Spring

greek-lemon-roasted-potatoes.jpgI could not possibly have let April go by without sharing this lemony recipe with you. This is one that will become a classic in your repertoire. Trust me. Easy, yet so delicious, this dish is perfect for a small dinner or for a huge gathering. The recipe can be halved or doubled easily (or tripled … believe me I’ve done it).

I’m willing to bet that you have all of the ingredients in your pantry right now. It takes ten minutes to pull together and about an hour in the oven. This dish goes perfectly with meat, poultry and fish, or you can enjoy it on its own (as I have) with some fresh, crusty bread.

What starts off as raw potatoes in a pan full of water ends up as a dish of luscious lemony potatoes lounging in a bath of the most divine lemon sauce you will ever taste. And if that isn’t enough to convince you, then try to imagine the aroma that will fill your home. It starts off with the faint scent of potatoes beginning to roast. Very soon the potato aroma is joined by the unmistakably crisp and bright scent of lemon. And for the finish comes the oregano, which releases its herby scent as it heats up.

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neworleansrings.jpg There's something about rounds of sliced onions coated with crisp, crunchy goodness and dusted with salt that I just can't resist.

My first remembrance of onion rings is a box of frozen Mrs. Paul's that I would dump out on one of my mom's cookie sheets and bake as an after-school snack to share with friends who would come over after a long day of high school classes.

Over the years I've become much more selective with the onion rings I eat. I never, never eat the kind from the freezer case at the grocery store. And I never order them at a restaurant unless I know for sure they are made in-house.

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onion.jpgLike some twelve-year-old boy waiting for baseball’s opening game each spring, I count the days until my sweet Georgia Vidalia County onions arrive. There is nothing so sweet or crunchy as a Vidalia onion. One can eat a fresh spring Vidalia onion as if it were an apple!

I first discovered Vidalia Onions in Rome, Georgia during location shooting on Mosquito Coast. A neighbor brought over a bowl of lightly chopped spring Vidalia Onions with a bit of sour cream. Not impressive looking, but when we all sampled the simple dish we melted! While crackers were offered, the taste was so fresh and delicate, l found myself gobbling it down without any added assistance.

The soil in Vidalia, Georgia has a low sulfur content, which apparently accounts for the sweetness of its onions. While Georgia has expanded the legally trade – marked onions cultivation to thirteen counties in the state, I like to get mine from Vidalia county – sentimental, I guess.

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coconut-tapioca-pudding-with-strawberries-and-basil-summer-in-a-jarIt's Spring, but you really wouldn't know it where I live. The rain has been relentless. But strawberries are in season and the stores are filled with rows and rows of these beauties.

Have you ever paired strawberry and basil together? It's a magical combination. Couple that with a vanilla infused coconut pudding and you'll swear you've been transported to an island somewhere.

This is a lovely way to end dinner or a brunch, it's pretty too!

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watercress1.jpgSneaking around is so much fun. Like heisting those leeks a few weeks ago, we had the best time on Friday clandestinely gathering wild watercress from a fresh-water stream deep in the woods. Scissors in hand, we scurried down a path of pine needles, all the while looking over our shoulders, hoping no one would see us through the mist and fog and tangled brush.

Soon we could hear the gentle burbling of the stream, and then the green mirage appeared–a carpet of a million leprechaun-green petals, so shiny and inviting you’d almost want to walk across it. But unless you’re wearing waders, it’s best to snip wild watercress by draping yourself over a fallen tree branch. Which is exactly what we did. Snacking as we snipped, we filled up a big bowlful of the freshest, zippiest taste of spring you could ever hope for.

Gathering wild watercress is a time-honored Spring tradition on the Vineyard. But don’t ask an old-timer where his favorite patch is, like I did when I was just a new “wash-ashore.” He looked at me, only half-smiling, and said, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you.”

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