lot of irons in the fire. 

Joy: Usually, yeah, I'm trying to consolidate my irons. It's one of my 2022 resolutions. 

Riley: I love that that's, uh, it's fun to do what you love. Um, but sometimes you do have to consolidate.

Joy: yeah.

Riley: Yup. So how did you become a food critic?

Joy: Um, As I mentioned, I started writing about food and restaurants in 2005. I actually had started at that. It was a city regional magazine I [00:03:00] had started the year before. Copy editor, um, you know, making sure that every word in the magazine adheres to the style guidelines and catching every little, um, typo, which is, you know, I thought that I thought it was a great job and it is a great job.

But as I was involved in the life of the magazine, I just found myself gravitating more toward the restaurant and food content. Restaurants are really fun. Um, my husband and I had always really. Going to restaurants who doesn't. And this was at a time when in media budgets were becoming trimmer and trimmer and they were eliminating the position of food editor at the magazine where I worked. I had said at the time I raised my hand, I said, um, let's just add food editor onto the job I already have. So I can do this more interesting staff. I think I, I can do it. I like to work hard. I love to work long hours. You know, I was a crazy young person and, uh, that's what [00:04:00] happened, you know? And then I did that job for several years.

I really loved it. I met a lot of chefs. Um, I wasn't exactly doing restaurant criticism in that role. It was more than. Dining scene reporting. But then my next move was to Philadelphia magazine as their restaurant critic, which is a job. Everybody thinks they would love, but is hard, less pleasant than it sounds.

Let's put it that way. I did it for perhaps three years and I realized a couple of things. One of them was I want it to be more of a cheerleader for restaurants than a critic. I really want it to build up these small businesses that were so passionate about the same thing that I was passionate about rather than sort of tear them down.

Um, and I was really interested in the cooking part of it. I would find myself talking to chefs, just asking them my cause I always interviewed the chef for the review and I would find. Myself spending a lot of time just [00:05:00] getting the nitty gritty details of how they made X, Y, or Z things not so that I could write about it in the review, but so that I could make it.

And then I went to, from there to tasting table, which was an online culinary publication where I could. Do the exact kind of work. I, uh, was the founding editor of the, there at the time, there was an edition of the email publication called chefs, recipes edition. And I worked every week with a different chef to create a recipe for the home cook.

And that was very fun. But at that point I was, I guess, in my middle thirties, and I was starting to think about my health and, um, I had always been interested in. And then when I got the opportunity to make the leap to prevention, magazine, as nutrition editor to cover, um, the health aspects of food, I jumped at that chance.

And that was basically my last full-time role. I, um, went from there to becoming a freelancer where I was able to [00:06:00] do everything I had ever done before at the same time. So today I write recipes for books and magazines and websites. I write health articles for health insurance companies and, you know, consumer publications alike.

I write restaurant content for open table, which is the reservation platform that you probably know in love. Um, and many other random things.

Riley: Oh, that's amazing.

Joy: the whole story.

Riley: I love that. You said, yeah. I love that about you didn't want to criticize, you wanted to be cheerleader for these companies or these restaurants. I

Joy: Yes. That's the type of thing you don't quite get until you start doing it. It didn't feel good to be picking apart a restaurant for, you know, they, there was a shell in the, in the crab dish, you know, which is the type of human mistake that anybody could make. Or there was a. You know, some [00:07:00] issue, some small issue with like their table linens, you know, it was, that was my job at the time, but it didn't feel great.

Roni: with all of these things that you've done in the food world, what do you feel like has been your most favorite? 

Joy: I think my most favorite thing is anything that I can do, whether it is, um, an article or a recipe that empowers people to take charge of their health in their home kitchen.

Riley: That certainly resonates with us because we are totally all about people cooking at home and just taking control of that aspect of their life. And, um, just really like, I dunno, kind of going back to the good old days, like where everybody ate at home and cooked for themselves. So we're all about that.

Joy: not only a huge health upgrade. It's a huge quality of life upgrade.

That's how, I mean, that's how I feel about it. Like for me in our house, dinner is a special occasion every day.

Riley: That's awesome. I bet you about you cook really fancy meals for your family

Joy: Sometimes. Yes. And sometimes no, sometimes they're pretty simple tonight. We're going to have a black bean post status, which are pretty easy [00:08:00] to put together, but very tasty.

