I snapped a few photos on my way to work this morning, documenting some of the things that tell me spring is officially here. March is usually one of our snowiest months and in years past crocuses have popped up through snow banks; daffodils through muddy patches, but this year everything is dry (and relatively warm, too). The trees have taken their sweet time about the blooming and the budding, and today I finally felt like my favorite season is truly underway. (I’m still kind of hoping for more snow, though.)
Also, last night we had a wonderful time with our friend Chris and his friend (who he’s really here to visit). We know Chris through the same message board we know each other, and once upon a time we were all caught up on one another’s lives. Now we communicate through Facebook status updates, and it was lovely to have an evening to spend with someone who’s known us since we met (he lives in Oregon). We enjoyed his friend as well, and they have big plans for his visit, so I’m glad he was able to squeeze in an evening with us. For dinner I made guacamole as an appetizer and prepared fajitas (various bell peppers, onions, chicken), chopped zucchini and asparagus to be sauteed, and cooked rice and refried beans. When Dan came home he seasoned and cooked the mass of veggies and poultry. Tortillas were heated, cheese was grated, lettuce was shredded, and we all enjoyed a Mexican-ish feast. For dessert I made strawberry shortcake – quick, easy, and representative of one of the simple pleasures of spring.
Strawberry Shortcake (serves 4)
2 cups strawberries, washed, chopped
1/2 pint whipping cream (you will have leftovers)
2 tsp powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup milk
1 egg, beaten
Preheat oven to 450F. Mix dry ingredients for shortcake (flour, sugar, baking powder) and cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add milk and egg until just mixed, then plop into 4 shortcakes on cookie sheet and flatten to 3/4 inch high with the back of a spoon or fork. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden, let cool. Meanwhile, wash and chop strawberries. Whip cream with powdered sugar and vanilla. To serve, cut shortcakes in half lengthwise and layer with strawberries in between and on top. Add generous dollop of whipped cream to the top of each.