Early Spring

1 year ago By Christine Sahadi Whelan
Early Spring

By now we’ve all heard the predictions of an early spring, and I for one, am definitely looking forward to it.  It’s been so gloomy these past few months, and I am eager for daylight savings time. I am also itching to get out in my yard for early planting. As I look at my Urfa peppers and Aleppo pepper plants germinating on my sunny kitchen counter, I am already thinking about the wonderful dishes I can make with the harvest this summer.

Lucky for us at the store, we have been offered some very early local New York State greenhouse-grown produce. I decided to make a few grazing boards to shoo away the winter cooking doldrums. We got some gorgeous giant beefsteak tomatoes from upstate New York. My cheesemongers had just made some milky, soft twisted cheese. Our Farmshelf contributed some delicious English Thyme leaves -- gorgeous and fragrant. The grazing board started taking shape, as I drizzled it all with some homemade vinaigrette and served with a local sourdough. It was a delicious treat. Then, I just had to ask my husband Pat to make us an aperitif with Forthave Aperitivo, a local Brooklyn-made cordial, finished with a blood orange wheel.

To finish off the meal, I decided to keep on with the New York State grown theme. I had been sniffing around these amazingly juicy Honeycrisp apples from an Upstate farm. I paired these apples with a full-flavored bandage-wrapped cheddar from Crown Finish Caves, aged right here in Brooklyn.  I love working with them; their cheeses are so flavorful, full bodied and aromatic, perfect for a feature on a dessert board.  

It may not really be spring yet, but since the weather is deceptively warm I decided to take full advantage. Today is set to be over 60F and with an hour of extra daylight, I am already thinking of the local fish I can toss on the BBQ! Maybe I’ll lay it over a bed of black New York State beluga lentils which just came in from Timeless Foods. I have some house-preserved lemons, a lot of Farmshelf Anise Hyssop with its slight licorice flavor and its beautiful purple flowers, and some backyard dried hot chili peppers. I can almost believe summer is here.