Roni: So the main thing that we wanted to bring you here to talk about is seasonal eating. Um, anybody who has been listening to the Plan to Eat podcast this year knows that we are going to do a four part series where we talk about each season. Um, and right now we're talking about spring. And so we just kind of want to hear kind of your stance on seasonal eating and maybe some of the things that you do to eat seasonally. 

Joy: I am a big fan of seasonal eating. I am a Farmer's market regular, uh, you know, uh, CSA regular. I love to visit a farm when I can. I'm a big fan, not only of local and seasonal produce, but sort of any kind of artisan food product that I can get my hands on. I think. Fun and good to support your local economy.

And I happen to think that when it comes to fruits and vegetables like local and seasonal, you're not going to do any better in terms [00:09:00] of flavor. It's just not possible.

Riley: wholeheartedly agree with that

Joy: Yeah. And a lot of times costs flies.

Riley: when you break it down, it's pretty interesting. Um, to find that to be true, I think it's, I think it's that there's a misnomer that eating local and in season would be more expensive. Um, why do you think that is.

Joy: I think that there, it definitely can be. Um, so it depends a lot on the specific farm, the practices they're using the ingredient and the time of year, but certainly where I live. I live in Philadelphia in the summertime. Uh, majorly good price on say tomatoes or blueberries at the height of their season strawberries.

Um, and I think that misconception comes from, um, artificially low prices sometimes that we have at the supermarket because of commodity products and, um, you know, subsidies. I do think if you shop smart, like there are ways to shop the farmer's market, get to [00:10:00] really get great deals. If you ask a farmer for bulk bulk buys, for example, like a whole flat of some kind of produce that you want to can say, or store in your freezer, that can be a huge source of savings, or they call them seconds, which are slightly imperfect versions of whatever it is.

They can also be a huge value. A lot of that, you can learn that. It's an of that by getting to know your farmers and asking them questions. Um, so I would say that's the biggest way to save money. And I think most people don't necessarily know about that. So that might be one reason why it seems like it can cost a lot more.

Um, yeah. And I think when you go to the regular supermarket, you, um, you just miss that, you just don't get the opportunity to interact with the people that are producing the food and learning the learning that comes with that.

Oh, I did want to mention all of this supply chain stuff that's happening right now.

And prices at the supermarket are going up so much prices at the farmer's market and they're not really going up. So they've become more competitive recently.

Riley: that's [00:11:00] awesome. 

Joy: So I would encourage people to take a second. Look, if it's been a while, since they checked out prices at their local farmer's market.

Riley: We live in Colorado. And I think that, um, we do have a winters farmer, winter farmer's market. But it's just not as popular as the summer one. So even just remembering that you can do a year round with another little tip cause then the people could go and, go go now,

Joy: Oh, yeah. 

I've been hitting up my winter farmer's market it's every other week. It's actually not going to happen this weekend because it's going to snow. But every other weekend I have been there and there's a farmer who grows greens, like beautiful spinach in their greenhouse. Uh there's you know, I got little baby kohlrabi there recently with the leaves all still attached and it was so delicious.

That's what you cannot, you can't even see that at a farm or at a regular supermarket. You don't never, that never crosses your path.

Roni: Not at all. Now, one of the things that I think I've made as a mistake of like shopping of, uh, thinking that the farmer's market is way more expensive is I'll do a lot of my produce shopping at the [00:12:00] farmer's market. And then I'll go to the regular grocery store and buy extra things at the grocery store because I'm.

You know, then filling up my cart with the regular produce. And so then, you know, that week I maybe spent way more on groceries than I normally would have. And it was just kind of the like mindlessness of filling on my cart with extra things. Since there wasn't filled up with the produce that I had already purchased. 

Joy: I almost never go to what you would call a regular supermarket. I go to a farmer's market. I have a, we have a, a company here in Philadelphia called, um, Philly food works and they are kind of a hub that connects farmers with consumers. So it's not just one farm that you're subscribed to. It's a network of farms and every week their store goes live on Friday morning.

You can pick up. Out, whatever you want from what's available and then they deliver it to your house. You know, mine comes on Wednesday, so that's my main source of food. And then I go to the farmer's market that I just mentioned to you every other week. And we have a food co-op in my [00:13:00] neighborhood. So those are my main places that I go to buy groceries.

And I'm never like staring down an aisle of toothpaste while I'm shopping for food.

