When I was a kid there was an auto shop that ran an ad each spring “Spring has sprung the grass has ris, I wonder how my spark plugs is?” I have no idea what company it was, and a Google search was fruitless, nevertheless, the jingle has stuck with me. When people ask me I generally say autumn is my favorite season, but when spring gets going I am filled with hope and optimism and energy. I actually want to go outside. I also start feeling more inclined to eat things like salad, which I can’t bear when it’s cold out.
This year’s early spring is a stark contrast to last year’s when it seemed to stay cold forever. And though I feel a small degree of guilt for enjoying a mild winter, I am thrilled to be able to open my windows and turn off my heat (then turn it back on, then off again…). True, today it’s supposed to snow, then get up to 51 degrees, but that’s what spring does, it teases us, before it settles in and everything starts to bloom. Seeing flowers and new leaves unfurling wakes up my dormant appreciation for vegetables that grow above ground.
Last week we ate a giant salad for dinner, and tossed in pretty much everything we could. We started with a box of baby arugula (my current favorite boxed salad) and threw in feta, chick peas, artichoke hearts, baby cukes, grape tomatoes, all tossed with the simplest vinaigrette. As the weather turns warmer, salads are a great addition to any meal. If you’re looking for some festive salads to grace your Easter table you might like this French lentil salad, or this baby kale with sweet potatoes. Another way to celebrate the transition from winter to spring is using the first vegetables of the season is a risotto primavera, hearty enough for cool nights and light enough for warmer ones.
As the weather warms it’ll be time to head back to the farmers’ markets and take advantage of all the season has to offer. I’ll try once more to grow some herbs (so far I haven’t been successful in my shady yard), open my windows and try to focus on the beauty of spring rather than the current political firestorm that is taking up way too much of my attention.