So here's the thing. Spring has finally hit Toronto. After an endless excruciating winter of -20 easterlies cluttering my eye lashes with frozen bits of universe and an early daylight savings time that made walking the dog at 7 a.m. feel like walking on the moon, it's now warm-ish, snow is melting in the valley, shades are worn, ugly moth bitten scarves are tossed aside, the swans are swimming rather than burying their beaks into their down, and you can smell a good dosage of pot in the air, so yeah, maybe spring is here to stay. The turning of the seasons always feels slightly melancholic to me. Or it could be the full moon. The light shifts. You've lost that sense of isolation that winter brings. That strange gift of the 5:30 dusk, both a blessing and a burden. Now things thankfully brighten up but it takes while in my case at any rate for the spirit to catch up.
Part of me is all let's hit the beach toss a frisbee drink beer catch the sunset light a bonfire cartwheel and kick up sand but another part is still trying to shed the morose skin of winter. I'm happy and hopeful but not entirely there yet.
It's Easter. But an odd one for me. Family is flung as far as the darts could land on a distant bull's eye. I've got a brother in Germany. A sister and 3 nieces and a nephew in the UAE and parents who have basically been jet setting since December 27. God bless them. My father's 71 and hanging out on shrimp boats in rural India sucking back a river boat pint getting milk from the barnyard cow at his homestay for morning coffee. I love my family but Toronto has been black and white without them.
Meanwhile we eat.
It's a strange seasonal time for food. Not quite yet the heart of spring produce so no local asparagus or rhubarb or radishes or heirloom beets. No wild leeks or forest fiddle heads or early mushrooms. The sidewalks are full of tulips and storage apples but it's still hard to dig into something of the essence. So anyway I shopped around and came up with a salad that tastes spring-like if not entirely made up of spring items -- it's sweet, crunchy, nutty, sour, tart, and earthy. That's about the best I could do.
Grated carrots and fresh blueberries, a surprising but wildly delicious combo.
Alfalfa sprouts give it an earthy zing but if you find them trying shoot for pea sprouts or discard altogether.
I used sunflower seeds but slivered almonds would be great.
I had an abundance of fresh basil so went with that but why not fresh dill or mint?
I kept the salad dairy and protein free but chickpeas would be perfect and chunks of salty feta would also be delicious.
I'm still obsessed with the lacinato organic kale but again if kale is not your thing choose arugula. Or chop up red lettuce leaves and toss together.
Raw sunflower seeds and natural brown sesame seeds
Bunch of dinosaur kale, washed, dried, ribboned
If you're into fennel seeds, sprinkle a few in. They are my new favourite crush.
You need a good dressing here. A homemade one with kick. I like either a maple syrup mustard one or just a straight up mustard vinaigrette. I went with the latter but used Kozlik's horseradish mustard and it was surreal. It's one of the best mustards I've ever tasted and is superb in salad dressings.
Basically it's 2 to 1 oil to acid so choose your oil and your acid and go forth.
I use a light tasting olive oil and either a white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar.
I add about a Tbsp of mustard and shake together in a jar.
Sometimes I season with coarse sea salt and crushed chili peppers.