Spring Fever

Now that the incredible weather is upon us, what a better excuse than to open doors and windows, welcome in the fresh air, fire up the grills, light the citronella candles and get outside. For many, it means bringing the lawnmowers out of hibernation, pulling out the weed whackers and filling up blowers with oil. This season invites an introspective look at gardens and what needs pruning, fertilizing, trimming or other forms of tender loving care. Each year, we have a family day in the back yard whereby the green thumbs of the group emerge and we transform our space. One year we planted roses and another year was boxwoods and petunias. It serves as wonderful together time and at the day’s end, over drinks, we relish in counting the bags of leaves and measuring the pile at the end of the street awaiting the garbage truck’s attention.

I always find that this time of year encourages a renaissance of sorts. First of all, it is a time of year when we can regulate the temperature of the house exclusively on our own. We open windows and if we feel a nip in the air, close doors or put on a jacket. These days call for taking winter coats to the dry cleaners, packing away the sweaters, making wool pants disappear and moving boots to the back of the closet where they need not be seen again for eternity (wishful thinking).  While a bit of a behemoth task, I so relish in the annual tradition of changing out my closet. Out with the old and in with the new. Skirts and blouses I had forgotten about appear. It is a time for sandals and the reminder of a pedicure. I have toes. Suddenly an entirely new wardrobe, save for a cardigan here and a pair of jeans there, is at my disposal.

This year’s winter was freakishly unpleasant. Excluded from this stretch was the first day of snow. The joy we all experienced upon learning that many of the city’s offices were closed a cause of hazardous streets. What isn’t better than working from home in one’s pajamas? It seems that a good chunk of January, February and March was marked by grey skies, interminable rain and offensively cold temperatures. We don’t have a garage so chattering teeth the first ten minutes of my commute became commonplace. At times, this past Sunday and Monday included, it seemed that there was no end in sight. The tables turned recently and the forecast for the upcoming weekend and following week look promising. Perhaps the gorgeous Spring inherent to this great city is finally knocking at the back door pleading to be let in. Come on in and stay a while and for the sake of sanity, please don’t leave.

When the weather is glorious and I have a few short hours between coming home from work and bed, I like to pull together a meal that can be on the table quickly. An excellent means by which to achieve this is fish. You can prepare fish in no time whether it is searing tuna with a drizzle of sesame oil in a pan, sautéing scallops in a dab of butter, throwing a salmon steak in the oven or making a meal of an entire piece of fish on the grill. The below recipe is one I prepared after we ventured out for a couple of hours to enjoy the sunshine on the back deck of a favorite haunt. As the broccoli roasted, I salted our fish and whipped up the jalapeno caper vinaigrette. This dressing packs some heat so please be cautious with the jalapeno. On the stove, I gently warmed some garbanzo beans with olive oil and Hungarian paprika. In no time we found ourselves seated on the back deck, plates in lap, listening to the sounds of nature and enjoying our beautiful fish. Al fresco dining at its best and no need for reservations.

Roast Salmon and Broccoli with Jalapeno Caper Vinaigrette
Adapted from Bon Appétit


1 lb Alaskan sockeye salmon – please make sure you buy wild
1 head of broccoli – chopped
4 TBS extra virgin olive oil
1 jalapeno – chopped and you decide on the seeds
2 TBS rice vinegar
1 TBS honey
2 TBS capers
Kosher salt

Easy Peasy

1. Drizzle your broccoli with olive oil and roast at 400 F for approximately 15 minutes. Sneak a peek in the oven every once in a while and move pieces around with tongs.

2. Season your salmon with salt and pepper. Drizzle with 1 TBS olive oil. Add your salmon to the same dish as the broccoli. You want to roast the salmon until it is cooked throughout. For this you need around 15 minutes.

3. While the above roasts, mix jalapeno, vinegar, honey, capers and 1 TBS of olive oil in a bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Let the medley sit for around fifteen minutes or so. This builds flavor. Once your broccoli and salmon are cooked to your liking, drizzle with the spicy vinaigrette. Serve on a large platter as its most picturesque this way and let folks dish up themselves.

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