Riley: That's a really special situation that you're in a lot of people, aren't in a situation that's quite so good, but I think if they look for that in their area, they're going to find more of that than they expect.

Joy: Right. It's kind of shocking how farmer's market has have proliferated over the past 10 years, my mother lives in a suburban part of Philadelphia. And for many years there was no legitimate producers, only farmer's market, but now she has one of the best farmer's markets in the region, very close to her house.

Uh, so I think that it's more available than you might think.

Roni: I noticed in some of the research that we have done about seasonal eating, but, uh, I mean, in Colorado, There's lots of websites to be able to locate your local farmer's market. You know, it's like CO, farmer's or something like is the, is the website. And so I bet most states have something like that where it makes it really easy to find things that are local. 

Joy: Yeah. And if you're not in the [00:14:00] city, it stands to reason that it will be in a more suburban or rural area. In which case you may be near like actual farms and many farms sell their, whatever they produce right on the farm, which would be something that I would not, I would be checking out my local farms.

If I lived in a place that had local farms.

Riley: Yeah. There's one right down the street from Roni. They grow it right there and then they sell it in the little stand. It's beautiful. Yeah. I think one of my favorite things about food is the community aspect of it is just getting to share food with friends and just the enjoyment that

Joy: remember that it's been a while

Riley: Oh, oh, right. Yeah. It has

been awhile. Um,

Joy: all.

Riley: Yes. Yeah. But I was just going to say to the farmer's market has a similar feeling. I love the energy of a farmer's market and going with other people in your community, that the community aspect is there in a similar way, is if you're sharing food over a

Joy: Oh, 

yeah, it's been so important to me during this pandemic, especially this winter is farmer's market is hardly crowded, but just being able to see and talk to the producers themselves, like sometimes that's the most social interaction I get in the [00:15:00] week and I really appreciate it.

Riley: That's awesome.

So are there are foods that you're, are you really strictly an in-season eater or are you willing to go out of season for certain things? Like if they were grown in a greenhouse, I guess, how do you decide what you're going to eat out of

Joy: I am not rigid about it at all. Um, I get whatever kind of local seasonal things that I can get. And then if I want anything else, I just buy it.

Like, I, it's not unusual for me to have a carton of cherry tomatoes in January or February or March. Um, I will try to seek out organic because of the environmental impacts of conventional farming, but I'm not even religious about that.

You know, I'm not going to beat myself up over buying. Broccoli. I think it's more important to eat a lot of vegetables than it is to like eat. Be perfect about the vegetables you eat.

Riley: Well, I think there's some freedom in that, for sure. For our listeners who I, that's much more how I eat. That's much more how [00:16:00] we cook at our house. And so, um, I think it's encouraging for people to know that it's okay to do that and not. Pigeonhole people into only eating the foods that are in season. 

Joy: I mean, some people do that and if that is something that gives you satisfaction. My hat is off to you, but for me, the top priority is eating a lot of vegetables. And I would never discourage someone from buying vegetables because maybe they have a Walmart as their main store. And maybe there's not a great selection of organic produce.

Like eat, eat the non-organic produce like an eat. A lot of it. That's my take. 

Roni: I think that's great advice. One thing that we, you know, have talked about, um, particularly with eating, uh, vegetables in the winter and stuff is like, it's still okay to seek out like the frozen vegetables. Like a lot of them, you know, are flash frozen. 

Joy: frozen vegetables are excellent. 

Roni: Yeah, they're still retaining a lot of their nutrients and everything. It doesn't have to be just not, you know, something or nothing. 

Joy: One thing I learned as [00:17:00] a restaurant critic has all of those wonderful Brussels sprouts dishes you get at a restaurant, even fancy restaurants. They're almost always made with frozen Brussels sprouts for frozen Brussels sprouts can be fried roasted, you know, like frozen broccoli, I think is always excellent.

It's smart to always have frozen spinach, which can be so convenient. I love frozen kale or when I can get it. Yeah. I'm all for the frozen veggies.

Riley: it's really helpful. Particularly when you can't get stuff from a farmer's market, if it's the dead of winter or you've lived somewhere where that's just not available, do you find, I guess, what tips do you have for people who are trying to transition to a diet? That's more vegetable heavy.

