spring!

Hello, friends!

It's been a while again. Happy Spring to you! I think of coming here to write often, but find myself scurrying between this and that far too much. Life is busy and messy and a little fleeting at times, but for me, this year is about being present and finding the joy in it all. Let's catch up a bit.

In fact, I have been doing a little writing, yet it seems that just as I get going with it, it's time to leave the house for something or other, and when I come back, groceries need to be put away or a meal needs to be made or a bed needs to be slept in. Something I'm finding amusing: When I write, I get rather flushed and warm in the face (as if I've had a nice dose of wine!) the further I plunge into it. What is that all about? I might truly be going mad, but I kind of love it.

I've eaten many, MANY lovely things since we last spoke. Honestly, what would life be without good food? I am positively enamored with spring and all of its fresh foods right now. Some favorites, as of recent:

  • These strawberry and rhubarb muffins. I didn't make mine jumbo as the recipe suggests, as I didn't have the right pan for the job. But let me tell you, I surely stuffed as much batter as possible into each little compartment, and they graciously puffed up to become quite jumbo indeed! I believe that I used at least some whole wheat pastry flour to bring out the heartiness and nuttiness that I love in a good muffin. Oh! And don't skip the turbinado sugar sprinkled (generously!) on top - it crackles and crunches between your teeth in the most splendid way.
  • Tartines, tartines, tartines! Really now, do yourself a favor and drop everything and go make one of these. It sounds fancy and it sort of is, but it's really just glorified toast. You can put whatever you like on your toast, but I insist that you must (!) use really good crusty bread. I cut it into half slices and spread them on a tray and pop them into the oven to toast. Then, the toppings: For spring, I suggest you spread each piece with a generous smear of fresh ricotta or goat cheese and then top it with thinly sliced baby radishes. Cut little nubbins of chives or tarragon or mint and sprinkle those over, followed by some flaky sea salt. Chopped pine nuts might be nice here too. Or layer some sliced avocado over the toasted bread and smash it a bit if you like (I like). Add some gently cooked pieces of asparagus that are shredded or sliced thinly, or perhaps opt for a tangle of pea shoots instead. Herbs should follow and some maybe some light brown sesame seeds, a drizzle of good olive oil, and more of that flaky sea salt. Really, you'll be quite pleased with the possibilities. The husband and I tried this version the other day: a shredded egg salad with radicchio, creme fraiche, and fresh dill. We broiled the bread first with lots of gruyere until the house smelled sufficiently divine, piled it high with this salad, then washed it all down with wine and became fantastically happy.
  • Roasted carrots with honey and salted yogurt. This! I could eat platefuls. Gather some thin carrots and slice them in half lengthwise. If you're so lucky to find some of the multicolored ones that pop up here and there, get those. If the tops look nice, let them stay. If all the greenery is attached, cut them at just a half an inch or so up the stalk. Toss them with olive oil, flaky sea salt, freshly ground pepper, and perhaps some paprika or turmeric or curry or whatever sounds good to you and roast in the oven. In the meantime, spoon some plain yogurt onto a plate. Sprinkle with more flaky sea salt and drizzle lightly with good honey. Arrange the carrots on top and sprinkle with some fresh herbs.
  • And while we're speaking of carrots, go ahead and make these cookies as well. I've got a jar full of them on my counter right now (though not for long, of course). They're nice and light for spring and could easily pass for breakfast with a bowl of plain yogurt alongside.

Also, I can't seem to get enough brunch. Seattle is the perfect place to brunch. When it's raining?  Get thee indoors to brunch! When it's sunny? Get thee to a patio to brunch! I'm considering a whole restaurant post in the future - my favorite spots and whatnot. I'll be sure to include places for brunch.

Oh, and another thing: a new kitchen table and chairs. You know when you walk into a store planning to get one somewhat practical, affordable thing and come out with another extravagant, completely unintentional thing? That absolutely happened here. A sale threatening to end tomorrow didn't help. Yet, our tiny table from the husband's bachelor days (!) was long overdue to go and this larger piece gives me that much more excitement to leave the card table in the closet when we host more than one other couple for dinner. Thank goodness for rationalizations.

What are you loving this spring?