As you know, I’ve been in a bit of a rut lately. I’m trying different strategies to get out of it–waking up earlier in the morning to have more time to read, writing letters, walking twice a day. Now that spring is springing, I’m thinking about changing up the dinner menu. Of course, I want to lighten it up after months of stews and roasts and the usual cold weather fare, but I also want to explore some new flavors.
I’ve always loved mideastern food, especially Persian dishes, but other than hummus, I’ve never tried to make it. When I come across recipes for dishes like Persian Herb-Stuffed Frittata with Walnuts and Rose Petals (Kuku Sabzi), I think maybe it’s time. In general I’d like to do more vegetarian cooking. We only eat pasta occasionally these days, so I’ve been looking around for main course rice dishes, and this Spicy Cauliflower and Halloumi Rice dish looks pretty yummy (I had to look up halloumi–it’s sort of like goat cheese, as far as I can tell).
There are some recipes I already have on file that I’d like to bring back into rotation now that the weather is warming up, including shrimp tacos and an asparagus tart made with puff pastry. Clifton grills rosemary chicken two or three times a month in the spring and summer, a dish everyone (even Will!) loves. It’s great with potato salad, roasted potatoes, and/or roasted asparagus. If I’m feeling all devil-may-care about carbs (which often happens if Clifton opens a bottle of Prosecco before he lights up the grill), I’ll even make everyone’s favorite biscuits from an ancient Cook’s Illustrated recipe. They bake up a mile high, fluffy on the inside and crispy on top. Yum!
You know what’s really going to bring me out of my funk? Strawberries. We’ve got three more weeks until the strawberry season starts, and then I’ll be over at Wallers’ Farm once a week while they last. I love a Spinach Strawberry salad, don’t you?
I’m curious what changes for you produce-wise when spring rolls around. I mean, you get great fruits and vegetables in southern California all year long, right? What gets especially good this time of year? What are you looking forward to eating now that we’re at long last saying goodbye to winter?
I’m so glad that you brought up this topic! The weather has finally turned from rainy to sunny here in Southern California, even if the temperatures stay stubbornly in the 50s and 60s (don’t judge–I’m a native Southern Californian!). Yes, we do have good fruits and veggies year-round–but the out-of-season ones are from Mexico and Chile. I try to avoid produce that has come from so far away. Besides, out-of-season tomatoes and strawberries just aren’t the same!
During the fall and winter, I try to work in a weekly soup night, and when the weather warms up that turns into main dish salad night. I am more than ready to make that switch! Tonight we are having taco salad and I am ready to get more adventurous. I’ve got a whole Pinterest board full of Main Dish Salads that I need to dust off. I want to incorporate more Mediterranean dishes, and I might just start with this Mediterranean Chopped Salad. This Caprese Chickpea Salad is on my list, and also this Grilled Ginger-Sesame Chicken Chopped Salad. Wow, you’ve really got me excited about spring menus!
I’m in complete agreement with you that spring means strawberries. Strawberries are big business where I live, with local berry stands popping up on corners everywhere. Some years they start being available as early as February! I’m looking forward to visiting my favorite local strawberry stand this week and also picking up some local honey. I’m remembering all the years that I canned strawberry jam. We have a U-Pick farm nearby and would get all the kids together to pick enough strawberries to keep us in jam for a good part of the year. We just don’t eat enough PB&Js to warrant that anymore. However, our local Strawberry Festival is finally back and I’m looking forward to the strawberry shortcake and maybe even a strawberry margarita! Your Spinach Strawberry salad recipe looks amazing! I’ve already printed it out and may make it on Sunday for our first solo Easter.
But the food that really says spring to me is asparagus! Asparagus just may be my favorite vegetable. It’s so delicious and delicate and easy-peasy to prepare. Trim the ends off, toss with salt, pepper, and olive oil and roast at 425 for about 12 minutes. Then toss with some balsamic vinegar. If I’m feeling fancy, I might brown a little butter to drizzle over it as well. Roasting is my favorite way to prepare it, but I look forward to including asparagus in omelets and pasta dishes. I know I can buy it at Costco year-round, but it is so much better in the spring!
Dear Readers–we always love to hear from you! What foods are you looking forward to this spring?