Joy: I would say try different things. There's many vegetables out there, and most people only eat, like, I don't know, three or four types of plants. Um, exposure. Herself to the information. I think if you start reading about health and nutrition, it becomes more and more obvious that eating vegetables is sort of the [00:18:00] most powerful prescription.

You can have to prevent the chronic diseases that most Americans frankly end up having. Um, for me, like the more I know, the easier it is for me to make decisions and, um, I just, I would say look to different recipe sources. I have a lot of great plant-based cookbooks. There's many websites dedicated to plant-based cooking. Um, Just see what's out there. Don't be afraid to experiment.

Roni: I think one of the things that holds a lot of people back is maybe a lack of cooking skills or knowing the best way to prepare certain vegetables. Um, do you have like some, some tips or maybe like some favorite ways that are a little more universal as far as preparing your vegetables? 

Joy: Sure. Well, I think there is no perfect way to prepare any particular vegetable, but one thing that a lot of people tend to like is a roasted vegetable. So I think crank your oven to four 50, um, get whatever vegetable you have, like sweet potato broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels [00:19:00] sprouts, cabbage, many most vegetables can be roasted.

Um, toss it with enough olive oil, just to film it, salt and pepper. Spread it out on your baking sheet and then cook it until it's brown around the edges. Which will vary depending on the vegetable, but most people really like that. And you can do like two big trays of it in the weekend and put it in the refrigerator.

And now you have something that you can stick in a pita with hummus, for a sandwich, or add to a salad, um, or heat up from the microwave and have it as a side dish. If you're having, you know, something else, um,puree it and do it into a dip with garlic and tahini sauce, like a roasted vegetable hummus, like put it on top of a pizza.

It's, it's very easy. It just makes your cooking life easier.

Riley: Yeah. Do you do a lot of meal prep at your house? Like that things 

Joy: Yes, I do. I like to do some prep on the weekends so that I have grab and go things. I always like to do a grain. I like, I do like to have a roasted vegetables if possible. Um, I like to make a sauce. You know, I, vegan ranch is one of my favorite, um, all purpose [00:20:00] sauces. It's good for the carrot sticks where like a snack or, you know, of course it makes it very easy to have that.

I'll add, you can dip roasted potatoes in it. And then this past week I made it to chimichurri. I'd be back to chimichurri, which is that spicy garlicky, vinegary herb sauce, um, from south America, which I have had on black beans and just seared slabs of Tempe. Um, and it's. It just makes it more fun. I think I a sauce makes food, more fun in general.

Um, and then if you, if you have a salad green it's, sometimes it helps to chop your salad up ahead. So you can just like grab it and put it in a bowl with your pre-made dressing and yeah. So yes, I'm a big fan of prepping ahead.

Riley: I love chimichurri, I think at the great transition into the list of spring seasonal vegetables. Um, because herbs is one of the it's in season for spring. Yeah. That was actually on my list. I love chimichurri. So, the list is artichokes, asparagus, broccoli rabe, or raphini [00:21:00] carrots, fava beans, herbs, leaks, peas, radishes, rhubarb, spinach, and strawberries I love spring love spring, cause that's a great list.

Joy: yeah. I think it depends a lot on where you are. You know, I always get so excited for spring and March and April. And very few of those things are actually there right away, but you know, they're coming, it's a, it is an exciting time for when you love local food.

Roni: that's the same for us living in a little cooler climate, little higher altitude climate. We definitely don't start seeing some of these things until a little like late spring. 

Joy: Um, I think asparagus is one of the first things that comes up that gets me super excited in the spring time. And my favorite thing to do, or one of my favorite things to do with spring asparagus is to make it into a pesto. Um, I'm not sure when this episode is publishing, but I just wrote a recipe for asparagus pesto for the website.

Epicurious. If the timing works out, I'll see if the link is available, I'll send it to you so you can share it. But it's really easy. You just [00:22:00] basically put your asparagus in the blender with some basil and nuts and olive oil and salt and lemon juice. And then you have a delicious sauce for pasta or B. Also after I had leftovers from testing and I also use it on a pizza instead of, um, a red sauce. So that was a great one. 

Roni: Really.

Joy: asparagus is a great one to roast too. As I described a little.

