Last week I was so happy to finally get my hands in the dirt. It felt so good. I was back in my garden planting, planning and imagining the gorgeous bounty that will soon be right in my own backyard.
The act of gardening is very special for me. I find that being in my yard with my hands in the earth comforts, grounds and instantly slows me down.
However the real reason I love gardening so much has to do with something much bigger. I’m not sure I was always aware of it at the time, however I see now that my desire to plant and grow is because of its gentle reminder to have faith and hope in things we cannot see.
Planting a tiny seed in the cold dark earth requires more than just water and sun. It requires us to have patience, to have hope and to have faith. All of which I could use a little more of.
So as I work in my backyard, with my four children running around and life feeling a little more chaotic then I would like, these seeds remind to be patient. And for a moment I take in a deep breath of the cold fresh air, and I have faith.
“To plant a garden is to believe in tomorrow” – Audrey Hepburn
With the air still being chilly here in Connecticut. I planted a few of my favorite spring vegetables that do well with this milder weather – peas and radishes. In honor of these beautiful new spring plantings, I worked up a new salad that I am utterly in love with.
I really enjoy making salads, but this has to be my favorite so far (and I don’t say that lightly). The dressing is light and bright with lime juice and shallots. The sweetness of the peas is balanced with the peppery notes of the radishes and feta cheese. It’s a gorgeous combination of delicate spring flavors and a wonderful side dish for easy entertaining this spring.
If you’ve never worked with Israeli couscous, now is your chance. This grain is simple to prepare and can be adapted in so many ways. I like to toast the couscous before I cook it (heat the couscous along with 1-2 tbsp of olive oil over medium heat until it releases a nutty aroma, 1-2 minutes and then continue to cook according to package) enhancing it’s natural flavors. I also like to “dress” my couscous when it’s still warm so it soaks up those extra flavors. Just those two little changes make a big difference.
If you can find fresh peas around you right now, they are definitely worth the little bit of extra effort. Frozen peas are of course a great substitute, but if you’re lucky enough to find them fresh, don’t pass them up.
- 1 cups of cooked Israeli couscous, cooked according to package
- 1 cup of fresh peas, blanched
- 4-6 radishes, sliced thin
- 1 cup of pistachios
- ½ cup of feta
- 2 tbsp. of julienned mint
- 1 egg yolk
- 1-2 shallots
- Juice of two limes
- ¼ of olive oil
- salt/pepper to taste
- In a Vittamix (or other high-speed blender), add egg yolk, shallots, lime juice, salt/pepper, and blend on low speed. As the blender runs, slowly pour in the olive oil. Continue to blend on medium speed for 30 seconds. Set dressing aside.
- Cook the couscous according to the package. With the couscous still hot, combine the dressing and couscous in a large bowl.
- Add peas, thinly sliced radishes, feta, pistachios and julienned mint.
- Toss together lightly and place salad onto a serving dish
- Sprinkle the salad with any extra lime juice, mint, or feta depending on your preference.