Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Growing to Enjoy Spring

Miracle of miracles, spring's official first day is but one day away, and it looks as though our weather might actually match the calendar for once. Though it's still a little on the chilly side today, the sun is shining, and the temps are only going to go up later this week.

Is it any wonder, then, that I'm officially craving light, green vegetables and herbs?

I bought four little herb pots at the grocery store on Saturday and transferred them to somewhat larger pots for growing later that day. They now adorn my wide windowseat with their vivid greenery and fragrance, and I'm almost tempted to sing "Scarborough Fair" since the selection includes sage, rosemary, and thyme (though the parsley was replaced with oregano).

They greeted me upon my return home after work today and beckoned to me from their sunny perch. So I fixed a large salad of organic spring greens and herbs (not local, I confess, but I can't wait until my next visit to the Bistro for a salad!), dried cherries, walnuts, goat cheese, and a delicate borage-dill vinaigrette; whole grain bread with olive oil for dipping; and half a glass of semi-sweet Redemption wine from the Winery at Wolf Creek. Then I curled up on the window seat and enjoyed the view.

After dinner, I found I still had an abundance of energy -- one of the benefits of the time change, though I still think the early start to Daylight Savings Time is a mite ridiculous -- so I headed into the kitchen to use up a couple of ripe bananas. Though part of me leaned toward making the classic banana bread, I really wanted something I could share with my new friend, the Innkeeper, over lunch tomorrow. I also had fond memories of the scones I made on my snow day last month, so I decided to modify a banana bread recipe to include ginger, lime, and coconut, and then I spread the batter into a 9" x 12" baking pan for a shorter baking time.

I know I chose a combination of flavors and ingredients that were decidedly not local, and believe me, with all I know now about local foods, I do get a twinge of guilt using some of these foods. I don't use them as abundantly as I used to, however, and when I have some of the items sitting in my pantry for months, I do feel obliged to use them. (Don't worry, I'll slip on the hairshirt later. After I've eaten dessert.)

That said, I do appreciate the delicious fragrance filling my loft, and I am definitely enjoying something a little lighter for dessert tonight. I think the Innkeeper and her husband will approve as well, and I might even go so far as to share with a few other people.

As of this date, this year's farmers' market is just over two months away, and though I still have quite of bit of last year's produce to use up, I am definitely feeling the urge to eat some fresh green vegetables and lighter fare throughout the menu.

So welcome, dear Spring! It's good to see you again.

And I hope you bring plenty to eat for your stay this year.


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