Scenes From a Springtime Dinner Table

Now that things are growing in the warm sun, we are enjoying some seasonal delights at the dinner table. We have tulips from the cutting garden:

Tulips rather notoriously lose steam after their first year, and ours are no exception. Many did not re-bloom, and the ones that did are smaller than they were last season. Still, we have enough to keep up a bouquet on the dining room table, and that's enough to brighten things up indoors.

Asparagus season is in full swing! To keep it from getting out of hand, Kirk turned several large bunches into 

Cream of Asparagus Soup

4-5 scallions, chopped
3-4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbs. olive oil
2-3 large bunches of asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
1/2 to 1 cup cream
Salt and pepper to taste 
fresh tarragon for garnish

1. In a large stock pot, sauté scallions and garlic in olive oil.  

2. As you cut asparagus into pieces, add to the pot and allow to sauteé while you continue chopping. 

3. Cover with water and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes. 

4. Purée the mixture with an immersion blender until very smooth. If the asparagus is at all woody (that is, thicker than a pencil) you probably want to strain it through a mesh sieve.

5. Stir in cream to desired color. We like ours pretty green — about the color of split pea soup.

6. Add salt, pepper, and fresh tarragon to taste.

This is a good appetizer for those raw and drizzly spring days that haven't gotten the memo that it's supposed to be warm in May. It also freezes well, so we'll be able to enjoy some asparagus long after we run out of stalks to harvest.

You know what's nice with soup? 

Mmm … quiche. Quiche is a perfect springtime food for us, because we are flush with eggs — gotta use them up somehow! This one features some extra seasonal ingredients: spinach, mushrooms, and goat cheese, all of which are at their best in the spring or early summer. Quiche is really easy to make, and the possibilities are endless. If you've never done it, this Rachel Ray recipe is a great place to start. It gives the most basic ratios, plus lots of ideas for add-ins. 

Finally, we had our first stalks of rhubarb this week as well, in a delicious rhubarb crisp:

Rhubarb is often paired with strawberries in pies and crisps, but it's still too early yet for berries. It's very easy to just replace the strawberries with more rhubarb, though — just make sure to adjust the sugar to account for the extra sour flavor of the rhubarb. My favorite strawberry rhubarb recipe is here, and you can easily modify it for the rhubarb crisp above. Bonus points if you make your own ice cream!

Now if we can just get our outdoor furniture ready to go, we'll really be living the good life this spring.


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