This weekend the weathermen got my hopes up by claiming there would be warm weather all weekend. While it wasn't quite what I had hoped for, I made my way to the farmers market hoping that the somewhat milder weather had coaxed a few springtime fruits and vegetables out of the ground and off their trees. It may have been wishful thinking seeing as somehow the winter chill that freezes the end of my nose all season made an appearance, cutting through the sun's golden rays. But seeing as Friday was the first day of spring, the market and all it's farmers, merchants and artisans really put their best foot forward to remind us that despite the weather, Mother Nature will soon be sending springs bounty our way.
Each stand held fliers touting the arrival of spring, and not surprisingly in many cases, fresh baskets and trays of eggs. From the everyday chicken egg to the less common pheasant and the teeny tiny speckled quail, they were everywhere for the first time in months. In the coming weeks I intend to buy a dozen for myself to see how they compare to my regular old organic, free-range variety. I've been told that as a lover of soft boiled eggs, runny yolks, and all around eggy goodness, I'll never go back to my supermarket eggs again. I'll have to give them the brunch test and report back in a later post (so stay tuned for that).
And much to my delight, among the vibrant spring flowers were the first few pots of spring herbs. Cilantro caught my eye immediately (the first of the season!), since it was my inspiration for buying fresh herbs in the first place. It still looked a bit young and weak, so I'll go back in a few weeks for one of those as well. It was also the first appearance of spring basil, which unlike the cilantro looked pretty strong, so I bought myself a nice little pot, still protected from the harsh winter breezes by a plastic covering. I'm already planning a lovely pesto primavera for it once the asparagus and sweet fresh peas hit the market. In the meantime, I'll be keeping it on my windowsill next to the other herbs and watering it frequently (basil loves light and water, so as long as both are present it thrives without a problem).
And so, I went home fairly empty-handed from the market but managed to recover in Chinatown with two bagfuls of yummy treats (stay tuned for a few recipes involving those purchases in the days to come). Although the market was sparse, it served as great inspiration for the food and dishes to come as we get deeper into the season. For example, there were some lovely delicate lettuces (peace out, winter cabbage!), including mâche, that while still expensive, got me excited for light and airy summer dishes, and the days when there's so much spring lettuce they're practically giving it away. Stay tuned this week for some great transitional weather dishes, a mini-how-to lesson, and a brand new recession special. In the meantime, go out there and explore what delicious spring treats have popped up in your market, and by all means, feel free to make me jealous by sharing what's growing in your area.