Roni: I have really fond memories with asparagus because, I don't know, it just our area, uh, we live, I mean, kind of in the north of the Denver Metro area, but we still have lots of like, like irrigation, ditches that lead to farms and stuff. And growing up, there was always like a couple of irrigation ditches that we would, we knew the asparagus grew wild in and we would go and like park the car out and cut a whole bunch of asparagus and take it home and eat it. So I love

Joy: I have no such memories growing up in Philadelphia, but that 

Riley: Funny. Yeah. And so my husband grew up in Eastern Colorado and worked on farms and stuff like that. [00:23:00] And we were driving out to visit some of his old friends one time and he's like, do you know what that is? And I just looked out in this field and I was like, no, I have no idea. And it was in the field of asparagus.

I don't, I'd never seen that before. So it's funny that you talked about that because that's kind of connected to my husband's childhood a little bit too. It was just wild to see a whole field of asparagus.

Joy: You all have the good asparagus there in color. 

No, nothing wrong, nothing wrong with our Southeastern Pennsylvania asparagus. Although I did just eat some very out of season asparagus from Peru or something as I was working on that recipe, because that's what I mean, what are you going to do?

Riley: Yeah, that fresh. Any of these that are just. They just taste so good, particularly strawberry, like straight off the vine when they were just beautiful and red and I'm the owner of Plan to Eat. It actually has a backyard full of strawberries. And so sometimes we'll have work meetings over at his house and go outside and grab some strop, fresh strawberries and just eat them straight

out shapes straight from being picked. 

Joy: if you've never had a ripe, locally [00:24:00] grown strawberry, it's kind of like, you've never had a strawberry, I think they're that different.

Riley: Yeah, pretty life-changing

Joy: Yeah. And when I get those, I don't really do a lot to.

Roni: Yeah. It's best to just eat them straight off of the plant. Sometimes we get like the Alpine, like if you're hiking in the area around here. We have like Alpine strawberries too, which are like small and a little tart. They're really good. 

Joy: You're uh, you're like a forger, Roni. 

Roni: have some friends who are like actual foragers. So I do not consider myself that at all.

Joy: I don't think I've ever picked a food that I've eaten myself in my life. I'm a real city slicker.

Riley: I guess that's a good question for you. How do you, um, how do you make this? I get, you've talked about this a bit, with your CSA and things along those lines, but for people who are really new to this and they live in a city, would you be, what would your be? Oh my gosh, I can't speak. Um, what would your advice be to them?

Joy: I actually think that most of us in cities are very [00:25:00] well hooked up because there are typically many farmer's markets and, uh, CSAs and buying clubs. It's often just a matter of like asking, um, just ask on Facebook or Google, my city farmer's markets or my city local vegetables, or. It, you know, edible magazines are all over the country.

If you live in my area and you pick up edible Philly, like you're going to get a fire hose of information on local food in any issue. Um, so I think it's, it's not that I think being in the city doesn't necessarily make you disconnected from your local food shed. Even if the farms are like 50 miles away, there's usually infrastructure to bring the food to you.

Riley: Yeah. As somebody who's never lived in a city. I think my envisionment of it is probably naive, but also I just envision all these people with window boxes and trying to grow their own little mini gardens on their rooms and things

Joy: There's some of that. Some people are actually really great at [00:26:00] it. We grew a few things, a few edible things. And when I say we, I mean, my husband, I would never, I, I don't have kind of a black thumb, but he grew arugula and spinach that like really lasted into the cold weather. And that was fun.

Riley: That's awesome. My grandmother lives in Georgia and she was picking vegetables from her garden, um, even into early December. And it's wild. It's wild. How, how varying growing seasons are across the country?

Joy: so true. That's something you learned about when you shop the farmer's market, you get to know the rhythm of when things are coming.

Actually during the whole pandemic, it really sort of like helped me keep track of time and give me, it gave me something to like really look forward to, you know, the strawberries are coming, you know, and then in the fall, the squash are going to start showing up. 

Roni: did you have any, you mentioned your asparagus pesto, which sounds super yummy. Do you have any other favorite ways to eat spring seasonal produce? 

Joy: Yeah. [00:27:00] I mean, another one that I love in the spring is peas. I don't know if you had peas on your list, but those are extremely delicious. I think just like steamed or boiled with a little bit of butter or vegan butter and salt as a, just like a very springy treat. You can also match them up and put them on toast for like a pea toast.

They make a wonderful pasta filling. If you're. And your own homemade, fresh pasta I am really into lately. Um, you can also sort of, um, mix them with salads. I think that sometimes when you get like a super fresh pea at the farmer's market is so sweet and non-starchy that you can just like eat them raw on salad.

