We are almost a month into spring, but here in New Hampshire I’ve learned not to expect spring-like weather. In fact for weeks, I’ve been trying to evoke the feel of spring in my cooking. Although since fall’s arrival I’ve made cold weather foods, like braised short ribs and soups that simmer all day, as winter nears its end I begin to make dishes that remind me of warmth and better weather. It may be cold outside, but I make foods that remind me that one day it will be warm enough to wear only a light jacket outside (like the couple surprise days we had last week).
For me, one of the best ways to replicate spring weather in my food is by using more produce. Lighter dishes filled with fresh produce make me think of green grass and chirping birds. So, even if the temperature is hovering in the low 30s and there’s freezing rain outside, adding fruit to a dish or serving a salad reminds me that warmer days are bound to come. Just maybe not for a while.
The nice thing about cooking for my husband is that not only is he not a picky eater, he also is open to the idea that a meal does not need to revolve around meat. Presented with an entrée salad, he is happy to consider it dinner. Of course, when I plan the menu I keep both of our appetites in mine. If a salad is to be the focus of the meal, it needs to be satisfying. Eating salad should not only evoke spring, it also should leave you with a comfortably full stomach.
Over the next two weeks I have four new recipes, plus a handful from the archives, that are produce-centric. Hopefully between these recipes and the passing of time, spring will have arrived in New Hampshire. Maybe we’ll be able to put away our mittens and boots until late in the fall.
Balsamic Roasted Pineapple– When you think of balsamic vinegar, pineapple probably isn’t the next food to come to mind. However, these two ingredients pair very nicely. The pineapple transform from a sweet piece of fruit to a rich topping for cheese and crackers.