Tuesday, May 19, 2009


Spring. Even the word is breezy and colourful. If you close your eyes and say it, you can almost smell the fragrance. When someone comes in from outdoors, the warm breezes and fresh air follow them. In Upsala, spring isn't bold and showy. It kind of sneaks up on you. Right now the tamaracks are just starting to turn a faint pastel green. The poplars aren't far behind, but you can't really tell yet. Some of the more ambitious lawns are greening up as well. My piece of grass at the fire hall is not ambitious. It's a very stubborn brown colour. That's okay with me. Mowing is a severely overrated perk of spring.

Spring is a lamb that can't be eaten by the lion of winter, although I didn't really believe that two days ago when it was snowing. A month ago, everything was covered in frozen snowiness. Or snowy frozen-ness. Whichever you prefer. Warm weather dragged its heels, but the lion retreated and the snow somehow disappeared (then reappeared, then disappeared, then reappeared). A few nights ago we had trouble with hose lines freezing at a fire. It caught me by surprise. It is spring after all. Water is supposed to flow, not freeze. I guess it had something to do with the temperature being below 0 Celsius.

Unless you live in Antarctica or the North Pole, the lamb always wins in the end. The leaves come out, the grass grows, the gardens start promising fresh vegetables that we'll eat as fast as they ripen. That's the up-side . . . along with hose lines that don't freeze anymore. The down-side is that we get to fight off the black flies and mosquitoes for a few months. They have to eat too, I guess.

Speaking of eating, here's another recipe you might like to try. It isn't anything earth-shaking, but it is a nice, fresh-vegetable side dish if you like that kind of thing.

Tim's Zucchini Mix (a boring name, and probably not entirely correct, since my wife had the original idea)

  1. slice up a carrot or two (if you don't like carrots, go on to step 2)
  2. slice up a whole, red bell pepper (if you don't like bell peppers, go to step 3)
  3. slice up a small zucchini (if you don't like zucchini, you've got the wrong recipe)
  4. slice up some mushrooms, whatever kind and however many you want (you can't dislike mushrooms)
  5. melt some butter in a cast iron pan at medium heat
  6. sautee the carrots first for a little bit - they need a head start
  7. toss in the zucchini and mushrooms
  8. sautee everything until almost done
  9. throw in the bell peppers
  10. add some salt, crushed black pepper, and garlic
  11. sprinkle some parmesian cheese, enough to cover the whole thing
  12. shake some basil on to taste, and a touch of oregano. If you have fresh basil and oregano, that's better
  13. toss everything together and taste, add more spices if necessary
  14. cook a tad bit longer, until everything is bright and springy, but not mushy (unless you like mushy zucchini)
  15. eat immediately

DON'T OVERCOOK IT!!! You want everything nice and firm.

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