You mentioned artichokes, which are wonderful. Just simply steamed the thing is. Very fresh, seasonal vegetables. A lot of times the preparation, the simpler, the better, you know, you don't want to be like taking some beautiful seasonal produce and like slathering it and some kind of heavy sauce or cooking it to [00:28:00] death in the oven.

So yeah, I guess that's my take as a simple approach, really lets them shine.

Riley: Well, the thing I love about eating seasonally is how, um, just the flavor of the veggie itself is so bright and beautiful. And so I think that that pairs really well with that, because when you're eating things and seasons, you don't have to cook them to death or over-season them because they just taste so good already.

Joy: Yes. I totally agree with that. And I mean, herbs are wonderful. You can basically chop any kind of herb and add it or vinegarette for that freshness and flavor or blended into a pesto. Pesto's one of my favorite all purpose. You can make pesto with kind of anything you pick up at the farmer's market, in my opinion.

Um, but herbs are obviously a great choice for that. And, um, yeah, as strawberries, as I said, I would never cook a strawberry. I don't think beautiful seasonal strawberry. Maybe put them in some ice cream. That's about as far as far as I would go with that and your cereal, I like them on [00:29:00] pancakes or waffles,

Roni: maybe, maybe people don't necessarily know what to do with a broccoli Rabe wrap 

Joy: Oh broccoli, Rob. Yeah. I wanted to talk about that. That's one of my favorites. It's a very Italian American, it's an Italian American staple and I really love it. And I think this, this is something I learned from a chef in one of my many conversations with chefs that had nothing to do with my restaurant reviews is you always want to blanche it.

First in a little bit of art, a lot of boiling water. You want to salt your water and then blanch it just maybe two minutes or so, and then drain it. And then. To me, the only way to cook it. It's a saute it briefly and olive oil with tons of garlic and maybe some red pepper flakes. And it is really just the best I can.

I would be hard pressed to name a vegetable. I like more it's the perfect, it's great on its own wonderful on toast, which is you're seeing it's a theme with me or with Pasa also a theme.

Riley: And that sounds awesome. I'm gonna have to [00:30:00] try that myself. I think I've only cooked it one or two times and I certainly didn't blanch it. So I'll have to start there this, this next time I do it.

Joy: Blanching and takes away any bitterness from it that's it can really make a big difference. A lot of people think they don't like broccoli rabe because it is a little bitter, but blanching just sort of removes that and makes it a much more lovable vegetable. You can also make pesto out of it.

It does it really, it does make a great pesto.

Roni: The title of this podcast will be put your vegetables on toast or make pesto. 

Joy: Yes

Riley: And then put it on pasta.

Joy: yeah. Vegetables and carbs are my life and beans.

Riley: So what about fava beans? What do you, what do you have for that?

Joy: I have to be perfectly honest with you. I am never buying a fava bean at the farmer's market because of how labor intensive they are to prep. Peel them that you, you know, they're in a pod, so you have to take them out of the pod, but then every being has a skin on it [00:31:00] that you have to peel off and it's not easy.

So I love to cook, but I don't want to be in my kitchen for hours, like painstakingly, peeling, the skins off fava beans. So you can find them frozen. What I would suggest if you live in a place that has restaurants that focus on local food is to make sure you get out in the spring time and enjoy their fava based dishes because 

Riley: And tip them well, because they worked really hard on it.

Joy: yeah.

Yeah. Prep cooks do not love fava bean season. I'm sure. But, um, I can't lie to you and I have done it for work at times, but I'm not doing it on purpose for myself. And if you want to fall in love with cooking. I wouldn't necessarily recommend it unless the idea appeals to you. Some people can make it meditative for them, but not me. 

Riley: Good. Everybody knows fava beans, or maybe, maybe we get that from, from local restaurants.

Joy: You do sometimes see at a farmer's market, enterprising farmer will go [00:32:00] through all the prep for you and sell it to you in a Ziploc bag. For an astronomical price, but worth it.

Riley: Good to know, noted.

Roni: It is good to, I mean, that is good to know because if somebody sees, you know, fava beans, unless they're like, I've never had this, I'm going to go buy some and then they buy them and they're like, well, that was a waste of money because I am not going to spend an hour getting these ready to cook. So it's probably good information to know that these are labor intensive.

