Small flags of color are beginning to wave in the wind; the fresh breeze of spring has finally entered our days. Bulbs have burst through the frozen soil, and some have even burst into more color than the first hint of green. Not surprising any more to spot a dandelion amongst frosted blades of grass, the real flowers are ready to pop, deserving greater recognition. Anyone with perennials in their flower beds are talking; trying to beat each others story of blooming firsts, though they dont do this purposely, its just how the conversation grows. I think everyone notices the first flowers of spring, but walk along a gardeners planted pathway and they will point out every bloom, at every stage of blooming; there is pride in the planting.
While on my drive to the shop this morning, I observed more color beginning to dot my township. While my Amish neighbors have been hanging their laundry on the outdoor line all winter long, my English neighbors are just beginning to line dry their laundry; brightly colored T-shirts, towels, and socks have brightened my drive by.
I have noticed chores of the season have also added to the visual interest of my daily drive; a down-the-road neighbor painted his mailbox and the rock below it the brightest blue, our egg lady Mary her sons have turned their garden soil it is the richest brown. New, decorative flags are replacing the faded and tattered flags of winter; I love the new designs of flowers, rabbits, rainbows, and sunshine.
Burn piles have heightened with the repeated chore of picking up sticks, a good kid designated chore, tortured mums leftover from fall, leaves raked from the flower beds, and garden chairs that are now on their last leg. It will be good fire, and when the coals are hot and the fire burns low we will welcome spring with the seasons first hotdog roast, or burn depending on how you prefer your dog to be cooked.
I have noticed several cement geese have changed clothes and are now showing off new threads as they set still on the front stoop. The folks in the Victorian house, they have taken the Christmas wreaths off their three doors, and will probably put up something flowery and leafy green. We will enjoy these until Thanksgiving.
One sure sign of outdoor activity it the evident sign of children at play, their sandboxes get refreshed, their Easter baskets were sand buckets and shovels, and all their other plastic toys are scattered over the yard; true colors of spring indeed.
Fresh is the season, fresh are the ingredients; send you recipes to Hearth & Home, 5973 Blachleyville Rd., Wooster, OH, 44691. Emails are always welcome.
1 (3 pound) roasting chicken
3 ounces butter (a little less than 1/2 stick)
1 teaspoon garlic, minced
1 lemon, quartered
Garlic powder, salt and pepper
Small bunch sprigs fresh Rosemary and/or thyme
4 rashers thickly cut bacon
1 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Blend together the seasoning, finely minced garlic and softened butter. Sprinkle the chicken lightly, all over, with garlic powder, salt and pepper. Carefully lift the skin on the chicken breast using a sharp knife, and spread half of the butter mixture underneath. Prick the thighs and breast flesh with a fork and rub in a little more of the butter mixture. Place the remaining mixture inside the bird with the lemon quarters and fresh herbs. Place the chicken in a roasting pan and cover the breast with the bacon. Cover with foil and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until tender, basting frequently. 15 minutes before the end of cooking time, remove the foil and brown the bacon.
Dilled Spring Potato Salad
2 pounds new white potatoes
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup thinly sliced celery
2 tablespoons fresh chopped dill
1/2 cup sliced green onions
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayonnaise, as needed
First, cook the potatoes in a large pan of lightly boiling, salted water until they can be pierced with a thin paring knife (they will continue cooking as they cool in their jackets). Drain well, return to the pan and let cool to room temperature. Second, peel the cooled potatoes and slice 1/4 inch thick into a glass or stainless mixing bowl. Sprinkle with the cider vinegar and season with salt and pepper, then refrigerate for at least 2 hours or overnight. Third, toss the potatoes with the celery, dill, green onions and mustard. Fold in the sour cream and then add in enough of the mayonnaise to bind the salad together. The potatoes may absorb some of the moisture if you prepare the salad ahead of time. You may want to add a little extra mayonnaise as needed just before serving.
A couple of handfuls of Romaine lettuce, in bite size pieces
The same amount of spinach torn into bite size pieces
1/2 cup cauliflower pieces
1/2 cup diced red onion or chopped green onions
1/2 cup shredded red cabbage
1/2 cup English peas
1 orange, peeled and cut in chunks
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
2 tablespoons walnuts or cashew nuts
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Make a dressing from orange juice, rice vinegar, olive oil, a little garlic and soy sauce shook in a jar. Toss dressing on salad and serve. Let spring ring like a melody in your heart. This is a glorious time of year.
Maple Glazed Spring Chicken
2 1/2 to 3 pounds chicken (cut into pieces)
1/2 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup melted butter
1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 cup slivered almonds
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place chicken pieces in a shallow buttered baking dish. Mix together remaining ingredients and pour over chicken. Bake uncovered 50 to 60 minutes, basting occasionally. Serves 6.
Spring Fresh Ham and Rice Salad
1 cup celery, chopped or sliced
1 cup rice
2 cups ham cubes
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
3/4 cup green pepper slices
1/2 cup carrot slices
3/4 cup real mayonnaise
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Prepare rice according to directions (don't use anything instant). Chill. Combine rice, celery, ham, oranges, green pepper, carrots, mayonnaise and seasonings. Mix lightly. Chill. Serve on lettuce covered platter and garnish with carrot curls and parsley if desired.
Spring Fruit Pie
1 1/2 cups pineapple, cut in sm. pieces
1 1/2 cups fresh rhubarb, cut in sm. pieces
3/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons minute tapioca
2 tablespoons orange juice
1 1/2 cups strawberries, cut in small pieces
1 baked 10 inch pie shell
Butter flavoring; optional
Mix pineapple and rhubarb with sugar, tapioca and orange juice. Let stand for minutes. Cook over medium heat until tapioca dissolves and mixture thickens. Stir in strawberries. Pour into baked pie shell. Chill for 4 hours. Spread with whipped topping. Serves 6.
Spring Vegetable Soup
3 tablespoons butter
3 small leeks, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1 large carrot, sliced thin
1/2 cup regular long-grain rice
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
8 cups water
3 large potatoes, peeled & sliced thin
1 bag fresh spinach, washed & chopped
12 spears asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Dash of black pepper
One hour before serving sauté leeks and onions in butter until tender, not brown, in large Dutch oven. Add rice, salt and water. Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Add potatoes, carrots and asparagus. Cover and simmer 10 minutes. Add 4 teaspoons salt, pepper, spinach and cream. Stir gently and serve. Great served with crusty bread-rolls, grapes and jarlsburg cheese. Serves 8.
Spring Tea Salad
1 (10 ounce) package frozen peas (rinse in hot water)
1 cup diced celery
1 cup chopped fresh cauliflower
1/4 cup diced green onion
1 cup chopped cashews
1/4 cup crisp crumbled bacon
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup Original or buttermilk Hidden Valley dressing
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic
Mix vegetables, nuts and bacon. Toss with dressing mixture. Chill and serve.
Springtime Vegetable Slaw
1 pound shredded cabbage
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup broccoli flowerets, chopped
1/2 cup halved cherry tomatoes
1/2 cup sliced celery
1/2 cup peeled, seeded, diced cucumber
1 cup chopped parsley
1/3 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon garlic salt
Combine cabbage, carrots, broccoli, tomatoes, celery and cucumber in salad bowl. Whisk together remaining ingredients for dressing. Toss salad with dressing. Makes 10 servings.