Back to Basics

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Lately I’ve been feeling a bit uninspired in the culinary realm. Yes, I did just start a food blog. Yes, winter has finally come to an end – in fact, summer will arrive in less than two weeks. Things are growing, farmer’s markets are popping up everywhere and the Internet is exploding with seasonal recipes. But my appetite has been slow to arrive into this new season.

Part of this general weariness has to do with my life at home with a very active toddler, practically living at the kitchen island where I offer up snack after snack like a bartender desperate for tips. It can be draining. (By the way, if you have great summer toddler snack ideas, please do share in the comments section.)

This was a particularly long winter of scrounging for seasonal ingredients and recipes and the bad weather crept into Spring and I may have forgotten how to prepare anything but one pot meals, roasts and omelets.

And there is Pinterest, which is brimming with beautiful recipes but has a tendency to overwhelm and intimidate.

So I forget all of that and try to remember what it is I love so much about Spring meals. Eating outside. Eating things that are green. The warmth of salad greens fresh from the garden. Laughing at the sheer simplicity of serving a meal that would cost $40 in a bistro.

I go to the farm market and I pick up fresh asparagus, fiddleheads; I visit Monika of Hilltop Farm and take home green garlic and onions; I harvest arugula, spinach and herbs from the garden. I indulge in a pep talk from my infinitely inspiring sister (you can gorge on her gastro beauty here) and soak up some words of encouragement from a close friend, chef Jenn. Both of these women have an incredible elegance when it comes to working with seasonal ingredients – so inspiring.

I make lamb sliders with rosemary & mint, fresh foccacia and grilled asparagus; pizza with grilled green garlic and onions, local smoked bacon, cherry tomatoes, arugula and feta; a whole grilled rabbit and grilled aspargus and fiddleheads with boiled new potatoes & mint. I feel inspired again by these simple, perfect flavours.

When life has a tendency to overwhelm and all you want to eat are grilled cheese sandwiches, take a step back and a deep breath. Slow down. Think local, fresh, seasonal. Keep it simple. Use some herbs if they’re handy. Light the barbecue, even if it’s raining. A meal made entirely on the grill is summer’s equivalent to winter’s one pot meal. Pour yourself a glass of wine and relax into this new season.

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Grilled Spring Vegetables

Marinate vegetables in olive oil, salt & pepper, lemon juice and some herbs if you like for a little while.

Heat bbq grill on high.

Turn grill down to medium. Toss vegetables right on the grill, in a cast iron pan or grilling basket.

Grill, tossing and turning them a few times with tongs, for about eight minutes or until tender with lovely grill marks.

Serve on their own or as a side with fresh herbs and lemon, in pasta, with risotto, or however you like them.

 

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