And if you don't want to be a lay of burn intensive cook, not your sauce. 

Joy: I just want to be honest. It's one of also, I hate taking the leaves off thyme. You know, when you get that's something else, I will do it. I will, it's not like fava beans. I will do it, but I don't love it. And back when I ate animal products, I did not want to be peeling shrimp.

Riley: You know, that's exactly where my mind went because, um, I'm actually recording this from my in-law's house. And, um, last night we had a big, you know, just not big family, but a few family members over for dinner and we bought shrimp with the tail on. And so. Cooking them to go in something. And so I [00:33:00] personally pulled the tail off of about, I don't know, maybe 75 shrimp to quite a

Joy: Who was this? Did, did they have the shell on or did you get them without the shell on,

Riley: They did have, they were without the shell, but they had the tail. So I did have half the half the work done for me, but still it took quite a while just to get the tail off, but, you know, losing half your shrimp, you know, by just ripping it off.

Joy: Yeah. That's not a fun kitchen prep job either. But like when I'm telling you blanching your broccoli rabe is no big deal. It's really not that big of a deal. And if you are going to serve it with pasta, you boil that water or you put your broccoli rabe there for a minute or two, you take your spider or your spot at slightest spoon, you remove it out.

Now your water is boiling for your pasta that, you know,


Riley: that's great. Yeah. So fava beans steer away from broccoli rabe, go for it.

Joy: Unless you feel like it, if you want to do it, do it, but I'm just telling you I don't do it.

Riley: No, I, we are, our listeners are a lot of moms and dads who cook for their [00:34:00] families. And so saving them time. It's a high priority for us. So if we can give them that great bit of advice, then it's, we're happy about it. what are your favorite spring seasonal recipes? 

Roni: Uh, spare get, and we'll talk about asparagus again. I had this recipe in my account that's for, uh, grilled asparagus, that you put on, like, you make a sandwich and you make this smoky French dressing that you put on the sandwich with the grilled asparagus. And that is really yummy. Really good for like lunch kind of a sandwich. Um, And I have a recipe that, um, joy, you don't know this, but all of our listeners have heard me talking about this recipe multiple times, because it's my all time favorite recipe and, it's, uh, chicken meatballs, and then you roast carrots and you make a lemon yogurt sauce. and so, you know, carrots, lemons or lemons are still a little bit in season in the spring. So, uh, it's just, it's an amazing recipe. And every time. Somebody who's looking for a new recipe. It's the first recipe that I send them. Cause it's so yummy. 

Joy: It's good to have [00:35:00] your favorites.

Riley: We've talked about the recipe a lot of times I've made it several times myself. It's very good. Yeah. So the first thing I thought of when I looked at this list was a good Rizutto with, uh, with artichokes and peas and spinach in it. Really yummy. That was my first thing.

Joy: peas a pea risotto is a thing of beauty for sure.

Riley: Yeah, it is. Um, my niece made me some in the instant pot a couple of weeks ago, and that was really yummy and so fast.

Joy: I always make my risotto in the instant pot. Now I haven't made it the traditional way in years.

Riley: You know, I still, I'm still doing it the traditional way, but after I saw her make it in the instant pot and I realized how hands-off it was because if you've never made risotto, it's a lot of stirring, a lot of babysitting, a lot of, you know, getting your moisture levels. Right. And things like that. Um, the, so the Instapot was so hands-off, it really made me want to do it that way.

Joy: I actually think the instant pot makes the risotto better because the reason you're doing all that staring as you're agitating, the grains of rice to release the start well in the pressure cooker, they're under so much pressure that the starches, [00:36:00] all the starches released and you get a very beautifully creamy risotto.

And I don't know how, um, when you saw it. Recently they did it, but my recipe I follow, it takes only you set the pressure cooker for seven minutes. Maybe it takes five minutes to come to pressure. Maybe it takes five minutes for you to prep the few things that you need to prep. So the whole thing is done in 20 minutes.

Riley: That my friends is significantly faster than when you make it on the stove top.

Joy: Yes. And it does feel fancy when you're done. It's still fancy risotto. I would say though, for if you're going to do a risotto with spinach and peas, I will. Particularly if I was doing it an instant pot, I would do the risotto first and then put the spinach and the peas in at the end just to warm through and melt and wilt down.

So you weren't like annihilating the, these delicate spring vegetables in the pressure cooker.

