Happy Vernal Equinox!

While there might be a dusting of snow on the ground this morning (I refuse to look outside), it’s SPRING, dammit, and nothing can take away the joy I feel now that it’s not officially winter anymore. Like a hemorrhoid, I thought it would never go away.

On one of the lovely 70-degree days earlier this week, I went out and inspected the garden beds. Beneath all the debris, chive shoots have emerged. Bright green spikes growing out of the ground and smelling sweet and oniony. I cleared away a few leaves and took a good whiff. Mmmmmm….I can taste them in my omelets already. It’s so nice to see green among all the brown and rot.

I think I’ll plant carrots this year. I’ve fallen in love with carrots again. We had a falling out for a few years. I used to eat them like they were mandatory diet food, the “Oh well, can’t eat anything else” staple in my “diet mind.” For years they reminded me of deprivation and drudgery because I was for so long in a “I have to lose weight NOW so I’ll eat a carrot” mentality.

But carrots no longer go bad at the bottom of my crisper, thanks, in part, to this fabulous recipe I found in an old Weight Watcher’s cookbook. Contributed by Sara Schrader of Faribault, Minnesota, which is close to my old stomping grounds, it features my favorite herb in the whole world: tarragon. The only thing I changed was the oil. I don’t add it, but the original recipe calls for a teaspoon of canola.

Tarragon Carrot Salad

5 carrots, cut into ½-inch chunks
¼ C orange juice
1 T minced fresh tarragon or 1 t dried
1 T tarragon wine vinegar
¼ t sugar
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 ½ C red grapes, halved

1. Steam carrots or cook in small amount of water until soft but not mushy. Drain and rinse with cool water.

2. Combine orange juice, tarragon, vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Mix with carrots in a bowl. Add the onions and grapes; toss to combine. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

Without the added oil, there are 2 WW Points for 2 servings; 1 Point for 4 servings. I’ve heard that if you eat the entire thing as a serving, it’s 4 Points, but I wouldn’t know that personally or anything. Ahem.

I feel like I’ve emerged from a black hole now that it’s finally spring. The finches are back, the crocuses are budding, life is buzzing all around. I’m getting my thighs ready for biking season and I’m itching to dig out the summer clothes and hide the winter boots in the basement. Spring cleaning is cathartic.

I think I’ll celebrate this first day of spring with a trip to the greenhouse and a batch of Tarragon Carrot Salad. What are you doing on this vernal equinox?

6 thoughts on “Happy Vernal Equinox!

  1. You have sprouts?? I am so jealous! We now have bare ground after warmer weather this week, and I was just saying to my husband that the tulips will be getting ready to come up – and I cannot wait!

  2. Mara, it was cold here, too, today. But the sun was out so it didn’t feel as bad. Lori! Sorry, babe. We have sprouts. And the daffodils and tulips are about 6 inches tall. However, my sister in Seattle trumped me with her “Oh my crocuses are up and rhododendrons are set to bloom….” I love my sister, but I wanted to say, “Well la-di-da, sis!” LOL

  3. I love tarragon – that recipe is going into my “try these” folder!I wore sandals to work today in honor of spring!I am so glad the warmer weather is finally here (although you know I’ll be complaining once it’s summer in south Texas!). Our day lillies are greening up and I’m ready for a trip to Lowe’s for some flowering annuals!

  4. That salad looks delicious! I’m going to make it this weekend.I love spring, it’s my favorite time of year. Being from Fairbanks, Alaska, spring was always such a welcomed relief from the long, dark winter. Now I live in the Pacific Northwest and I feel the same way!

  5. YES to the salad! I have never had tarragon, to my knowledge. It will be fun to try. Have you tried the ‘sweet nantes carrots at T.J.’s? They are really good. They only have them seasonally…

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