Spring has been in full force around here for several weeks. We've had some really warm weather, followed now by several days of much-needed rain and cooler temperatures this week. You can find beets alongside strawberries at the farmer's market, a visual and edible marker of transition between winter and summer. I've always loved the feeling of renewal that Spring brings, the feeling that you can shed the heaviness of winter and celebrate longer days of sunshine.
Last weekend we were in Minnesota for Peter's grandmother's memorial service. Even though they had had a mild winter, the 40 and 50 degree temperatures sure felt cold to our Southern bones! It was refreshing to enjoy some cool weather. It was even better to see the whole family together, people we don't see nearly often enough.
Katharine "Tinker" Roe was 97 years old, and Boy! Did she have some stories! It was so nice to share stories of her long life on Belfield Farm, to hear about Peter's dad when he was young and stories of his summers on Sunfish Lake. Tinker's cottage was filled with pictures. They rested on every available surface, and told her family's story going back generations. You could see young saplings in older photographs, and compare them to the large pine trees standing guard outside today. I found a picture of her brother, Richard, who was killed in Pearl Harbor. Peter looks just like him. Now this picture will reside in our home, we are the keeper of its story. It is a big honor.
It was a bittersweet goodbye to Tinker's cottage and all of the memories it held for the family. It's like closing a chapter in your life, one you'll never be truly ready to be done with. Our last moments there were reflective and peaceful. We took one last family photo. It was sunny and warm outside-the warmest since we'd been in town-and we're all smiling. The trees were in bloom and irises were starting to poke through. I think that's how Tinker would have wanted us to remember it. And her. In the springtime of life.
I think a risk you run with a food blog is that people assume you eat glamorous food every day. We returned home Sunday evening with enough time to make dinner. In our fridge we had carrots, brussels sprouts and beets from the Farmer's Market the weekend prior. So, roasted root vegetables it was. It was probably the last of these vegetables from our market for the season; soon we'll be turning to tomatoes, peppers and zucchini. It was a perfect transitional meal: hearty winter vegetables, but a light and colorful dinner to welcome spring. Simple and satisfying.
We'll miss Tinker and Belfield Farm, but will carry them in our hearts. Where it is always Springtime.
I could write a very detailed recipe here, but I have faith that you, dear reader, can find a hundred recipes for roasted vegetables, and probably all better than this. I share this with you only as inspiration for a simple meal to celebrate the shift in the seasons. I felt obliged to share something, so here you go...
Brussels sprouts, about a pound, halved
Carrots, about a pound, quartered lengthwise, then halved
Beets, peeled, halved and cut into wedges
Balsamic vinegar (optional)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Scatter the vegetables in two roasting pans. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender but not mushy and are starting to caramelize on the edges, roughly 45 minutes, perhaps longer if you left the beets rather large.
Finish with Balsamic vinegar on all or some of the vegetables. Toss some dill with the carrots, if desired.