Spring has sprouted! From the soil and tips of branches, buds are bursting, welcome colour after a winter barren even of snow. Brash dandelions populate our lawn, shouting testimonials to the season, proclaiming our rejection of beautifying chemicals (to the dismay of our neighbours, no doubt).
As asparagus, carrots, rhubarb and spinach grow toward crispy, freshness, Ontario farmers prepare for the opening of the markets in May. And I get ready for another round of recipe quests. Hmm. What dishes to test next?
Last summer, I watched the 100 Mile Challenge on Canada’s Food Network. Vancouver couple James MacKinnon and Alisa Smith, authors of The 100-Mile Diet: A Year of Local Eating, devised and hosted the challenge. Watching the families on the show struggle to eat only local, and hence seasonal foods of course got me wondering how I’d handle that challenge. My husband, not usually one for reality shows, was inspired to begin drinking locally brewed beers. Way to take one for the cause! Still, it’s not a bad way to start, although who knows where those breweries get their hops.
Between the sunshine of spring and the attraction of the local eating movement, I’m thinking seasonal for May’srecipe quests. But I’m not sure where to go from here. What’s a good dish for asparagus that would have recipevariations enough for testing? I thought of cream of asparagus soup, but I’m pretty sure that’d be a hard sell with the testers. And did you know that turnip is pretty much always seasonal in Ontario? I like turnip a lot, but somehow a turnip gratin doesn’t seem quite springy enough. Maybe rhubarb jam would work. Pasta Primavera would fit, but I’m working on a creamy pasta dish this month–is that too repetitive?
What do you think? What recipe quests would get your mouth watering for the fresh spring harvest on its way?