Yummy, nutrient dense and full of flavour!
Today marks the first sign of spring as we turn the clocks ahead with daylight savings time. Soon we will be witness to melting snow and the unavoidable mud puddles that form shortly after. Green grass will begin poking up through the crust of snow, and the air will be filled with an undeniable freshness of spring. The days are getting longer, and our evenings are extended to allow us to soak up the much needed vitamin D after a long winter spent mostly in the dark. As spring nears, our skin begins to itch as we remember the feeling of warm sunshine on our shoulders, and a climate that doesn’t hurt to breathe in. For me, spring brings with it a lifetime of memories and happy feelings of new beginnings. Every year I look forward to the excitement of what could be, and the freedom of warmer of weather. No longer will we be cooped up inside, hiding out from the frigid temperatures. Even somebody like myself, who never waivers and spends as much time outside no matter how hard the wind chill bites, I am reborn when the birds begin to sing and I can explore endless hours outside.
I find that this winter has felt especially long for me. Perhaps it’s from the extreme cold that started just before Christmas and has only just shifted into more bearable conditions now. Alberta has seen more snow this winter than it has in a long time, and for the first time in years I am finally satisfied by the season. But now, as the sun shines through the open window, I am craving a change. My body needs the nutrients that weren’t easily accessible through the winter as I try my best to eat what my garden provides all year round. By eating seasonally, I find myself nourished by hearty root vegetables and although delicious, they are missing the raw sustenance that accompanies leafy greens. This week, I made a nutrient packed green soup that is full of the flavours of spring! I find that the few days following a time change, whether it is forwards or backwards, I feel quite sluggish. Even though it’s only an hour, my body takes it time getting used to the new schedule. This spring asparagus soup has all of the necessary vitamins to help kick start my energy and get through a few tired days.
Asparagus is one of my favourite vegetables and is loaded with vitamins A, C, E, and K, and is a healthy dose of fibre. I love the satisfying crunch as you bite into a spear, and the taste is best describe as “green”. This soup has one basic rule - anything green goes! Asparagus, dill, parsley, you name it! However, I try not use anything from the cabbage family, as they usually have an overpowering flavour. And best of all, it is so simple to make! My favourite recipes are usually the ones that take minimal prep and can be left to cook while I tackle other chores around the house, and oftentimes, the most simple ingredients create the most flavourful dishes! You will see that the last step in the recipe is to add a dollop of butter to the top of your bowl. I know that in recent times, butter is seen as the enemy plaque builder, but I think it has a time and a place, and of course as with anything, moderation is key. The tiny drop of butter really brings the whole soup together, giving it a smooth, velvety finish. Each individual flavour is enhanced and creates a beautiful medley.
While on my journey of starting up a market garden, I’ve realized how much food can go to waste. I try my best to utilize all edible parts of a plant and I have convinced myself that some of the more unconventional pieces often hold the most nutrients. Whether this is true or not, I think it is important to know that substitutions can be made to help you waste less and eat more. For example, while cooking this soup, I found myself halfway through the recipe before I realized I did not have any parsley at home. In the summer, this usually wouldn’t be a problem as I could easily walk across the yard and pick it from the garden. Sadly, it’s still winter here and I do not have fresh access within arm’s reach, so it was time to be creative! I read somewhere that carrot top leaves are actually very similar in flavour to parsley and I had just bought carrots a few days prior to this. Normally, I would compost the tops, but in an attempt to set an example and live the life that I am trying to sell, I cut up the leaves and threw them right in! It added a little extra nourishment and in my opinion, tasted the same as every other time I have made this dish.
So give your body a little extra love this week and help it spring ahead by making a delicious and nutritious medley!