Whether it’s the chirp of a spring robin, a tulip bulb shoot peeking through the soil to catch the morning sun, or the first rainbow after a cleansing warm rain, the signs of spring fill the air with signs of new growth and fresh beginnings. Thoughts of heavy clothes and food slowly dissipate as your thoughts turn to planting herbs and vegetables, roaming the produce aisles in search of the newest crop of freshly harvested favorites, and planning meals to include the gifts of the season.
Celebrate spring with a garden party menu that’s just as delicious served inside as you watch spring showers as it is on the deck or at poolside. Choose appetizers and hors d’oeuvres that showcase spring vegetables such as cucumbers, scallions, and new potatoes and include dips and spreads along with crackers and toasted bread rounds for texture and variety. Have pitchers of fruity cocktails on hand to complement the savory flavors of the appetizers and garnish serving glasses with spears of pineapple and skewered fresh fruit.
Light soups are appealing served hot or cold and spring is the perfect time to prepare them with market-fresh fruits and vegetables. Gazpacho and vichyssoise are conventional favorites but other cold soups made with avocado, broccoli, beets, and zucchini are equally tasty and satisfying. If you want a soup that is delightful served either hot or cold, opt for roasted tomato soup. Fruit soup is a unique and enjoyable first course for lunch or dinner.
Salads big enough for a meal are lovely choices for spring lunch and brunch entrees. Whether you choose classics such as Cobb Salad, Shrimp Louie, or Chef Salad or feature Grilled Steak Salad on your menu, it’s worth a trip to the farmers’ market to get top quality ingredients. Instead of bottled dressings, whip up creamy blue cheese or ranch dressing or balsamic vinaigrette in your kitchen to make your salads sing with flavor.