Spring is here

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This is slightly ironic, since in fact Spring is almost over, but here in the Midwest, we are currently in that fleeting moment called Spring. I don’t think we can truly call it a “season” in my neck of the woods because it’s really only a couple of weeks of nice weather wedged between ice storms and extreme scorching heat.

At the moment we are blessed with a beautiful sunny and reasonably warm (75F)  Spring day here and I have just returned home from a weekend getaway to visit my sister and her kids in California.  While I was gone, it apparently rained here almost the whole time. Normally I don’t care for too much precipitation, but since I did get around to planting a garden this year, I was actually excited for the rain. And the garden has definitely made use of the moisture and is thriving!

This being my first year gardening, I planted just about 10 different veggies – just to see what would “stick.” Well, everything stuck but the Cantaloupe :(. Well, I suppose I can’t have it all, but I can have tomatoes, potatoes, green beans, squash and even asparagus!! Asparagus is one of my absolute favorite veggies, and although I heard it can be temperamental at the onset, I decided I had little to lose by giving it a shot in my garden. Lo and behold, a week after I planted it (and then re-planted, that time according to proper instructions), little baby asparagus stems were sticking out of the soil!!! I was practically giddy with excitement. Hubby was impressed as he admittedly did not think that I would manage to make anything edible grow in the backyard.

At the moment the asparagus is extremely skinny, fragile and tall.

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I had no idea this is what it looks like when it’s young. The upside to growing asparagus is that once a bed has really settled in, it will come back year after year (for decades!). The downside – apparently it cannot be harvested until about the third year – until then it has to grow and propagate. Soooo… in 3 short years I will be eating my own home-grown asparagus! Until then I guess I’ll just stick with the store-bought stuff.

The other green veggie I am excited about is the broccoli. My plant is currently sporting two florets!!

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Anyhoo, between some gardening, traveling for fun and traveling for work, the past few weeks have been busy and the only interesting meal I cooked was 2 weeks ago for a small dinner party with  friends. But I only took photos of the smoked salmon appetizer I served. I bought this really, really good smoked salmon and wanted to do something with it that was quick and easy and healthy. So I put together these little cucumber-smoked salmon-cream cheese canapés.

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Tasty and refreshing on a Spring day. I mixed the cream cheese with goat cheese for a little extra flavor, and added some fresh dill, then piped the cheese mixture on top of the salmon pieces with my trusty cake decorating tool. (I have never actually used it to decorate a cake, but it is very versatile for all sorts of other culinary feats.)

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I hope you are enjoying Springtime as much as I am… It is getting to be the perfect time of year for cold dishes and salads, so I will be posting some new recipes soon! In the meantime, here are some more pics of all the beauty in my backyard, just because :).

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