Lady Spring has made her grand entrance or somewhat with one foot in and the other out. One thing I am sure of is that she is not waiting around for me to follow her nor does she care I am longing for the fervent sun. I am focused on planning my meals for this upcoming week and being quickly reminded that April is near. I deeply want to enjoy ripe fruits, colorful and crisp veggies, and local whole grains.
My main focus during my meal planning and grocery list creating is “what is in season at my small local grocery store?” Naturally I navigate towards what is in season and local because let’s keep it real, it tastes better! All my local farms are starting to dust off their farm stands by giving them a fresh coat of paint, adding more wooden tables and some are completely rebuilding their market stand. Seeing the improvements and restoration gets me excited and desirous of the harvest!
Until we can fancy our farm stands and farmer’s market, we have to shop smart if we are at big grocery stores. Keeping in mind what is in season will last you longer between meal preparation, as well as bring flavor to your entire meal.
I wanted to share with you a few winners in my book that are easy to use and make great flexible ingredients. There is no doubt that these ‘fresh from the farm’ ingredients will add jazz and soul to your dinner plans. Not only are in-season produce ridiculously fresh and full flavor but they are also loaded with nutritional benefits our temples (bodies)thrive from. If you are up north like me, I am in the northeast and our weather has a mind of its own, so harvest starts later. Our produce calendar looks a little different than the Southern regions and out West. Yet there are definitely some treasures to be found in creating the next meal to explore and tantalize your palate.
Asparagus sauteed in olive oil with sea salt is amazing with a squeeze of lemon (which is also in season). Delicious for a great side or add butter-fried mushrooms on top with some hard cheese for a main.
So delicious, rich, and super universal. Adding avocados to my smoothies or eating them sliced on the side with poached eggs is truly delightful. Of course not forgetting to mention guacamole!
I was introduced to raab here in New Jersey as the Italians love it sauteed on top of a steak and cheese or chicken cutlet sandwich. It packs more flavor than spinach!
Fried and sauteed are my absolute top ways to prepare cauliflower. Yet I am no stranger to boiling cauliflower and tossing it in the food processor for my version of ‘mashed potatoes’ hold the potato.
Leeks are the brother of onions and sister of green onions but robust. Try sauteeing leeks, add chicken and it’s broth, then bring your dish to a simmer. The aroma creates a longing to taste yet devouring when finished is the true reward.
Mushroom replaces the ‘meat’ in a lot of my meals. It brings the earthiness in my butter sauces and gusto to a gravy as a topping. Mushrooms are the perfect flex partner when creating a savory yet earthy dish.
Did you give a try to that savory spinach & chive linguine + mushroom garlic sauce recipe from last week? It will wake up some deeply rooted sensations in your palate. It’s sure to connect you to the earth, the fields, and the forest.
Gratitude for the harvest to come is an honor. Being mindful of what you are preparing is important, and the health benefits from what is in-season is checking off the box in your self-care routine. Nothing like the feeling of eating fresh and looking fresh.