Oh my gosh, it is already here. The last month has flown by in a flash and it looks like winter is finally over. It has been busy at The Cook's Atelier. With the promise of blanquette de veau, my new French son-in-law has helped me transform my very own, darling French apartment into my kitchen atelier. The whirl of the mixer was replaced by the buzz of a jigsaw and buckets of creamy, white paint were stirred with a wooden spoon. I scoured the local brocantes in search of the perfect French farm table for the dining room and I have my eye on a vintage chandelier. Shelves are filled with old French jam jars holding silverware, favorite cookbooks and treasures I've been gathering along the way.
Finally, The Cook's Atelier has a new home.
Just outside my big French windows, I've filled my window boxes with organic herbs and last year's heirloom tomato seeds, gathered from the market, have been planted in tiny pots on the windowsill. We've planted a small organic potager in raised beds, terracotta pots and vintage zinc laundry tubs on my daughter's terrace.
Spring calls for a much more simple style of cooking. Less really is more. A quick blanch or brief sauté is all that is really needed to highlight the flavors of spring. At the market, we are just beginning to see the the first bright spring vegetables. Tender white and green asparagus, fresh morels, artichokes, green garlic and tiny, fragrant strawberries fill the market vendors' tables. English peas cooked for a few minutes in a pool of sweet butter or new potatoes, primeurs in France, lightly crushed with butter and a sprinkling of fleur de sel are some of my favorites of the season.
Now the dust has settled, I'll be back in a day or two with some recipes inspired by the season. In the meantime, I'd like to introduce you to my new friend, Madeleine. We've be traveling around the small vineyard roads, visiting local markets and making stops along the way to take in the beauty of Burgundy.
So here's to all things spring and new beginnings. Should you see us on the road, you'll know it's me because the back will be filled with baskets of fresh produce from the local market, orange tulips and a bottle or two of Burgundy.