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Happy-Gourmand

Reaching for the sun

The days are getting longer. The Flower Full Moon was just last weekend, meaning spring is officially in the air and in our souls.

Green shoots abound, and blossoms of all kinds are bursting out everywhere.

If you have allergies, I offer my condolences. For the rest of us, I say “Breathe deep!” We are on our way to summer, and more sun.

What is it about the sun that we love so much? Even those who love winter pastimes and the purity of snow often find the sun and sand a decadent environment. Perhaps it is the primal need for warmth. We need to maintain our body temperatures and food needs warmth to grow.

We can create warmth other ways than just standing in the sun, but the plants need the sun for photosynthesis, and without plants we have no food. So there you go. Even if you’re not keen to lie on the beach and soak up the rays, you need the sun in your life indirectly.

As a gardener, I have an intrinsic need to keep plants growing. As a gourmande, I have a desire to grow plants that are edible. In the Canadian winter that can be challenging.

I found a marvellous solution this winter, thanks to a fellow gardening friend. Our Tower Garden gave us a jump start on spring, offering green lettuce leaves and herbs in March, not to mention light for 12 hours a day.

Just like the plant pods in the tower shooting out toward the LED lights, we felt like we could breathe deeper and stretch our muscles towards the warming sun. This wonderful accessory has made me happy inside and out.

Besides eating fresh food, I do like to get my dose of vitamin D from outside as opposed to swallowing a pill. Having a dog gives me a chance to get outside every day, to take the time to smell the fresh air. In the winter this can be a feat some days, braving brisk winds and snow or rain.

As the orchards and fields and gardens come back to life in spring, it is rejuvenating to take it all in. Morning walks require fewer layers as the ground warms up and the sunny days come more often, more in a row.

Even my pal, Ella, takes advantage of spring by nibbling on the green shoots of crab grass in the field.

I was pleased to know that I am not alone in my efforts to celebrate the coming of spring. Historically there are numerous examples of spring festivals and parties that go back centuries.

Have you ever heard of a Maypole? The Medieval tradition still exists widely in the U.K., Germany and parts of Scandinavia. Dancing around a tall pole with ribbons that intertwine the pole is a central part of spring and midsummer celebrations.

No one is sure how the dance started, but some research says the pole may represent a tree, and paying homage to the rejuvenation of trees in spring goes back to the Druids.

Did you know that the full moon this time of year signifies an ancient Celtic myth called Beltane that celebrates the transition from winter to the growing season of summer?

There are groups around the world that gather around fires at Beltane to shake off the vestiges of winter and anoint themselves with the renewing energy of a new growing year.

If you believe in fairies, now is the time to watch for them, dancing in the night. For those who like to travel, the Beltane Fire Festival in Edinburgh is an event to check out.

You don’t have to plant a garden or get a pet to enjoy spring. You can borrow the enthusiasm Mother Nature offers by attending spring events.

The Okanagan Spring Wine Festival starts this week, and it offers a perfect example of spring celebration, just as in much of history. My only recommendation is to share the experience, so you can toast to your good fortune — summer is on its way.

If you’re a cook and a gardener like me, then here are some salad ideas for you. Feel free to use fresh greens you picked up at the farmer’s market, or herbs you may have growing in a pot.

Congratulate yourself on celebrating a new season of growth. Bon Appetit, and Happy Spring.

(We used these quantities when we made salad for the school class in our Edible Education program. Feel free to adjust the amounts to your crowd.)

CHEWY & CRUNCHY GREENS

1 head green lettuce
3 carrots, grated
2 apples, sliced
1 cup raisins
¼ cup sunflower seeds (raw or toasted)

Dressing:

¼ cup maple syrup
¼ cup cider vinegar
¼ cup yogurt
¼ tsp celery seed
¼ tsp salt

MEDITERRANEAN TABOULLEH

1 bunch parsley, chopped (by hand or in a food processor, but not too fine)
1 bunch mint, chopped (as parsley)
3 tomatoes, chopped (can use 1 pint cherry tomatoes if you wish)
1 English cucumber, chopped fine
1 cup cooked bulgur or quinoa

Dressing:

1/3 cup olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
Salt to taste



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About the Author

Kristin Peturson-Laprise is a customer experience specialist by trade, which means she is someone passionate about people having a good time. 

Her company, Wow Service Mentor, helps businesses enhance their customer experience through hands-on training, service programs, and special event coordination.

Kristin enjoys her own experiences too, and that is what she writes about in this column. She and her husband Martin Laprise (also known as Chef Martin, of The Chef Instead) love to share their passion for food and entertaining.  

Kristin says:

"Wikipedia lists a gourmand as a person who takes great pleasure in food. I have taken the concept of gourmandise, or enjoying something to the fullest, in all parts of my life. I love to grow and cook food, and I loved wine enough to become a Sommelier. I call a meal a success when I can convey that 'sense of place' from where the food has come . . . the French call that terroir, but I just call it the full experience. It might mean tasting the flavours of my own garden, or transporting everyone at the table to a faraway place, reminiscent of travels or dreams we have had."

 

E-mail Kristin at:  [email protected]

Check out her website here:  www.wowservicementor.com

 



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The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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