Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring is almost here...

Dear foodies,

Spring is finally getting close, yes, it officially started a few weeks back, but I don't see it in the temperatures yet :D I do see tiny blossoms on every tree branch and new leaves popping out everywhere though. The bright green color of the new leaves and lush green on the grass instantaneously brightens up my mood too. The vegetable section at the the store is also seeing springs' bounty coming in. Tart strawberries, supple tomatoes, tender asparagus, fragrant herbs, new potatoes and a lot more fresh produce is getting stacked onto the shelves. The temperatures are slowly going up, but the nights are still cold. So there's still some time left for making a pot of hearty soup or roasted vegetables for dinner and ofcourse, the quintessential hot cup of masala chai or filter kaapi in the evenings.

spring garden
I planted some methi and bought a pot of basil and rosemary to start off my spring garden. Last year it was only flowers and so this year I thought I'll make it a herb garden. The basil though is shriveling up, I may have to buy another one and give my brown thumb another chance :( On the other hand, the rosemary plant is thriving and the methi has a few more weeks before it gets into the kitchen :)

Like the saying 'April showers bring May flowers' the last few days have been overcast and its been raining all through the day. I made some hearty lentil soup for dinner tonight going with the mood. The recipe is very similar to the one I made earlier. I made it all in one pot this time, by sauteing the veggies on low heat for sometime and then adding the lentils along with water. Instead of the bay leaves I used 2 tsp of chopped rosemary from *my garden*, tomato paste instead of the fresh ones, and threw in a few pearl onions too. Another change I made this time was to add 2/3rd portion of the lentils first, and when they were half way through I added the rest 1/3rd and cooked covered for 20mins on medium heat. So in the end you have the creaminess from the initial batch and a little texture from the final 1/3rd. I also added a handful of arugula at the very end so it could wilt in the residual heat from the soup.

I hope all of you have your Thai dishes planned out, you have just 8 more days to send them over.

Carrying on the Earth theme all through April, which is Earth month, today is celebrated as Earth day in many places. It was started to create awareness and urge everyone to think about the planet we live in. In Ohio, we have a 'Lights out Ohio' program that urges everyone to turn off the lights for one hour anytime during the day, and also to start putting in place energy conservation acts that will continue to save energy every single day, be it at home, schools, workplace, shopping areas or industries. Look for similar events in your area, or start one in your own little space :)

25 thoughts:

Vishali said...

Love the snaps as always Priya. And, the soup looks so yum! willsend u a Thai recipe tom. First time for me and just made it for this event.:)

indosungod said...

Happy Spring! Waiting for the temps. to warm up and I guess it is getting here this weekend.

Priya said...

Vishali, thank you so much! I hope you enjoyed making it :)

ISG, yes, the weekend seems promising :) I have one more pot and plan to plant swiss chard and some kind of lettuce perhaps for trial.

Parita said...

Hi Priya, the lentil soup looks delicious, love the pics

Vishali said...

Its my pleasure Priya. I really enjoyed making it and was delish too. will have to try making more from now on.

Priya said...

Parita, thank you. its very filling too. having it for lunch right now :)

Vishali, once you get started with Thai food, its tough to stop na :D Looking forward to the recipe :)

Sucharitha said...

Happy gardening Priya and love the lentil soup with all those different flavours.

Soma said...

It is spring for sure here. have warmed up quite a bit! My basil is sprouting.... I have to make arrangements outside to keep the bunnies off. Found a nest with 6 babies in it! will post the pictures soon.
That soup looks awesome. We have a friend here who has 2 big bushes of rosemary & i get a steady supply of that.

mona said...

The soup looks delicious. In Toronto, we have cloudy weather too, but the temps seem to be good this coming weekend. Enjoy gardening! Lovely snaps Priya!

Ramya Vijaykumar said...

I liked your band of players Priya on the right they look cute, my bros fav... Last yr I had methi, rosemary and coriander and a few flowers my balcony can only accomodate that much, this yr havent start anything yet...

Superchef said...

love all the pics. I have a small herb garden in my balcony as well - rosemary, cilantro and parsley for now. planning to get some basil, mint and lavenders as well. on the veggies part, i have some Kale now, will be getting some strawberries..i just love going and looking at them. havent started using any of them in the kitchen yet.

Have fun in the spring! :)

Cham said...

Ah, In Califo we don't get a shower in April, usually it starts blooming in mid feb! Ur last year pot flowers are gorgeous. I would love to see ur methi plant!

Sonu said...

I was wondering abt ur disappearance. Well, I saw ur pics of ur flowers garden. they are very beautiful and lovely :)

A_and_N said...

I'd love to grow something, but after I killed a bamboo and a cactus, I've decided to wait for sometime before I make my next kill, literally.

I killed plant by over watering- total socialte I was. What with my fitness routine, I aimed to be one of those women who get up, hvae no time, water their plants, run, have a healthy breakfast and get down to work. And ya, the plant dit died of my pseudo business ;)

Pavani said...

I'm planning to buy some plants this weekend. Your little garden looks great. Good luck with all the other plants too. Lentil soup looks delish. hearty and nutritious..

Nags said...

that soup looks killer! love your pics :)

Varsha Vipins said...

Looks super yumm-o Priya..!..

Miri said...

The lentil soup looks really good! Hope you got my entry for IAVW - sent you a mail last week.

NIKKI said...

I have a brown thumb too. It's a pity b/c I would like nothing more than to have my own garden or even a farm. I have got some serious learning to do if that's ever going to happen. Good luck with your herbs. I hope they turn out better than mine!

Sunshinemom said...

I can see Spring in your pictures!! I planted some methi too for the birds so that they find enough but they don't seem to like the taste, so we will have parathas with them next:)

Soup looks very hearty!

Priya said...

Sucharita, thank you, I need some luck too :D

Soma, I read about the bunny babies in your comment to Bee's post. Would love to see some photos, your angels should have loved the whole experience.

Mona, thank you. I am looking forward to the weekend too, its supposed to reach 80F on Saturday!!

Ramya, same here, my balcony can hold 4-5 pots, I bought the extra-long rectangular type ones to grow the methi and coriander. The Ganesha idols were on display at a store in the new Hyderabad intl airport. They had plenty of unique models.

Superchef, growing your own berries sounds like funn and lavender is sure to make the whole place smell great. I need to get some mint too, not a huge fan of parsley though. I am tempted to grow tomatoes and chillies though :)

Cham, talk of Calif just breaks my heart! aaah, how I wish I were there. The totally enjoyed the flowers last year, they were soo beautiful. the methi is couple of inches tall now, not many leaves yet though.

Priya said...

Sonu, I am tempted to buy a few this year too :D But will hold back for now :)

N, I killed a bamboo too :( lol @ your wannabe socialite attempts. You shud get into 'real housewives of atl for that ;-) I am going to try mint next, heard its very forgiving!

Pavani, I need the luck :) What plants are you planning to get ? And this soup was really filling, it tasted better the next day too.

Nags, thank you! :)

Varsha, thank you. the best part was smelling the fresh rosemary. Need to try it on roasted potatoes soon.

Miri, checked my email and replied too, Thank you!

Nikki, I would love to have my own farm too, I wish the two of us more luck on that! I need quite a bit of it.

Sunshinemom, lol at the birds not liking it. Paratha's is the nice idea.

Divya Vikram said...

Welcome Spring! Am planning to grow some methi too! gorgeous pics!

bee said...

enjoy your spring garden. try oregano. very easy. and thyme. it comes back each year.

Pavithra said...

Love the photos and soup looks so yummy ...

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