Le Printemps Commence!

by Jenn on March 26, 2010

in Gluten Free,Photography,Salads,Tastes,Vegetarian

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It is Springtime!  The cool rains gently fall, coating the earth a thin damp blanket that threatens the sun’s best attempts to show its face after the long harsh cold.  I hang my head staring hopelessly out the window, mourning the end of a depressingly brief cameo of the sun’s warm glow, strangely not comforted by the rhythmic pattering of drops rattling against the panes.  However, the ground responds to the steady storm by ushering forth its best efforts to welcome the coming warm weather, painting a Seurat-esque watercolor of flowers that dot the landscape with a vibrancy I previously thought only existed in my imagination.  Even in the rain, the earth shows her beauty, even in the smallest of ways with something as humble as a flower.  The petals embrace the falling water, soaking it in, their cheerful color a stark contrast against the gray skies.

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Spring is a time of renewal, laughter and my favorite, fresh bright colorful produce.  I still cannot get over the quality and freshness of the foods ones can buy here – seriously, this was my lunch last week – lettuce with carrots, radish, and local garlic & herb goat cheese –

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I made only a simple dressing for this salad – a strawberry balsamic reduction with olive oil, whose recipe I promise to have more nailed down soon.  I confess I just threw this together and totally forgot to write down as I went how much I used.  Not that it was complicated – strawberries simmered into a sauce with lemon, thyme, and balsamic vinegar, mixed with olive oil and drizzled on a very simple salad.  After all, who needs a heavy dressing to add flavor when one has such rich produce as this?  Sometimes a lighter dressing that serves as an accent is all that is needed.  At this time of year, that is certainly the case.  Even the lettuce is vibrant enough to bring its own character to the plate.  And I just love that.  It’s like truly tasting food for the first time, and falling in love, all over again.

Maybe the Springtime has gotten to me.  No longer am I craving cheesy pastas or other heavy “mountain” foods, but am content to have greens and fruits.  I can’t get seem to get enough right now.  I get home from the grocery store only to find that 95% of what I purchased is a major producer of chlorophyl haha.  Always leave it to my grocery shopping to figure out what I’m really craving.  Sometimes I swear my mind must be telling me I need certain things, because next thing you know I walk home with food rich in one particular nutrient – it’s a subconscious act really, because I don’t even realize it until I am putting my groceries away.  During these past wintery months my husband and I were trying to find ways to use up greens before they go bad, especially if I wanted to be healthy and bought something I know I don’t really like but try to pretend I do anyways, like kale (apologies to all you kale lovers out there).  Yet lately we are going through spinach, lettuce, and Swiss chard as if it’s going outta style, and fast.  Yes, there shall be a Swiss chard recipe coming too, I am still finding lots of great ways to cook it.  It is quickly becoming one of my favorite greens.  Speaking of chard, I wonder what the Swiss call it, because I bet their name sure doesn’t have the word “Swiss” in it…

Anyways – today is a celebration of Spring.  A celebration of rain, and knowing the life that will spring forth shortly.  Tomorrow, well tomorrow will be a celebration in the kitchen, of cooking with family and friends.  A celebration of produce – lettuce, chard, and all things green.  Until then, maybe the rains aren’t so depressing afterall.  Because in the midst of the gray is the knowledge that the blue skies are not so far off in the distance.

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