the breeze barely murmurs but the feeling is all-consuming. a hint of green budding fat on the ends of trees, and the sun finds them now with longer arms. not all days occupy equal simplicity, but to utter the words ‘now it is spring’ seems to ease any residual tension that coincides with life. the birds collect in the ceiling of the garden department and sing poetic sermons. a warm evening spent shoveling in the light of the rising moon uncovers deeply rooted earthworms, cycling through the soil with repetition and grace. the surrounding signs are abundant. the determination for what exists beneath to emerge is evident. we stir from our snowy blanket one morning and find we are surrounded by perseverance.
still, i am ever cautious in this tender period of initial change. our corner of the midwest seems to continually nurse a chaotic legacy of unpredictable weather – and that one warm evening turns effortlessly into a dense and heavy spring blizzard. do you share my fate where you are, or is your spring defined romantically and quintessentially by emergent green vines and blue skies? i am comprised of a combination of breath holding, hand holding, curiosity, and excitement. one more snow, two more snows, ice-bridled wind and a stubborn last frost date still won’t discourage. the ground is flexible and supple. there is something very giving of the earth this time of year – the womb is soft and velveteen, and we are in it.
- juice of 2 lemons, separate
- 1 lb young artichoke
- 2 cups of 1-2 day old rustic bread, cubed
- 2 tbl olive oil, separate
- 4 cups young pea shoots
- 4 oz spring lettuce (arugula works here too)
- hand of parsley
- hand of dill
- salt and pepper
- prepare a bath in a large bowl of cool water, combined with the juice of one lemon. working swiftly with one artichoke at a time, remove tough outer leaves until the first tender layer is revealed. trim an inch from the top, as well the stem if needed. slice lengthwise, and then again, thinly and into the bowl of lemon juice (this is to work against discoloration). repeat until all artichokes are prepared and sliced.
- preheat oven to 375 degrees. toss cubed bread with 1 tbl olive oil, salt and pepper and splay on a baking sheet. bake briefly, until toasted but still soft, about 10 minutes.
- in a large bowl combine pea shoots, spring lettuce, parsley and dill. drain artichoke and pat dry with paper towels or with use of a salad spinner. add artichokes to bowl along with toasted bread.
- combine the remaining lemon juice with the remaining olive oil, along with salt and pepper to taste. toss dressing with salad enjoy.