Is it already February? As we hunker down here, sparkly snow settling around our little house, I’m clinging to the silver thread of hope that is spring. I sent out our seed order last week, I notice the light lingering ever-so-slightly later in the day, and I remember from the past two springs we’ve lived in this house that the red-wing blackbirds return in late March. Hard to believe, but we’re getting there.
Though I have yet to blog about them (and they do deserve their very own post)*, one of the additions to our little “homestead” this past year has been a small flock of backyard chickens. We raised them from chicks, and it’s amazing to me to see how hardy they are even in the bitter cold of upstate NY winters. They’ve kept laying eggs for us through the winter, which means that our consumption of egg-themed meals and desserts has racheted up considerably!
Cinnamon, our Golden Buff hen, earlier this fall
I read somewhere recently that kids fall into two categories when riding in the car: those who reliably sleep, and those who reliably snack (sadly, in lieu of sleep). My daughter has made it clear that she falls into the latter category, even on long car rides when you would think (hope) sleep would come so easily.
What is it about car rides that brings on the urge to snack? Maybe it’s the fact that we’re captive in our seats. As entertaining as I try to make games of I Spy and sing-alongs, the refrain we hear more times than animals on Old MacDonald’s Farm is “Mommy, what do you have in your bag for me to snack on?”
Once every few months or so, I get a craving to make appetizers for dinner. Sometimes, I have to confess, this is just an excuse manufactured so that we can eat things like guacamole, bread & cheese, and stuffed mushrooms all at the same time and call it a meal. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.)
We’ve been eating loads of sweet, tender corn on the cob lately, stuffing our faces with it while it’s peaking in season. I was browsing around for a different recipe entirely (something to use up my baseball bat zucchinis) when I came across this hot, cheesy corn dip and immediately forgot all plans to make anything else BUT this hot. cheesy. corn. dip. YUM.
If I had to describe our summer so far, I’d call it The Summer of the Popsicle. We’ve been spending so much time outside, especially on the weekends, that we seem to be in constant need of edible, portable, cooling snacks. Each weekend afternoon, B, Little A and I have been taking a break from our gardening, yard-work, and sand play (I’ll let you guess who’s doing what) to sit together, catch a breath, and slurp our pops.
A week or two ago, our fruit CSA share gave us a lovely bunch of apricots, and we were still enjoying plucking raspberries in our garden — little A most of all. I decided it was time to make these coconut popsicles with roasted apricots and raspberries, and wow have we enjoyed them!
I’ve been thinking quite a bit about eggs lately — we seem to eat more and more as the temperatures slowly warm up. They lend themselves so well so light spring meals with herbs and fresh, delicate greens, and my sometimes-picky-eater toddler actually loves them, too.
she also loves shopping at the farmer’s market with me!
We’ve been visiting the market together every weekend morning and piling our baskets with all things green – baby lettuces, kale, herbs, scallions, spinach, and leeks. The herbs, leeks, and eggs have all met their destiny several times over the past month or two in this delicious soufflé, which was on the Easter menu in the April issue of Martha Stewart magazine. The minute I clamped eyes on the recipe, I knew I’d be making it STAT. Sauteed leeks, fresh spring herbs, gruyere, and fresh eggs? Yes, please!
Living with an early-rising toddler, breakfast in our house is a pretty routine affair. There’s only so much variation and prep I can manage before I get some caffeine into my system (why hasn’t someone invented a combination alarm clock and coffee maker? Coffee ready to go at my bedside — I’d be all over that.)
So, our options for a while have rotated between oatmeal, cereal with fruit, granola/yogurt, and sometimes scrambled eggs. Boring, I know. I longed to add pancakes to the rotation — they are one of my very favorite breakfasts — and so I made it my mission to find a pancake recipe that would be easy enough to make on weekday mornings before work. (Preferably something multigrain; white flour pancakes just don’t do it for me like they used to…)
I don’t know about you, but when mid-winter hits, I’m in dire need of some intense color therapy and crunchy textures in my food. I recently wrote about one of our favorite ways to get color and crunch this time of year on the Edible Voices blog: beet and carrot slaw. It’s quick to prepare and makes great use of all those piles of roots lurking in your fridge. Head on over to check out the post and get the full recipe.