Riley: That's great advice. Another recipe that I had was on antipasto salad with artichokes and, um, any kind of herbs you like, but I would probably go with, [00:37:00] basil. And you could even add, you could even add whatever else you want into that spinach and peas you could add and make it a really seasonal antipasto salad.

Um, and then a strawberry cream cheese pie with fresh strawberries, not cooked. We had the strawberry cream, cream, cheese pie at a restaurant in Hawaii, uh, several, several years ago. And it's been my mission to recreate it. And I think I've finally found a recipe that just does it justice.

Joy: have a question is a cream cheese pie, a cheesecake.

Riley: No. Well. That's a good question. 

Joy: What's the difference? 

Riley: Well, it's not that you don't bake it, so it's not like a baked cheesecake, I suppose you can do a no-bake cheesecake also. 

Joy: Just wondering when you were saying cream cheese pie. I was like, I've never heard of that. There's not a lot of food in the world. I haven't heard of what is a cream cheese pie. And then I thought, oh, I think it's a cheesecake.

Riley: Since you're a professional, let me run it past you and you can tell me what makes it different. Um, it's like a Graham cracker crust, and then it's like a cream cheese. Um, and [00:38:00] what's in the 

Joy: It's no bake though. 

You said right? I would call it a 

no-bake cheesecake.

Riley: Let's see. So it's cream cheese and powdered sugar and vanilla and a little bit of heavy whipping cream to just soften it a lot and really get it like really smooth and creamy.

Um, you pour that into the pie crust and then you top it with strawberries and then you refrigerate it. So it's 

Joy: That's what I would think of it as, but you know what? Naming recipes is part of the fun. So if the person who created that recipe felt the pie vibes and that's their prerogative.

I was just trying to place it in my brain.

Roni: Maybe this person just really likes pie, like pie is they're number one and cake is secondary. So like we're going to call everything pie if we can. 

Joy: But it's delicious, which is the most 

important thing. 

Riley: it's very delicious. Um, You know, you're a professional foodie. And so I got a little nervous when you asked me that question, because I felt like I was on the spot and I didn't know the answer.

Joy: We were just thinking it all through.

I was like, what kind of professional and I, that I've never heard of cream cheese pie. I might find out it's a whole category of [00:39:00] desserts and I just don't know anything about.

Riley: Maybe you can get back to us if you learn something about that, but, maybe next time you're at a restaurant and your interest is piqued. It'll be on a menu and you can order it 

Roni: I don't think I have any additional questions now. So joy. Do you want to then just give us a little rundown of where people can find you if they want to connect with your writing or your articles or anything like that? 

Joy: So I just want to say thanks again for having me. It was so fun to talk spring produce. I'm really, really excited that it's coming eventually. I mean, of course it's not a secret. You were recording in advance. So hopefully by the time this airs, we'll all be up to our eyeballs in asparagus at least.

Yes. And if you want to follow along on my home, cooking adventure, please follow me on Instagram at joy Manning. That's really the best place to keep up with what I do. I sort of post all of my, my stuff there. I also do have, I was telling, uh, Roni Riley, before we [00:40:00] started recording that my phone podcast is on hiatus .

But you can still listen to it for lots of great home cooking advice. Um, it's called local mouthful and you can find it anywhere. Podcasts are given away for free there's I think more than 300 episodes.

Riley: Oh, that's awesome. And a great resource for our listeners. Thank you for sharing that. What, what about your work with Epicuious 

Joy: Oh, right. Yes. I actually just wrapped up a trio of plant-based recipes for this spring season. One of them being the asparagus, uh, Pesto that we discussed. And I hope that if it publishes in time, we can share the link in the show notes. I will keep you posted. And of course, if not, just follow me on Instagram, I'll be shouting it out there as well.

Riley: Awesome. That sounds fantastic. . 

Roni: Well, thank you so much for joining us today. Joy. We have loved it and you have been a joy. 

Joy: It's been my pleasure.

Roni: Thank you for listening to this episode. If you want to connect with all of the recipes that we have mentioned in this episode, previous episodes and any episodes in the future, we now have a plan to eat account and [00:41:00] you can get access to all of the recipes that we've ever talked about on the podcast 

Riley: simply go to And you can automatically connect with that account and get all of our favorite recipes. 

Roni: Thanks again, and we'll see you in the next episode.