Dear April

April 5, 2010

Jícama Salad

Dear April,

Have I told you lately that I love you? I love you this year, anyways. This week. So far.

Since when did you don 80 degrees and sunny? Permit shorts and flip flops? Encourage al fresco dining and post dinner strolls? Allow open window drives and sleeping weather? No complaining here. You’ve made this northeast Ohio gal very happy indeed.

So don’t go breakin’ my heart, April. Don’t go all 38-degrees-and-blustery on me. Don’t make me unpack the sweaters again. Or long wool soccer socks. Or flannel pajamas. Don’t rain on this happy gal’s parade.

Because now I want to cook and eat like it’s a 75-degrees-and-sunny-April. Back porch dining. Bright, fresh and light. Grilled fish and burgers. Jícama salad and salsas. Chilled white wine and mojitos. Doesn’t that sound good to you?

Besides, haven’t you always wanted to be desired as much as that sister of yours, May? Here’s your chance, April. Show ‘em who’s hot. Work it, girl!

Sincerely yours,

p.s. I know your showers bring May flowers, but so do sunshine and zero frost. Just keep that in mind, April.
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Bright green glory

March 14, 2010

Broccoli Slaw

The snow piles have almost completely disappeared around here thanks to a week of sunshine and near 60 degree temperatures. What remains are a few slushy piles of white along the driveway where, less than a few weeks ago, mini mountains stood. The result of our snow plow. Our snow plow team, rather, known as Kyle and trusty sidekick Blue Shovel. They moved a lot of snow this year. Up and out by 5:30 am to make way for cars and early commutes to work. Working under the light of street lamps until 8 pm after a long day at the office, zigzagging back and forth across the drive in an attempt to make the following morning’s plow a little easier. Believe me, I offered to help. But to no avail. Kyle is a gentleman, through and through, and wouldn’t have me hauling snow. (After ten years he still insists on opening car doors for me. I’m a lucky girl.) And, on multiple occasions (read: daily) I insisted hiring a plow service would be worth its weight in gold. Again, to no avail. Kyle is a sucker for physical labor. He thrives on it and argues that as long as he is young and able enough to do it, he will. And that’s that.

We are both relieved to kiss the snow piles goodbye (fingers crossed we’ve seen the last of them). Though I’d argue this is the worst part of Winter’s end and Spring’s beginning. Happy as I am to see it melt, I’m not crazy about what the sparkling white snow leaves behind. Gray grass. Brown mud. Murky puddles. Crayola could name a really ugly brownish-grayish-blahish crayon color “March in Ohio”. Needless to say I’ve been craving a little bright green in my life. Enter Broccoli Slaw.
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Return of the salad

March 8, 2010

Roasted Beet and Carrot Salad with Watercress

I am a salad person. A vegetable devotee. A greens munching, carrot chomping, beet roasting enthusiast. An addict. Our vegetable drawer gets more action than fruit and dairy combined. I spend a ridiculous amount of time in the produce section, pondering the peppers and tubers and brassicas. I’m the person you want to run over with your cart because I’ve parked in front of the green leaf lettuce and romaine, searching for the best looking bundle. Yes, I’m that person. My crazy affinity for all things vegetable may be pushing the limits of social acceptance. Lunch is usually a head turning Tupperware of leafy greens. Head turning because people are in awe of its sheer size, not because they are necessarily pining for its contents.

That….is your lunch? Do you have to take, like, 4 beano or something?

Um, no, but thanks for your concern.

But over the past couple of months, green leafy salads have been MIA from the lunch hour. My trusty Tupperware containers sit idle. The vegetable drawer is wondering if it will ever see the likes of spring greens or spinach again. Over the course of a drawn-out-waaaayyy-too long winter, leafy lunchtime fare has been replaced with soups and heated leftovers, toast with peanut butter and oatmeal. Desperate as I am for springtime eats, my cold salad cravings remain dormant so long as snow piles abound. That is to say until I met this salad last week. A transitional salad, if you will. Part crisp and cool, part roasted and room temperature, this salad was made for March in the Midwest when Mother Nature is an evil flip-flopper.
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No raw eggs (or words)

February 24, 2010

Caesar Dressing (raw egg free)

I suppose it’s possible to wax poetic about this Caesar dressing. Describe in great detail the intricacies of its flavor profile. Blather on about how it elevates a simple salad of romaine and tomato to new and glorious heights. And celebrate the delightful fact that it is indeed raw egg free and you won’t miss it for one second. But I’ll spare you. Because, after all, it’s only salad dressing (albeit a good one worth trying). And, truth be told dear friends, I’m experiencing a mild case of writer’s block these past few days. While my house is tidy thanks to a weekend of dusting, washing and organizing, my mind is a cluttered mess of cobwebs. One too many hits of Clorox fumes, obviously.
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A promised future

February 8, 2010

Red Quinoa with Broccoli Rabe

I won’t pretend that red quinoa salads have been regularly scheduled eats in my house. But one of many things I’ve learned during my limited experience as a blogger of food jargon is this: Trying new things is good and fun. Trying new things keeps it interesting for blogger and readers alike. Trying new things means we’re not eating salads comprised only of spinach, or pasta or lentils and a random assortment of standard produce section staples. And while I don’t foresee ever tiring of big green salads with all of the fixings and simple vinaigrettes, I definitely welcome this breath of fresh air. This new take on greens and grains. This roving of less-familiar-but-oh-so-delicious-where-have-you-been-all-my-life territory. It is a new decade after all (This has become my overused catch-all phrase to justify change. I fear it may be losing its effect). And, having salivated over images of this and this, I couldn’t waste any more time.
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