When Thoughts Turn Toward Spring

The warm weather lately has turned my thoughts to springtime.  Arkansas weather tendencies being what they are, I admit that these thoughts may yet be premature, but there’s no denying that everything around us seems tensed and ready to bud and sprout and get all that allergy-inducing pollen going.  And while I love winter, with its rich soups and comfort food, I always look forward to the fresh vegetables of the spring and early summer.  We can, of course, get most any vegetables around here in the wintertime, too – but no hothouse-grown tomato trucked in from elsewhere can hope to hold a candle to a vine-ripened Arkansas tomato, and there isn’t a cucumber anywhere right now that will taste as clean and good as the one grown in somebody’s back yard during the season.  With that in mind, I’d like to get a small head start on the spring by presenting a few simple and tasty things that you can prepare with all the yummy things that will be available just around the corner.

Strawberries with Balsamic Vinegar
This is a classic pairing of flavors that is as surprising as it is refreshing.

  • 1 quart ripe strawberries, hulled and sliced in half (or quarters for larger berries)
  • 1 tablespoon good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • cracked black pepper
  • fresh mint, cut chiffonade

Place your sliced berries in a bowl with the vinegar and sugar.  Allow to macerate for an hour, then serve on a plate with a sprinkle of the pepper and as much mint as you like.  These berries are also quite good on ice cream.

Quick Radish Pickles
I got this method of making radish pickles from David Chang’s Momofuku cookbook.  They’re good as a snack or on a salad.

  • 6-8 spring radishes. Radishes in the spring time are smaller and sweeter than their winter counterparts.
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon sugar

To make these simple pickles, just slice your radishes into thin wedges and toss with the salt and sugar.  Allow them to sit for 5-10 minutes and then enjoy them!  This is one of my favorite snacks on a hot day.

Cucumber and Tomato Salad with Dill
Nothing tastes fresher than this salad made with grape tomatoes, cucumber, and a healthy dose of fresh dill.

  • 1 pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1-2 cucumbers, peeled with the seeds scooped out and chopped
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill
  • olive oil
  • red wine vinegar
  • salt

Toss the tomatoes, cucumbers, and dill together with a generous glug of olive oil and a few dashes olive oil.  Salt to taste, and allow to sit in the fridge for half an hour or so for best taste.  This is a great salad to serve as a side dish or as a light lunch. Enjoy!

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One thought on “When Thoughts Turn Toward Spring

  1. Pingback: Caesar Dressing | Arkansas Foodies

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