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Saturday, March 19, 2011

It's officially Springtime at TheCastle

And I'll have to go take a photograph to prove it. My bellwether poplar tree is misty green. It is officially springtime. I have mentioned in previous blogs, this harbinger tree - tucked in a south facing rim of the forest that marks the last turn of my lane - right where the daffodils begin. No matter the date, the temperatures, the clear skies or gentle showers, when that tree turns from grey to pale green, it is Springtime at TheCastle. Yesterday's 80 degree temperatures, following several wonderful rainstorms over the past weeks, squeezed those tiny leaf tips open, to greet me with this joyful seasonal flip as I drove home ... with car windows open.

I'm not exactly ready for spring - I'm slightly weepy at the thought of no more closed in winter days of coldness and snow - days when nothing more is expected of me beyond a nap and some knitting by the window - even while I'm so very glad it's not cold any more. What can I say. I'm human and that means I'm full of contradictions. In the end, I'm always glad I live where there are 4 distinct seasons and spring & fall are my favorites. If I were in charge of the world we would have January, then April, then May, May, May, then 2 weeks of hot summer - good for swimming, then it would be September then October, October, October, November and December. I actually like the fall best because:
     1. my birthday comes then
     2. It's such a relief after the brutal summer heat  and
     3. there are so many holidays in the autumn

But Springtime is a glorious season in Virginia even if I do still long for a little more time to eat comfort foods and not worry about arm flap and short sleeves.

This particular springtime Saturday involves all the usual Saturday chores - scrubbing away at my house so that you can't absolutely tell I live in the country with dogs (and guys), washing accumulated laundry, plus a mad dash back to town to pick up something I left at work. It also includes wonderful company and a company dinner and true to TheQueenly self, I am trying out a new recipe on my unsuspecting guests.

A few weeks ago a library patron brought me a stack of last year's Cooks Illustrated magazine. I've seen this magazine in stores for years but since I am an old cook with my own style of doing things, I have never picked it up. So, while this may be old hat to many - it's a fresh new look at food for TheQueen. And wow! What a fresh new look. I cooked several recipes from the magazines and all of them were better than my own versions of pot roast, breaded pork chops and beef stroganoff.

When I gushed my effusive thanks to the library patron donor she invited me to her house to watch the show Americas Test Kitchen and again I was bowled over. The recipe that day was for slow cooked pork shoulder with peach sauce. I've been drooling over the thought of this dish for weeks now and, as pork roast is one of BD's favorites, I'm sure it's going to be a hit. And I've cooked enough of the test kitchen folks' recipes to have confidence that this will turn out well - and ... I would never ever cook that much meat for just the two of us. Poor cousins will just have to be our taste testers tonight as I haul out the roasting pan and v-rack.

So. I will report back tomorrow. In the mean time I believe I shall go start to make TheCastle sparkle. Ta.


  1. i'm with you on the 'old cook' thing
    but i do make pork roast with a peach sauce (peach mango grilling sauce, which i can normally during peach season)

  2. Sounds yummy! Do you send mail order? ;-)

    Ah yes...September and June here for me -- not too hot, but perfect for knitting in the Garden Studio. But first we have to deal with the Snows of March...