Honeyed Carrots and Grapes make a great accompaniment for ham or smoked pork chops. Another might be asparagus, broccoli or split green beans.
The time for a spring vegetable festival is whenever the refrigerator vegetable storage drawer is down to odds and ends. Use almost any combination. If you have a few small red-skinned potatoes on hand, start with those; they go well with almost any other vegetable. For such vegetable combinations, start with the slowest cooking vegetable and when it's about half tender, add the more delicate vegetables.
HONEYED CARROTS AND GRAPES
4 medium carrots
1 cup halved seedless sweet green grapes
1 1/2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Peel carrots and cut in half crosswise. Slice upper halves into 4 strips, lower halves into 2 or 3 strips. Then, cut crosswise into 1-inch lengths (or cut carrots into thin, diagonal slices). Cut grapes in halves and set aside.
In oven-glass 1-cup measure, microwave butter on HIGH 1 minute. Stir in honey, salt, lemon juice and cinnamon. Set aside.
Microwave carrots in 1-quart covered cooking dish with 1/4 cup water on HIGH 5 to 6 minutes or until carrots can barely be pierced with fork. Let stand, covered, 3 minutes. Drain. Meanwhile, microwave sauce on HIGH 30 seconds to 1 minute. Stir sauce into carrots. Fold in grapes. Microwave on HIGH 30 seconds to 1 minute, just to serving temperature. Makes 4 servings.
SPRING VEGETABLE FESTIVAL
4 to 6 small new potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup water
1 small yellow summer squash, cut into 1/4-inch slices
1/4 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1/2 teaspoon sugar
Microwave potatoes in 1-quart covered casserole with about 1/2 cup water on HIGH 3 to 4 minutes. Drain. Add squash, asparagus and butter to taste. Microwave on HIGH, covered, about 3 minutes or until tender-crisp. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Add 1/2 teaspoon sugar. Cover and let stand 2 or 3 minutes. Makes 2 to 3 servings.
Note: If desired, add dash minced dill, chives or parsley to fresh vegetable combinations at end of cooking.
ASPARAGUS WITH WATER CHESTNUTS
1 pound asparagus
5 or 6 water chestnuts, sliced
2 tablespoons oil
1 small clove garlic, peeled and split
Rinse asparagus. Snap off tough ends and discard. Place several stalks side by side on cutting board. With sharp knife, slice diagonally into 1-inch pieces. If using fresh water chestnuts, peel and drop into cup cold water.
In 1 1/2-quart covered casserole, microwave oil and garlic on HIGH about 1 minute. Remove dish from oven and crush garlic with fork, stirring to release flavor into oil. Discard garlic. Add asparagus slices. Microwave, covered, on HIGH about 4 minutes, stirring once, until tender-crisp.
Meanwhile, slice water chestnuts. Stir into hot asparagus and heat about 30 seconds longer. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve immediately. Makes 3 servings.