Happy 2016 (belatedly), dear friends! In case anyone out there actually visits my little blog anymore, thank you so very much! As usual, I find myself apologizing for the lengthy silence. Since the last time I posted (last June, seriously!?), I’ve been travelling a lot and went to some really cool places (Bangalore & Chennai, Melbourne, Kathmandu, Chiang Mai, Koh Phi Phi, Penang, Livingstone in Zambia (where Victoria Falls is), Phnom Penh and most recently Vancouver)!
|Gorgeous Koh Phi Phi - there's nothing like spending the holidays on a Thai island!|
|Some of the gorgeous art I picked up in Kathmandu (Nepal)|
|(l): The amazing Victoria Falls and (r): Zebras frolicking on the hotel grounds where we enjoyed sundowners|
I also worked like crazy, celebrated the holidays (Deepavali, Thanksgiving, Loy Kratong, Christmas, New Year’s), observed our son’s 2nd birthday and embraced toddlerhood in all its glory, enjoyed having some very dear friends visiting over the holidays and tried (am continually trying) to pursue better health and healthy living for my little family and I.
And needless to say, I’ve been cooking and eating some pretty wonderful food too! Which means I really should have been sharing all of that here, but since life got in the way and I didn’t, I thought I would resort to some…ahem…*recycling*…and share with you some of my top “spring” recipes from the past. These are oldies but goodies, all family favorites that have become a regular part of our meal rotation. Even though we don’t live in a place with any real change of seasons (other than hot, hotter and hottest!), my trips to Melbourne and recently Vancouver made me think about how that change and particularly the burst of spring after a long, cold winter is such a delight! A time to clean and spruce up, to renew our spirits, to eat healthier and lighter and to enjoy wonderful spring produce – things like peas, mint, spinach, berries, asparagus, broccoli, pineapple and the like, depending on where you live.
This post is an ode to all that spring goodness! Enjoy these favorites of ours, in no particular order:
Top 10 Spring Recipes
Peas and mint are a classic spring combination and one of my favorites. I initially blitzed up this super easy soup for a dinner party in Washington but since then I often make it whenever I have a stash of mint to use up, as we almost always have (frozen) peas. Bonus – little man loves it too!
I remember all too well the day I made this for Luis, my mom and I. I was heavily pregnant, about to pop at any minute! I was craving something refreshing and this aqua fresca (a delicious Mexican beverage made with fresh fruits and herbs) really hit the spot.
3. Spring Burst Peanutty Mung Salad (courtesy of my mom!)
My mom is a wonderful and inventive cook, here’s just one example! A delicious and healthy salad of mung bean sprouts and rice noodles mixed with lots of fresh veggies and a yummy Asian-style dressing.
The peas & mint combo again! Super easy to whip up for apéro time or anytime you want something delicious to dip your crackers in.
Variations of this dish can be found all around Africa (at the countries that I’ve lived in or visited). It’s super easy, delicious and good for you! Fresh spinach is perfect in the spring, but you can make it year-round with frozen spinach. Speaking of Africa, it was so SO good to be back on the continent when I went to Livingstone, Zambia at the beginning of this February...have missed it!
One of my favorite cookbooks is Around My French Table by Dorie Greenspan. I flip through it whenever I miss Paris, and even though I haven’t cooked from it much I’ve tagged tons of recipes in it. Dorie specializes in accessible versions of a lot of the French classics. I made this art using her recipe for pâte brisée (a flaky, buttery crust). Nowhere near as difficult as I thought it would be!
Inspired by finds at the wonderful Bastille market back when we were living in Paris and a spring clean-out of our fridge!
I make risotto all the time. The nonstop stirring can be a bit annoying, but I actually find it soothing after a long day, especially knowing that the end product is so worth it! This recipe is highly adaptable, you can switch in whatever luscious spring veggies you happen to have on hand.
One of our favorite hidden gems in Paris was a little resto in Montmartre (close to where we used to live) called Chez Plumeau. I once had a beet carpaccio there which was served with a delicious sorbet of lime and basil. I just had to replicate it at home, here’s the result!
Berries are one of the best things about spring! Well, unless you live in Thailand that is, in which case they cost a fortune and you make do with frozen berries. But never mind, frozen or fresh, a berry smoothie is always a good idea! Especially one spiced up with some cardamom and coconut and boosted with some flaxseed.