The first day of spring is almost here and if there’s one thing we know, especially after a winter of record breaking gray days, it is likely going to stay cold and gray for at least a few more weeks. According to the Farmers’ Almanac, the spring 2023 forecast for Ontario, along with most of Canada, is expected to be a “turbulent transition to warmth.”
While we can’t force the warm weather, we can make it feel like spring on the plate. The best way to do that is with fresh herbs, bright colours and a kick of citrus. Ok, let’s get inspired and take what’s available right now to brighten up the dinner table.
Soy beans, aka shelled edamame, are so fresh and so green. Well, they’re frozen, but they feel like spring, and that’s what we want. Also they look like fava beans, and fresh Ontario favas won’t be ready until May. Try a roasted edamame like Edamame With Parmesan from Dinners, Dishes and Desserts Or go full on summer with a succotash, tasty all year round and easily tossed together with bright green soy beans. This recipe in Saveur has a hint of tarragon to really make it feel like the sun is out. It calls for white wine vin, but add some lemon zest to kick it up a notch.
Carrots are a winter vegetable, but if you treat them like a spring vegetable then they will act like a spring vegetable. Try turning them into ribbons and tossing them with black lentils and mint as we see in this recipe from My New Roots. Red cabbage and carrot together make for a beautifully bright combo. At Slow The Cook Down they add lime and jalapeños to this creamy slaw recipe and make it sing.
You know we love a corn fritter. And while they’re delicious with Ontario corn fresh off the grill, they’re still totally doable with frozen corn. Especially when you add some spring-worthy greens like chopped dandelion or rapini. Our recipe is easily adaptable and is sure to brighten your heart, even while the sky stays gray.
And speaking of rapini! Try roasting it as you normally would and then, just before serving add a drizzle of honey. The combo of bitter and sweet is truly mind altering. America’s Test Kitchen even makes a case for it.
Spring is coming. No matter the turmoil of 2023 thus far, that is one thing we can count on. Until then, the best way to keep on truckin’ is to keep on cooking!