A meal to welcome spring

Spring has sprung here…or so it seems. We’ve had a gorgeous preview of spring this week with temperatures in the 60s and streets filled with children in short sleeves playing with abandon in the sunshine. That first breath of spring air always changes my palate in an instant. I am passionate about cooking seasonally, and days like we’ve had this week make me start to crave lighter, greener foods. I want to fire up the grill (without having to brush the snow off of it first!) and smell the char of a steak or the smoky edge of shrimp. I want to steam asparagus and toss salads of mixed greens with lemony vinaigrettes. Gone is my desire to spend the day near the stove stirring warm, comforting foods…the soups and stews that have satisfied and nourished our family through the cold and snowy days of winter here in the Midwest. Changing the foods on the table is like throwing off the comforter and quilts of winter to reveal crisp white sheets and light coverlets of spring. Aaaaah.

Tonight we’re having Mediterranean Grilled Vegetables on whole wheat flatbread. I’ll grill red, yellow and green peppers, a sweet Vidalia onion, some baby zucchini, and a handful of cherry tomatoes tossed in olive oil till the edges are charred and the pieces are crisp tender. I’ll grill the flatbread just until it’s warm and spread it with hummus and top it with the grilled vegetables, a sprinkle of goat cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic reduction. And we’ll have that green salad with shallot-lemon vinaigrette I’ve been craving all day. If I weren’t pregnant I’d open a bottle of bright, crisp Sauvignon Blanc and toast to the joy of our spring preview…as it is, I’ll make do with a bottle of Pellegrino and a twist of lime. 😉

I’m afraid we’ll be back to soups and stews for a few more weeks before spring is here for REAL but with a dinner like this to whet our appetite, I’ll spend those weeks poring through cookbooks for ideas to take advantage of the first spring harvests.

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