Textile Style: Celebrate spring in the boldest, most dramatic way–with a blue butterfly on your wrist! This cuff features a large pool blue linen butterfly decorated with a vintage luster glazed button and backed with a blue and silver print. The butterfly is mounted on a gorgeous platinum silk band that’s hand-embroidered with vines and tiny blue buds. The cuff is lined with plum linen and closes with a shimmery shell button.
Last month, as March ushered in just slightly warmer weather and a little more sunlight, our guide to shopping in-season at local farmer’s markets focused on seriously cold weather crops. This month however, as April in most regions brings in moderate temperatures and days with a significant amount more sunshine our list of local foods available gets longer and more interesting.
Those cold weather crops we discussed last month — lettuces, spinach, kale, broccoli, cabbage, garlic and leeks, for instance — are still available in most places, but in certain regions April’s seasonal foods will give us the ability to add more dimension to the table. Citrus, artichokes, beets, chives, horseradish, asparagus, sweet onions, and shallots are just to name a few. In some of the more southern areas Strawberries may even peek out from beneath their vines and make an appearance at the market.
And then there is one of my all time favorites. Though I’ll have to wait a little longer for them here in Michigan, many people around the country can get a jump on my season and indulge now.
When I was young I had a friend whose father I adored. Every year he would head to the woods and hunt. The elusive object he sought to bring home? Morel Mushrooms. And if memory serves, he was always wildly successful.
I remember watching her mom dump the contents of the bags he would bring back onto a cutting board in the kitchen, separate any remnants of the woodland floor they called home from the bunch, gently clean them up and start slicing. When that was done she’d fill the bottom of a frying pan with butter and heat it over the stove until it popped and sizzled before tossing the mushrooms in and frying them to buttery perfection.
Of course, given that Morels have a nasty poisonous twin inhabiting many of the same wooded areas they call home, I would never suggest you try to replicate the entirety of my childhood memories, but hunting a pound or two down at your local farmer’s market where they’re clearly marked wouldn’t hurt. Finding the best, fresh foods in any market is a bit of a hunt, after all.
Not sure where to find a farmer’s market near you? Check out Local Harvest for help. Not sure how to shop a farmer’s market? Never been before? Check out the farmer’s market guide that was featured right here at Try Handmade last year for tips! Happy April Hunting, all.
Cabbage. The red-headed stepson of the brassica family. Not nearly as good as its broccoli and cauliflower cousins when dipped in ranch dressing. The food of famines, of the poor, of your gassy great uncle. And who can forget that famous line in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory? Cabbage Soup is not enough!
But I’m not so sure cabbage deserves such a bad reputation. In fact, it’s the base of one of even my kids’ favorite meals. A recipe that lends itself perfectly to local eating this time of year depending only on store-able baking potatoes, garlic, a little on-the-hoof goodness, bacon, and the underrated spring green itself, cabbage. It’s a recipe that is so scrumptious I wish I could take full credit, but I must give credit for where credit is due; a recipe inspired by Rachel Ray’s Bacon Cabbage Home Fries.
Now, I must warn you. I never measure. If there were a religion against measuring I would probably join it. And I purposely make a lot of this particular dish so that there will be ample leftovers the next day; it’s one of those dishes that gets better after an overnight stay in the fridge. But if you can deal with a little experimentation and a heaping helping of leftovers you simply must give this one a try. So, without further ado, my Bacon Cabbage Home Fries:
1 lb Thick Cut Bacon, Cut into 1 inch Squares
1 medium Baking Potato per person you’re serving, cut into bite size chunks
1 medium head Cabbage, Sliced in thin strips
1 medium Onion — whatever type you have on hand, just roll with it — diced
Garlic, to taste. I use a lot!
Fresh Ground Pepper
In a deep stock pot cook bacon over medium heat until done. Remove, set aside. Add potatoes, onions and garlic to bacon grease (I never said this was a healthy recipe, just a favorite.) and cook, stirring regularly, until potatoes are tender. Add cabbage and continue to cook over medium heat, stirring, until cabbage is wilted. Salt and pepper to taste.
Of course, you could also skip the kitchen and just click over to Etsy through any one of the amazing photos in this post and choose some cabbage inspired decor for your home, too.
I don’t know why, but I’ve got travel on my mind more than ever these days. Maybe it’s the temperatures increasing ever so slightly and the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. Or possibly, it’s also the not so distant memories of snow and that we’re still wearing coats and gloves most days. (Screenprinted T’s from New Duds.)
Whatever the reason – there’s probably nothing more fun to daydream about then time away in beautiful places. I have two trips on the horizon, that I am hoping will happen within the next year. One to Maui, and one to Paris. Neither are confirmed yet, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing a little bit of research to see where my top places to go in each city are. Maui would be all about hiking, eco-tourism and time at the beach for me!
In Paris – La Duree for some sensational macaroons, Versailles in all it’s splendour, and biking in the French countryside are all top of my list.
And being the fashion loving girl that I am, I started to think of what clothing I’d want for these trips! For Maui, brightly colored lightweight dresses, tank tops and bikinis. For Paris, breezy romantic dresses and clothing in sweet pastels….
I thought I’d take a peek around Supermarket at some great indie fashion – matching each outfit with a fun getaway destination.
First up, these cute screenprinted t-shirts at the top of this post from New Duds! Almost instantly, they had me thinking Road Trip. T’s are always comfy for long trips in the car, with a stop at a cozy roadside dinner or a fun pub for lunch or dinner.
The Pastorius Dress from Dressed in Yellow makes me think of New York!
Lekkerlife Clothing offers this oh so cute black and white pleated skirt that says vintage California to me – I can just see myself wearing this great ensemble, top down, driving around in a classic car.
Finally – this gorgeous organic cotton dress from Gina Michelle has me thinking of Paris. This dramatic little number looks perfect for a candlelit dinner at a raucous restaurant!
Have you started shopping for spring and summer clothes yet? Any fun finds?
How many of you have been outside taking advantage of this beautiful, sunny weather? I know I have! Let’s get our hands dirty with some garden talk today.
If you’re in the works growing a vegetable garden, jazz it up a little with these colorful garden stakes by fromArtisanHands. If you’re new to veggie gardening like me, then you may need a little guidance with remembering which of your plant starts is which. These handcrafted stakes were cut from slabs of stoneware and come in a variety of fun colors. Not only do they come with vegetable names, but you can order them with herb names or inspirational words as well.
I have absolutely fallen in love with these handcut, recycled tire planters by DuchessCraft. Made from old lawnmower and trailer tires, these planters will make a huge statement when strategically placed in your flower garden. You can also use them inside the home to sort and organize your magazines, knick knacks, or even your recycling. Also, this artist donates a portion of the proceeds from these planters to the Second Harvest Food Bank where millions of pounds of food are donated to families in need all over the country every year. Visit the Second Harvest Food Bank website to see what else you can do to help!
Carry your gardening tools, seed packets, gloves, and other supplies with ease with this cedar wooden garden tote made by DesignByKohler. Cedar is perfect for this type of outdoor job since it is termite and rot resistant as well as lightweight for easy carrying. As their product description suggests, you can also turn it into a rustic style planter by simply drilling a few holes in the bottom and filling it with soil and an assortment of plants. DesignByKohler makes many custom designed and built wooden products for your home and garden from both exotic and domestic woods.
Now that you have some tools to get started on your garden, head over to Diana’s posts for some tips on What’s In Season.