It’s here! Spring is really and truly here, and it’s put a bounce in my step. Most exciting is the little ramp shoots coming out of the ground down by the barn–I planted these last year, and they are already rewarding me with their presence. Ramps are known to be fussy, so my slightly cool and damp spot was a good choice. It probably didn’t hurt that when I had chickens, that’s where their manure would go. The rhubarb is finally poking out, the strawberries are getting green, and the jostaberry bushes are leafing out. My heart is full!
I don’t mean to rush things–this spring weather could last a really long time, and I’d be happy–but I am thinking ahead to summer, and it’s requisite small bits of clothing. Or maybe I’m just all too aware of the extra pounds winter has encouraged on my frame, and how it’s harder each year to shed them! What I’ve been doing is just eating better and moving more. That essential equation to losing weight, right? I make sure to have flavorful things ready in the fridge so I don’t end up frying eggs or making grilled cheese or doing any number of quick and indulgent things that seem to come to mind so easily when I’m hungry. When I look into the fridge I have cooked wheat berries, plump and chewy. On the counter is some cooked jasmine rice, which I leave out because it doesn’t really refrigerate well (unless you want to make fried rice). Other things I like to have on hand are tangy, salty, sour and crunchy fermented goodies, like kimuchi, (Japanese kimchi which I’ve been enjoying a lot lately), or sauerkraut. Rich components I rely on are hard-boiled eggs or avocado or a drizzle of sesame oil.
What else? Hearty greens like kale, collards and chard are my favorite. I wanted to have some greens that were easy to pluck from the fridge. I based this dressing on the Japanese seaweed salad that you find in sushi joints all over. That combination of salty-sweet-gingery-garlicky is my favorite thing! Roughly chop three bunches of greens, blanch them for a few minutes, drain and toss with this dressing. It’s great both cold in a rice bowl or hot in a bowl of broth. And it keeps in the fridge for at least a week.
1/4 cup vegetable oil, like sunflower or safflower
3 tablespoons of tamari
2 tablespoons of rice vinegar
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 teaspoon to tablespoon of sambal oelek, depending on how much heat you want
2 garlic cloves, chopped fine or grated with a microplane
1 knob of ginger, grated
1 tablespoon of honey
Mix up all the ingredients. Pour over hot blanched greens and toss with sesame seeds. Keeps in the fridge up to a week.