The most wonderful time of the year!
April 15, 2017
With apologies, of course, to Andy Williams. Christmas is wonderful, too, but Lord help me, how I DO love spring. Not least because of all the food-related bonuses it brings. Gardening, strawberries, salad greens, fresh asparagus, grilling out, draft beer and a cheese-and-sausage plate at the ballpark…
…and farmers’ markets!
Which I love as much as I love spring. Or maybe it’s because I love spring. More likely, it’s because I love to eat. And a trip to the farmers’ market means there’s some good eating to be done, either there, or when you get home, or over the course of the next several days.
I made my first market of the year back last month, when we’d gone to Hot Springs for a weekend. Had some time to kill, and our hotel was just down the street, so I walked down. Saw some old friends, bought herbs, and oh my God, there were the first strawberries of the season! I grabbed some. Back to the hotel, stashed them in the fridge, set the herbs on the desk. One of our traveling companions came in, was checking out the herbs, and wanted to go. So we went back. I bought honey that time.
Our market in Jonesboro won’t open for another three weeks (and I’ll be on the road the first Saturday it’s open, at that), but I’ve made the one in Memphis a couple of times. Once because I just KNEW the Whitton Farms people would have fresh asparagus, and I was doing some serious jonesing for fresh asparagus. And I was right, and I bought three pounds of it. Along with strawberries, some stuffed grape leaves, and a primo grilled cheese sandwich for breakfast.
Today, I went back. Because tomorrow is Easter, and we must have asparagus. We do, in fact, have asparagus; four one-pound bundles of it, not quite half of which I’ll cook tomorrow. My children and I love us some asparagus.
Along with that, I picked up more strawberries (because there is no such thing as too many strawberries), two kinds of radishes, and green onions. I’ve already trimmed the radishes and added them to the deviled egg/relish platter for tomorrow; no one but me will eat them, but that’s ok, what I don’t eat for dinner I’ll just stash in a baggie and put in the fridge.
And I got two more tomato plants, to replace a couple that didn’t make it through the transplanting process, and a bag of bagels.
And flowers for Easter!
And then I had another primo grilled cheese sandwich for brunch.
These people KNOW how to make a grilled cheese. Good cheddar, and fontina, on sourdough. I had them add bacon and avocado to mine, because, well, bacon and avocado.
I don’t know how they do it, but these folks fry it up so the outside of that sandwich is a gorgeous golden tan, and has the most luscious crispy crunch. It is the Nirvana of all grilled cheese sandwiches, and along with strawberries and asparagus, is a perfectly wonderful reason for a two-hour round drip on the Saturday before Easter.
I hope you ‘n y’mama ‘n ’em have a most glorious Easter and a thoroughly enjoyable kickoff of spring.