When you hear words like daffodils, forsythia, tulips, radishes, mint and baby carrots, what do you think of? For me, it’s all about renewal and springtime.
Growing up in New England, these things have always brought a smile to my face. I remember as a kid loving the first sign of green popping up from the brown earth. It meant that the snow was behind us (hopefully) with nothing but warm sunny days ahead.
Even as an adult, I love spring more than any other season. It’s something about renewal and rebirth, when the sky seems bluer than ever, greens looks greener and the sun shines brighter. And now that I live in California, though the seasons aren’t as distinct as New England, the thought of spring still makes me happy. The weather is warmer, there’s more to pick from at the market and no longer are heavy coats and boots a necessity.
I love going to the farmer’s market in the springtime and seeing all of the new fresh produce. I love seeing the beautiful big bunches of aromatic mint, dill and chives. I love the piles of Meyer lemons and blood oranges with their sweet tartness begging me to make a vinaigrette, Meyer lemon salsa or blood orange sorbet.
I am so happy when I see the first of the season bright green stalks of asparagus. Whether the asparagus is pencil thin or fat, this is the time of year I eat asparagus every chance I get. Same with artichokes and sugar snap peas! I buy bags of English peas and eat them raw they’re so sweet and delicious. I love the peppery hot radishes that I put into salads or eat straight out of hand with just a sprinkle of salt. And let’s not forget the bright red, deliciously sweet strawberries and tart, sour rhubarb. These two ingredients make the perfect marriage of opposites attract. They beg me to cut them up and toss with a little sugar, and top them with an oatmeal topping for a delicious crisp.
This is definitely a great time to get into the kitchen for some serious cooking! But the best part is that the ingredients speak so much for themselves that they need very little fussing over to make them taste even better. It might just be a dash of olive oil, a sprinkle of salt, a quick sauté or a squeeze of lemon and you’ve got the wonderful flavors of spring without too much effort.
So grab your shopping basket and head to your local farmer’s market for a few fresh ingredients! And if you need some inspiration, here are a few fun simple springtime recipes to get you motivated.
Crostini with Ricotta, Sugar Snap Peas and Mint
Salmon with Asparagus and Blood Oranges
Strawberry Rhubarb Crisp