Citrus Salad with Honey-Cinnamon Syrup

These days, the emails are flying thick and fast between my friends and family as we attempt to straighten out our plans for Easter.

Although it looks more like Christmas outside on the homestead, we are indeed planning to celebrate a spring holiday soon. Today I was reminiscing over an Easter past where we brunched al fresco on the patio and the ramps were already pushing up through the forest floor….but those signs of spring still seem like a long way off. It’s still too cold for our sap to run! But enough complaining…

So, Easter. We’re spending Friday with friends, Sunday is the traditional ham dinner with one side of the family, and on Saturday I will set a simple Spring-like table and host the other side of Danny’s extensive family for lunch. Or perhaps brunch, I haven’t decided. And Monday? Relaxing.

Here’s a peek at my menu plans and a quick citrus salad recipe that could swing for either brunch or lunch.

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Date Night In: Carrot Salad with Cilantro & Cinnamon

These are the days I feel most like hibernating. It’s February during a cold snap, and just the walk around my car to brush off the snow leaves me chattering under my layers.

It takes a good hour to thaw out from any outing and so I prefer to stay in as much as possible, thank you very much, and that includes for my date nights with Danny. The comforts of home overrule a chic destination on the town any evening of the week. Fortunately a new cookbook landed in my mailbox recently – the much anticipated Date Night In: More than 120 Recipes to Nourish Your Relationship by Ashley Rodriguez. It’s inspiration for delicious food and drink pour deux, sure enough, but her book is much, much more than that.

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Tomato Nasturtium Salad with Dates and Pistachios

Another salad. I know. But after being on the road, it’s all I want to eat when I come home.

Yesterday Clara and I headed out to the garden first thing to get inspired for lunch. The fridge was literally empty, save for a few dates, the usual condiment collection and other odd bits. After collecting the morning eggs, Clara busied herself with picking and eating peas; we’re getting a small second crop and she nabs every single pod.

Nasturtiums, basil and tomatoes are going crazy in our raised beds right now; an obvious trio to harvest for my lunch and for this recipe. The #EatSeasonal bloggers and I are celebrating August produce today, so read on to discover our creations and my colourful salad.

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Kale Tabbouleh with Cucumber, Mint and Garlic Scapes

I never know which direction my summer salad obsession will take me until that first forkful.

Last summer it was the grilled green bean salad. I experimented with every possible variation from June through September, then I picked my favourite and added it to my upcoming cookbook. The summer before was a smoky grilled corn, red onion and bell pepper salad, served warm with plenty of torn basil.

This summer, it’s all about the tomato salad in every possible form. Paired with briny olives and salty feta in a tangy Greek salad, sliced with fresh mozzarella and basil in the Caprese, and married with watermelon and mint for a refreshing bite.

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Middle Eastern Taco Salad with Roasted Chickpeas, Tangy Avocado Dressing

Last Saturday I pulled together a salad for a barbecue with bits and bites of ingredients I had on hand – and it turned out to be one of the best dishes I have enjoyed this year.

You’ve probably been in a similar situation before: committed to bringing a dish to a gathering yet totally uncomitted to going shopping for said dish. Having a well-stocked pantry and a garden that is starting to produce aids and abets the creative process. That was certainly the case for this Middle Eastern taco salad.

I started by listing the leftovers I had on hand: half an avocado, a bit of roast chicken, a quarter of a red onion, the end of a block of feta cheese. Lettuce and cucumber could be found in the garden, along with oodles of oregano and mint. Now I had a direction….Greece. But I wanted to go further East. I rummaged around and turned up a can of chickpeas, a bag of pita chips and whole cumin seed in the pantry. Now I was set to play.

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