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On Your Mark, Get Set: The Art of Cooking in Spring

2011 April 19

By Brianna Bain

Organic-white-onionsMarch 21st marked the official coming of Spring, but for many of my Northern hemisphere neighbors jagged shifts of warmer and cooler temperatures, and unexpected snow storms have deflated spring-y hopes. Spring brings an array of earthly wonders that remind us we are alive – rain, mud, birds, budding greenery and the bitter sweet acceptance of allergies marking the explosion of fertility. I pause and wonder – exactly what part of Spring Frank Sinatra was singing about when he sang that ever famous verse: “You make me feel as though Spring has sprung”? Spring seems to be finally springing now in many parts, nearly a month after its first day – a reminder for me to embrace both sides of spring, the enchantment and the suspense of a season in-between.

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Spring is a time of polarity, transition and change – where bits of  winter snow can still be found in the shade of a budding tree. It’s a reminder of the continuum of life as we witness the return of the plants and animals we so faithfully expect. Spring is also an exciting time, pregnant with potential and possibility! This feeling translates to the reality that there “isn’t yet”, this phase of Spring presents a string of moments that Frank wove together into that quintessential distillation of the arrival of Spring.  When in fact, once spring is truly “sprung” it seems like it is almost time for Summer. While Spring conjures images of blooming gardens and fresh eats, it can be an arduous time in a seasonal eater’s kitchen. As Summer and Fall’s canned supply runs out, the taste of dried beans, winter greens and root veggies no longer “hit the spot” and the first tastes of Spring’s fresh harvest tantalize your senses. One may find oneself asking: How do you ease the tension of cooking in Spring while staying true to seasonal values? I realize this is a question that is very relative to where you are but I will attempt to answer through an approach inspired by good Old Blue Eyes himself.

Over the past few weeks we have seen proof that good food can come of this seemingly desolate time between Winter and Spring. Our most recent Spring contributors have put their best food forward, mixing what is lingering and springing in this go-between space of foods.  This week I am taking a few ingredients from several recent posts and combining them with fava greens which have popped up in my garden; stringing them together to hopefully capture that Spring like mood we all love. Onions will be carried all the way forward from Christopher’s mention of not being able to find them yet in Chicago. I’m also picking up Aisha’s use of their leek-y cousins in her Coca Catalana. Additionally, I could not resist the use of the well traveled and ever shape shifting crouton; it has sailed across the Atlantic from New Hampshire to Spain and now back again to find a new home this week in my first try at stuffed Onions.

I’ll see you Thursday with a completed recipe!