“The Chill Is Gone”

Behold, my friends, the spring has come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!           Sitting Bull


Hope springs eternal in the human breast.      Alexander Pope

On this gorgeous first day of spring, I rejoice in the wonders of nature as it begins to unfold and share its rebirth.  This is what I have longed for since the first snow fall.  The beauty of the trees as they birth their leaves and the emergence of the hibernating flowers gives us hope that our favorite things have not abandon us.  My mouth waters as I watch in anticipation for the first signs of asparagus, ramps and other favorite spring vegetables.  As the herbs return my adventurous spirit soars high thinking how they will grace and enhance my culinary creations.  It is the season of new beginnings and endless possibilities that brings with it an unflappable air of excitement.

Life stands before me like an eternal spring with new and brilliant clothes.  Carl Friedrich Gauss

Last week we ushered in daylight savings time.  This is a controversial concept for many, but, not being a morning person, I appreciate the additional evening daylight.  I will say, however, that it never fails to zap me during the initial week of adjustment.  Between that and my class schedule picking up, I haven’t had much energy or time in my kitchen to develop recipes.  I did, however, honor St. Patrick with a meal of corned beef and cabbage made with Guinness, a preparation I borrowed from another blog, Steamy Kitchen which features mostly Asian recipes, but I guess we are all a bit Irish on March 17th.  I also revisited a recipe for shrimp scampi by Ina Garten that I paired last spring with fresh asparagus.  It was a perfect marriage and I cannot wait to get my lips around it again as the season progresses.  Fresh local asparagus has a short life here, so while it is around, I tend to indulge on a daily basis.  That helps me keep the memory of its goodness during the months when it is unavailable, except for that shipped from afar, which always disappoints.  Both of these recipes are quite good.  The corned beef, cooked in the oven, was so tender and the vegetables, cooked separately to retain their crispness, were fresh and inviting.  The scampi, well, it is hard to argue with the combination of garlic, butter and herbs.  Right?  I think you will agree that Ina’s interpretation of this Italian classic is a crowd pleaser.

Easter is fast approaching and I am wondering what culinary creation will make it to our table.  We usually have a low key holiday, but it still calls for a special meal.  As seafood lovers, my thoughts are drifting to Cioppino, an Italian-American fish stew originating in San Francisco.  Not living near the ocean, its creation is entirely dependent on the availability of fresh ingredients.  I guess it remains to be seen.  Hopefully, we can discuss this further next week.

I would love to hear how you plan to spend the holiday.  I know there are many variations for this time of ‘bunnies and eggs’ but hopefully you won’t make the mistake I did one year when I served my grandmother’s braised rabbit.  My children were horrified that I would even consider cooking EB’s cousin on his special day.  My bad.  It never happened again.

I hope this season of new beginnings fills you with hope.  Perhaps it will remind us to be good stewards of Mother Earth and to be grateful for all the beauty she provides.  Hopefully, it will help take the focus off all the anger and hateful rhetoric of the election year and serve to remind us that we are all in this together.  I strongly urge us to embrace each other as brothers and sisters and keep spreading the love, one dish at a time.  It takes many villages to make America kind again.  Until next time, surround yourself with all that feeds your soul.  May the sunlight shine upon you.  Jeanne

I want to do to you what spring does to the cherry trees.      Pablo Neruda








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