Spring resolutions...and the books to go with them

I finally got into the garden this weekend - anybody else?  It wasn't much of a start, but I put in arugula and spinach, favas and peas.  It's the start of the growing season, when there's nary a weed or a pest (except for ticks - I've seen plenty of those already), and good intentions go hand-in-hand with wild ambition.

Forget about the new year we started back in January - spring is the real new year.  Every spring I mean to do a better job of cooking the season, and this spring is no exception.  So here are my spring resolutions - I'll try to keep them to a small handful, so I have a sporting chance.

Expand my repertoire of salad dressings: I know, I say this all the time.  But this time I'm really going to do it.  The pantry is overflowing with vinegars and I need to get serious about using them.  What I need to do is develop, say, three basic dressings - something vinaigretty, something creamy, something soy-based - and then figure out how to vary them as I like.

Find another way I love nettles.  These grow everywhere around our house, and I usually make at least one spring batch of nettle ravioli.  I've never quite warmed up to nettle soup, that classic cleanser, but maybe I'll try the nettle börek in Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume.  Or maybe the nettle and goat cheese pesto in Home Made.

Find another way to love radishes.  If no one stops me, I will eat all the radishes in the garden in the form of radish butter.  Sometimes I chop the radishes into the butter, sometimes I shingle radishes right onto buttered toast.  I can eat radish butter all day long. Seriously, it's like a sickness.  But I have a vague memory of loving them pickled, too.  And I have a feeling I would love very small radishes gently sweated in a buttered pan, like turnips, or tossed in a bright salad with spring onions, à la Nigel Slater.

I definitely want to avail myself of more marinades - because all that time in the garden comes at a price,and when I drag my soil-encrusted self back into the house in the afternoons, dinner prep tends to get drastically curtailed. Fortunately Harvard Common Press has just the book for me - Marinades by Lucy Vaserfirer.

There are other greens I'd like to think more about too - asparagus, and arugula, and spinach, say. But I know that if I overreach, my spring resolutions will go the way of my January ones - whatever those were.

What do you resolve to cook this spring, before all our time is thieved away by other pressing obligations?

3 Comments

  • darcie_b  on  4/16/2014 at 11:09 AM

    Since it's still snowing here, I feel left behind in spring prep. :( I want to use more of the weeds in my garden - I figure if I can't beat 'em, I'll eat 'em. Chickweed and dandelions to be precise.

  • Rinshin  on  4/16/2014 at 3:03 PM

    My husband planted 4 types of spinach (mostly Japanese types) and 4 types of lettuce 2 weeks ago. 3 of spinach are sprouting and one of lettuce. Also plated tomatoes from plants. All doing great. I planted herbs in the pots are they are all beginning to sprout. My cats are happy with catnips and kitty grass I bring in for them.

  • gunung  on  4/17/2014 at 6:44 PM

    Try growing sorrel too: it resists the snails and doesn't need to have any sprays to deter bugs. Sorrel soup is divine, and I also use shreds of it in cunning little mini quiches with cheese.

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