Spring is really here, and in celebration of the new season, we have set out the tomatoes and pepper starts and emptied the winter freezer.

Our lettuce, planted slightly up grade from the water barrels (to get maximum shade), has been left to its own. It has been fighting to get the water it needs-depending on the spring rains- as the drip hoses running from the barrels have not figured out how to defy gravity. A higher barrel stand is in the plans, but did not make it to the top of our list in time, and the sunniest lettuce spots have started to bolt. In order to ensure this weeks salads were not too bitter, I picked the rest of it. bags. And so, along side all my use-up-the-freezer-content concoctions, we have an abundance of spring greens. 

We will look forward to lettuces from the market for a few more weeks- from growers who have more shade and a better water supply than us- and then we will wait on lettuce until the fall when we put in our second round of the cool weather crop. Don’t pity us for this waiting. I must tell you: it is a luxury to eat in season. It tastes better, partially because it is fresh and local- rather than being the result of under-ripe shipments or bland breedings that ensure long shelf life over quality. But seasonal foods also taste better precisely because you need to wait for them. Spring lettuce is a joy, as we have waited the winter for it. And fall lettuce, too, will be a joy, because we will have gone the hottest part of the growing season without it. the waiting makes the  food taste better. 

That is not to say that  we wait on everything. We do a good deal of putting up. And this season, as I have noted, is the season to clean out our food storage in preparation for a summer and fall of refilling. There is not much left after a long winter: some red pepper and broccoli, a little stock. potatoes, basil, and spinach. Some berries that we would have eaten, had they not been misplaced under the greens (they are quickly being used up in morning smoothies). Black beans, wheat berries and flax seed, that will keep a little longer in the freezer and be used in the next few weeks.  And lentil soup. 

I have been making up pizza crusts, biscuits and pancakes with my sourdough starter and I decided to try my hand at a sourdough pasty crust to stuff with our frozen edibles. for those who know me, you will know that “trying my hand” at anything bake-able is rather hit or miss because I very rarely consult  a recipe. This strategy works stovetop, but not always with leavenings. The sourdough has been a joy, however- because so far, I have not been able to go truly wrong. and the pasties, i must say, were truly right. 

I made up three varieties, to eat our fill of, share with neighbors, and freeze for quick dinners when I don’t have time to cook. The fillings perfectly used up the end of our freezer food, plus a few around the house ingredients (wine from the last in-law visit, a few nuts) and fresh garlic greens, mushrooms, spinach, eggs, flour, butter and cheese from the farmer’s market.  

These were my batches:

-Spinach with feta- I used the secret recipe for the stuffing to my godmother’s spanikopita. Do not tell her I substituted out the phylo. She might get upset. 

-white wine braised shiitakes with basil, potato, walnut and colby.

-broccoli and cheddar with fresh green garlic.

I do not typically gloat over my own food, but I have never made a more perfect crust than this. I used the start to my pizza crust recipe- equal parts sourdough starter and flour but instead of oil, I shaved in a whole lot of butter.  As the starter has matured it has developed an impressive flavor, that has begun to be a staple in the food from my kitchen. I like having staples. and empty freezers, ready for refilling. 

to spring. and the end of dark days.