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Thoughts with Ashley

We’re nearing that point in winter where I find myself in a bit of a cooking lull. Nearing? Okay, we’re there. Spring feels as if it’s starting to show the first signs of arrival through tiny green buds popping up on branches that appeared dead just the day before. The other morning while sitting near the fire drinking my coffee in the almost-dark I heard the sweet melody of a few birds having a conversation. Perhaps I’m imagining these signs but I’ll take them.

The weariness shows up mostly when it’s time to cook dinner. The ingredients start to all look the same; cauliflower, carrots, and all other forms of hard root vegetables that manage to survive the harshness of a winter ground. I miss the frilly leaves of spring greens and the sweet juicy bite of a strawberry. But through this lull, if I’m able to muster enough energy for creativity, I can relish the seemingly limited resources of the season and pull out some very satisfying meals.

Recognizing this is, as they say, the first step. I realize that finding joy in the kitchen again is not just a matter of waiting for the next season – if we spent all our time waiting for joy we’d miss so much of it. Instead I’m setting myself up for success in the kitchen. I wish you could all see what my pantry looked like currently. There are bags of beans and sacks of lentils strewn out all over the floor as they wait their new home in a tidy labeled jar. This cleaner, sleeker pantry will be the start of many wonderful meals. With a stocked pantry and a fridge full of produce anything is possible.

When feeling a bit creatively challenged in the kitchen I love wandering the produce section and grabbing something completely foreign and unknown to me. I’m sure there are times you’ve opened up your box and reached for something that looked more like sea creature than vegetable. I mean have you ever seen a celeriac (celery root)? – they are indeed delicious by the way. I’ve learned so much about food by pushing myself into a little discomfort.

Here’s to happier, joyful and creative cooking!

Ashley Rodriguez

Food Blogger,