There’s a certain hum of excitement as spring approaches. Because of our long, snowy winters here in Colorado, the arrival of spring is always a little delayed, but over the past few weeks I’ve noticed that the quiet of winter has been replaced by the sounds of life. It starts before dawn as I rise early to make the coffee. I can hear the birds through the closed and locked windows singing to each other in the darkness and beckoning me to slide the glass open and see what all the fuss is about. Out in the potager, the chives are always the first to emerge, blooming in brilliant purple plumes that are covered in bees of all shapes and sizes. Soon the sugar peas will bloom on the garden fence. The chickens are laying again – with each egg, the noisy fanfare of celebration. Farmer’s markets are finally opening up again here, with the first asparagus, tiny strawberries, baby lettuces, radishes and turnips. I think it’s safe to say that spring is finally here.
This spring feels like butterflies of anticipation leading up to an imminent party. Tiny flowers, like traces of confetti, signaling a grand celebration. For the occasion, I wanted to revisit some of my favourite spring recipes. These are the dishes I look forward to making when the days get long and warm and the earth awakens from her quiet hibernation. After a dark winter, these bright, fresh recipes are more welcome than ever.
Continue reading “14 French Recipes to Welcome Spring”
This will likely be a very untraditional post. Like everyone else in the world, we’re confined to home for the (un)foreseeable future. When I sit down to write a blog post I often draw inspiration from past experiences, dreams, restaurant meals, what I’ve found in the farmer’s markets or at the grocery stores. But the markets are empty, restaurants are closed, I still have my dreams, and I still find much comfort in the kitchen cooking for my family, maybe more now than before. Cooking with only what we have on hand in the pantry is a bit of a game to me. I took time to organize the kitchen this week, rotating the old with the new. I’ve never liked to waste food, but now, when food seems to be scarce, it’s even more unbearable. I had a few stalks of asparagus in the fridge and half a bag of wild rice in the pantry and so this salad was born. If you don’t have asparagus your could substitute green beans and it would be just as good. Continue reading “Wild Rice and Asparagus Salad”
Fickle summer weather! It will be beautiful in the morning; I’ll wake up dreaming of lighting the grill, seasoning meat, pouring a glass of wine and cooking dinner outside while the kids run through the yard and the dog barks at the neighbor’s chickens, only to have the dream shattered mid-afternoon, when storms race in over the mountains and force us inside. Other days we wake up to a cool, cloudy drizzle and I think, there’s no way I could start the grill in weather like this. Only after I’ve panned a meal inside does the sun come out and the weather becomes perfect for grilling. The dichotomy of Colorado weather is that it can go from soggy to parched in a matter of hours, thanks to the elevation and the drying mountain winds. Sometimes we go weeks without even a drop of rain, and everything gets so dry that just the tiniest rogue spark from the grill’s coals could ignite a wildfire. On these days, all outdoor fires, including those in grills, are banned as a precaution. All of this poses a problem, because I’m a planner when it comes to cooking, and grilling so often must happen spontaneously. When the weather happens to be perfect, the stars align and I have all the essential ingredients to create a feast on the grill I have to seize the opportunity. That is, unless, I have something that works just as well on the grill as it does in the oven. That’s why I love this salmon. Each of these recipes can be made in either. Problem solved. Continue reading “Cedar Planked Salmon, Three Ways”
I often write about visiting my aunt and uncle’s farm when I was a child and how, every spring, we would forage for wild asparagus near the stream on the edge of the apple orchard. When I moved to Europe at 18 I was enthralled by the assortment and variety of asparagus available. The only asparagus I had ever known was that wild and wiry green variety that grew beneath the apple trees. At the markets in Pisa there were crates full of milky white asparagus, thick stalks of green asparagus with purple tips, and even a sweet variety that was entirely purple from tip to toe. How much fun I had learning to cook with them all! Continue reading “White Asparagus with Vinaigrette”
Cold summer salads are a staple in my kitchen. We have them nearly every single day when the weather heats up. In fact they’re one of the first things I start making when I’m impatient for the lazy days of summer to arrive. Perhaps it’s my way of trying to usher in the warmth and sunshine that seems so long overdue. I usually make them with pasta, but this bean salad is a great alternative that I’ve made several times already this spring. It’s packed full of protein and is something I can bring along on a picnic or serve as a side with grilled meat for dinner. It is best when made a few hours ahead, Continue reading “White Bean Salad with Asparagus”
Without a doubt, Thanksgiving is my favourite holiday! I dream of turkey and dressing and cornbread and pumpkins for weeks leading up to the day. Of course, when all the dishes are done and the tablecloth is in the washing machine, I start to realize that I like Christmas, maybe just a little more. All the sweets, breads, nuts and big cinnamon rolls for breakfast! I mean, how could Christmas NOT be your favourite holiday, really? Oh, but then… Champagne and caviar and oysters and fireworks and the promise of a blank slate and a fresh start in the year to come and I’m certain that New Years is, indeed, my favorite. But when the confetti settles, the house is cleaned, the windows are opened letting in the freshness of spring, I determine that, in fact, Easter must really be my favourite holiday. Continue reading “An Easter Menu”