Seemingly, overnight the daffodils opened up their lemony, teacup blooms and the Bradford pear trees are showy with a huge puff of white blossoms. Wasn't it just a couple of weeks ago that the view from the window was that of a frosted wonderland? Though chickweed is sprouting, as is the temporarily beautiful wild violet. Top of the do-list is some intensive hand tilling of the garden to get ahead of them and a host of other maddening greens emerging everywhere. Why doesn't the artichoke and chayote let me know they survived winter as quickly? I am hopeful, for we did not have the record-breaking winter of New England but nor did we bathe in the unusual warmth of Southern California -- everyone here was hunkered down under a heavy bed of mulch, hay and dirt. Happily my mitsuba (Japanese parsley) and loveage are already sending up leaves, and the French sorrel is almost “pluckable.” The garlic cloves that sprouted before I started wrapping a scarf around my neck are barely bruised by winter’s assault. Ahh, the awakening from a winter’s sleep never fails to excite every part of me.
Officially, spring is just days away but from my kitchen door it has already come. On this
St. Patrick’s Day when all that is green is celebrated I will add that spring is the greenest of things to rejoice. The coming weeks my menus will be drenched in green long after the Chicago River has faded to its more expected murky brown. I wait for the lettuces I sowed to mature, and anxiously anticipate the outlier during this green time, radishes and their punch of color, texture and taste. For now, I will drink in the aromas of the stirring world around me and nibble on the bits of green I am offered.
Spring Garlic Pesto – yields approx 1 quart
3 spring garlic stems – root hairs trimmed away
4 scallions – root hairs trimmed away
Zest of one lime
½-cup pumpkin seeds – lightly toasted
½-teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¾-cup olive oil
Roughly chopped the garlic and scallions. Then in a sieve wash them to rid it of any dirt and debris.
Then in a food processor place the garlic, scallions, pumpkin seeds, lime zest, salt and pepper. With the machine running drizzle in the oil – if the pesto seems too thick add a bit more oil. Remove to a storage container. Drizzle a little oil on top of the pesto when it is being stored to prevent it for oxidizing and also to thwart the growth of mold.
Store in the refrigerator for up to a month, or in the freezer for up to six months.