Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring is Coming!

(not my picture of lemons, for the record)

I don't know about you, but I had a serious case of the winter blahs this year. I was just not motivated...somewhere between my last winter CSA dropoff and daylight savings time I had forgotten that the sun even existed. I became an sleep/work/eat machine with the sleep and work part taking up most of my energy. My creative juices had just stopped flowing. My frozen veggie stocks were running low. Boiled potatoes and rice started sounding like a good idea for dinner. Cheese became my best friend, and somewhere, I started feeling crappy.

Wow. I'm glad thats over. Yay for me for surviving my first full winter in New England.

I feel a little bit guilty saying that I got to enjoy spring a little bit earlier than my fellow North Easterners. I went West. WAY West, where a girl can walk around in a t-shirt and sandals, drink coffee on the patio, drive around with the windows down and forget the jacket at home. West, where they have birds nesting, lovely, flourishing gardens, and lemon trees. LEMON TREES, I'm telling you. I live in New England, for gods sake, and always feel that little pang of guilt when I drop a lemon into my shopping basket, and here I was with these forbidden packets of goodness growing in every other yard, just asking me to don my best ninja suit in the middle of the night and steal them all. Oh my god, did my traveling companions want to smack me. All I could see or think about was lemons. My mind raced with the possibilities--Lemon tarts. Lemonade. Custard. Preserves. Fresh squeezed lemon over warm grain salads. Candied lemon peels. Potatoes with lemon and dill. Oh my. Would anyone miss them if I took just a couple? Is that considered stealing? Can we just stop and get some lemons? NOW?

Luckily, I didn't have to steal. Sweet Jane Aikidoka, who was kind enough to offer us her house for the weekend gave me picking rights to a lovely little tree outside. Oh man. I could have picked that thing bare, but that wouldn't be proper, now would it? In the end I took just enough, but not too much (the lemons never did make it back to New England, though). A few went to my mom as a gift (along with my favorite honey from Quebec, Richard Paradis & Fils) and the rest? Well, my lovely globetrotter friend Carolyn helped me with those. For breakfast we made blueberry pancakes with a citrus compote (lemons and oranges with panela, an unrefined sugar from South America). Later, when we went hiking (my first real sunshine of the year) we had boiled potatoes served cold with flax oil, sea salt, parsley, garlic and a generous squeeze of Jane's beautiful lemon. My friends are good to me.

Thank you spring. You couldn't have come soon enough.

By the way, I was feeling so refreshed when I got home I decided to tackle my fridge, which had been in dire need of a clean. I mean, who had dirt in the bottom of her fridge anyway? (I am not talking about a little bit of dirt here, folks, I am talking like half a farm worth of dirt that was once clinging to my freshly picked vegetables and now is spread all over the bottom shelf. Or was, until yesterday--I can honestly say I have never had to vacuum my fridge until now). The new space is nice, though--empty shelves just begging to be filled with goodness. It allows me to feel more open to new possibilities in my cooking, instead of being tied down to the past. Alright Spring. I am ready.

1 comment:

Keren said...

finally, a post! I am so, so sad I wasn't with you and carolyn, eating that delicious sounding compote. and if only you had been with me for the lemon curd tarts i made just a month ago...

for the record, lemons here mean WINTER. it's like sunshine in the middle of a rainy day, literally.

i miss you, my love. and now, you are far away again. grrr.