It’s the first day of spring. The world is white. Snow has been falling steadily, the road underfoot is crusty with ice, and the thermometer reads 9 degrees F.
I am getting restless. I think of gutting my 1970s kitchen, replacing its drawers that won’t open and its doors that won’t close. I think of purging old memories asleep in boxes of stuffed animals, once-favorite coffee mugs and too-small concert T-shirts from my basement. I think of writing a book, flying to Tahiti, joining the gym.
But it’s much too soon. Spring won’t properly arrive for weeks. I must ward off the fever.
And yet I’m thwarted. The days are longer and just a wee bit brighter, and yesterday I spotted in a corner of my garden, the one facing the morning sun, a bright green shoot, a daffodil brazenly emerging from the earth. I was in a hurry and didn’t stop to linger. When I returned this morning, it was buried in snow. I trudged to the corner where I swore I had seen it and dug and dug until my knees were soaked and my fingers numb. It had been there – it’s still there – I’m sure.
In this weather, my body craves winter food: stews served with steam still rising, dense bread, deep red wine. But today I think I, too, will be brazen. I will set the table with flowers from the supermarket. I will serve a spring salad, with a light crusty bread, and even a glass of “white” wine, which, if I look closely enough, is not white at all, but tinged with the bright yellows and greens of spring.
One of my favorite cookbooks is “The Food You Crave” by Ellie Krieger. Whenever I need “spring,” I turn to her Chickpea and Spinach Salad with Cumin Dressing, which serves four. It’s great on the side or as a main dish with warm bread. Adapted from “The Food You Crave”:
- One 15.5 ounce can low-sodium chickpeas, rinsed
- 2 Tablespoons chopped Italian parsley
- 1 finely diced shallot (or 1 small red onion)
- 2 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 Tablespoons plain yogurt
- 1 Tablespoon orange juice
- ¼ Teaspoon finely grated orange zest
- ¼ Teaspoon honey
- Bunch baby spinach leaves, rinsed and dried (I like to pluck off any long stems)
- 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
In a medium bowl, combine the chickpeas, parsley, shallot (or onion).
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, zest, cumin, salt and pepper. Pour the dressing over the chickpea mixture and toss.
In a third bowl, whisk together the yogurt, orange juice, zest, and honey.
Just before serving, place the spinach leaves in a bowl and toss with the chickpeas.
Divide salad onto four plates, top with yogurt sauce, and garnish with mint.