I can’t believe we’re almost halfway through the year, when it still feels like it just started.
On the other hand, it does feel good to be inching towards warmer days, and May is certainly an exciting month for that.
The days get sunnier, patios reopen, flowers bloom, cruise ships start coming in, and the long days of summer seem more and more inevitable.
I realise that I’ve never really gotten into spring produce; there aren’t a lot of dishes on here celebrating asparagus, rhubarb, peas, artichokes, etc.
If you’ve lived in this region for a while, you’re probably in one of two camps when it comes to tulip festivals.
You either went to a tulip festival several years ago or you’ve been meaning to go for years.
I used to be in the ‘been-meaning-go’ camp until two weekends ago, when I decided to cross ‘visit a tulip farm in spring’ off my bucket list.
We missed the festival here in the Fraser Valley; the tulips bloomed early this season because of our unseasonably warm spring.
The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs for longer, every April 1 – 30, so we drove about an hour and the half south to Mount Vernon.
My weekend was quiet and deservingly restful, I was grateful not to have any plans.
I spent time cooking and catching up on my reading – my ideal type of weekend, it also helped that the weather on Saturday was splendid.
I enjoyed a calm sunny day, and ended up baking soda bread for lunch after losing my morning to a series of flavour-filled books.
The first thing we did when we got home from our food photography class last spring was head straight for our local produce market.
We’d been so inspired by all the vibrant vegetables we styled and photographed at the class, we could hardly wait to get our hands on some beautiful produce of our own.
We got asparagus, fennel, carrots, broccoli and artichokes, roasted them and then tossed them with fragrantly spiced rice. We enjoyed it so much the first time we made them, we ignored our cameras and just sat down to eat.
We make it quite often now, it’s become a staple in our dinner repertoire; we switch to whatever produce is available as the seasons change.
Last fall we roasted sweet potatoes, cauliflower and broccoli with lots of garlic and added some leftover rice cooked with lemon zest and a drizzle of tahini dressing – We made it three weeks in a row and had to stop ourselves from making it again, lest we got tired of it.
I don’t eat out that much at home, so exploring restaurants is one of the things I look forward to when I travel.
New York is exceptionally great for this because it has so many, many great restaurants.
I have a small list of places to try, these are mostly recommendation from friends, food/travel magazines and websites. The list keeps growing, which is fine because I get a sense of accomplishment when I’m able to check a restaurant off it; particularly if the experience exceeded my expectation.
On this recent trip, we had a memorable lunch at the vegan restaurant Candle 79 on the Upper East Side, and a superb dinner at Jack’s Wife Freda – all places I highly recommend and can’t wait to go back and try other items on their menus.