Spring at last

First crocus bloomed on the first day of spring.
(So did the 2nd-5th crocuses. Or is it crocii?)

What a relief that winter is officially over. Is it possible that every year I hate winter even more than the year before? I think so. My mother, who is slightly older than I am, now hates winter so much that she must leave snowy climes altogether for a month or so. I find that winter makes me physically tense. It is exhausting to be cold, and clenched against that cold, for weeks on end. Fortunately a gorgeous warm sunny day like yesterday (first day of spring!) can be very rejuvenating. I feel like I've had a week's vacation. PHEW.

So I decided to celebrate by grilling. Problem: An hour before lighting time, I remembered we'd burned the last of our charcoal in a "farewell summer" barbecue last year. What to do?

Fortunately I also remembered that this "wood" stuff can be a decent substitute for a bag of charcoal. I happened to have a pile of sticks (above right) picked up from around the yard as the snow melted away. They made a perfect little fire in our hibachi!

For the first grill of the season I made chicken souvlaki.

Quick chicken souvlaki recipe

  • 3 breasts chicken cut into cubes
  • generous pour of olive oil
  • generous shake of dried oregano (because the herb garden isn't awake yet)
  • juice of 1/2 lemon (or more)

Put the first three ingredients together and refrigerate for 3 hours or more. Then add the lemon juice, combine thoroughly, and refrigerate (or just leave out) for another half hour or more. Thread the chunks onto skewers and grill. My grilling took maybe 20 minutes tops, turning occasionally. (I used soaked bamboo skewers, but the ends charred and singed anyway.)

We ate the souvlaki rolled up in lavash with tzatziki. (My dining companion also added jalapeƱos and Sriracha hot sauce to his. He has special needs!)

Quick tzatziki recipe

  • 1/4 cucumber, peeled and grated
  • 1/2 cup yogurt
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • generous shake of dried dill (because blah blah see above)

Combine all ingredients and put into a fine-mesh strainer. Refrigerate in such a way that the strainer can slowly drain without sitting in its own juices (I rigged it up over a pint glass--got about 1/2 inch of liquid after an hour.)

How are you celebrating spring?


AliceB said...

I like that you're scrappy. Out of charcoal briquettes? Use the wood in your yard dude!
This is a great meal-"chicken on a stick" in our house. Thanks for the tzatziki recipe.
We celebrated spring with homemade guacamole. Avocados courtesy of in-laws wintering in La Jolla, CA (same issues as your mom.) We accompanied the guac with margaritas, for aunthenticity. Today, we participated in a parade followed by pulled pork and cole slaw, recipe by profkitty! BOO YA!

"Prof. Kitty" said...

Guac & margaritas sounds AWESOME. I'm glad you guys dig the coleslaw recipe--I keep typing it into my own search bar to find it and use it again and again!