A monthly show-and-tell on what’s working for me
I’ve been in Sonoma the past few days celebrating Easter with family. It’s the perfect place to be in the spring – green everywhere with signs marketing fresh, local eggs and vegetables. With its primary industry being wine production people may think of it as a fancy place, but winemakers are really just grape farmers so it’s an agricultural community at heart. The whole town dances in the rhythm of the seasons here. There’s excitement and anticipation each spring as old vines sprout new leaves and the care and feeding of plants heightens in hope that the plants will, in turn, care for and feed us. Early spring produces a tender harvest and, though often bitter, the earth serves us a celebratory feast after a long winter’s fast.
What’s Working in april:
Bitters. From bitter chicory greens to digestive bitters mixed to create an apertif, this month has been all about the anti-sweet. Bitter is probably the least liked of the five flavors, but is so important to engage and excite our digestive systems, alerting them that complex food is being ingested. It’s a tough flavor to get used to, but spring is the time as bitter greens abound at farmers markets. My first chicory experiment failed, but I found that a quick boil followed by a light sauté will render bitter greens edible. Since the bitter green season will eventually come to an end, I’ve stocked up on organic bitter tonics (like those from Urban Moonshine) to keep this trend alive.
Sunshine. It’s spring in California and from what I can see on Instagram, it looks like traces of spring are popping up where you are too. I’ve been loving the not-too-hot afternoon sun and digging out my sandals from the back of the closet. Sun exposure on bare skin is still the best way to get vitamin D, so I’ve been making it a priority to get outside in the sun for about 15 minutes each day. I’ve loved every minute of it.
Asparagus. Asparagus is such a special spring vegetable as it’s only in season for a few weeks each year. I’ve been finding the tenderest, skinniest asparagus stalks at the farmers market and eating them almost every day. They should go out of season just when I’m getting sick of them.
Omelettes. In order to have a vehicle for eating my asparagus, I’ve developed a super light and thin one-egg omelette. Stuffed with a little raw cheese, asparagus, spinach and herbs, this omelette is the best thing to happen to breakfast since breakfast tacos. Unfortunately I still haven’t mastered the egg-flip, but my sweet husband is a pro.
Shallot Gold. Cameron Diaz wrote about this in The Body Book and mentioned it on The Tonight Show. Basically, you caramelize shallots (in pastured butter for real foodies) until they’re crispy the add them to everything, or eat them straight out of the container and end up having to make more because you snacked them to death. You can find Cameron’s recipe on her Body Book blog. (While you’re there, you can read my guest article: 6 Cooking Hacks for Greater Nutritional Value!)
Epic Bars. Finally, a protein-rich snack that satisfies the Paleo, WAPF, GAPS, gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free, sugar-free foodies out there. These “bars” are basically a traditionally prepared pemmican made from either bison, beef, turkey or lamb. I know what you’re thinking – but don’t think of them as a bar, think of them as jerky and you’ll be okay.
What are you loving this month?