March roared in like a lion: fierce, deliberate, and bold. The month began with a tempest: a beautiful and powerful blizzard that brought 35 cm of snow in one severe blow.
Last week brought a massive ice storm, which covered everything with a thick layer of solid ice. It was miraculous, like a fairytale, our world being in such a silent cocoon of ice. The dogs slid on the ice in the yard, looking very much like Bambi as they tried to get their feet. It was hard not to giggle at them: they know when they’re being laughed at, and it’s important to mind their feelings as they’re easily embarrassed.
We are currently rounding out Easter weekend, which is earlier than usual this year. Easter Sunday was brilliant: warm and sunny. Perfect for egg hunting. It must have warmed up to welcome the Easter Bunny. Well, at least that’s what we think! Magically the clouds cleared, the sun appeared, and we all spent the afternoon outside on a day that felt like a prelude to the warmer seasons to come.
We had a glorious Easter Sunday brunch, complete with Gouda and Shallot Quiche, Orange French Toast, breakfast sausage, and a bountiful salad. A grand feast to awaken the senses on a perfectly clear day in early spring.
The proverb goes that if March comes in like a lion, it will go out like a lamb (and vice versa). Well, we’re a few short days from April, and last night brought one of the most deafening thunder and lighting storms we have ever heard. The house shook more than once, and thunder cracked so violently it sounded as though the roof would cave in on us in our beds.
The origin of the proverb seems to be unclear. Some say it refers to March beginning it’s days in the winter season, and ending them in spring. Others think it’s a reference to the stars, with Leo transitioning through the month into Aries in April. And still others find religion in the verse, believing that Jesus arrives as the sacrificial lab, but will return as the Lion of Judah. I’m not sure which I believe. But I do know that this month began with surly, snarly weather, and as it always does it is inevitably succumbing to the gentler season of spring.
In any case, it always seems that just when it feels that winter will never relent, tout de suite one glorious morning the season of renewal is upon us. We’re on the cusp, and Easter weekend has shown us what is in store.
Bon Appetite to you and yours!
Orange French Toast
This recipe creates creamy, decadent french toast, with a delicate aroma that heralds spring into your home. Your kitchen will smell delicious!
6 large eggs (we use free range)
1 cup half and half milk, or whipping cream (35% b.f.) mixed with ½ cup whole milk
1 teaspoon grated orange zest (organic oranges don’t have toxins embedded in the skin, and we think they taste better too)
2 tablespoons orange blossom water
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon pure honey
½ teaspoon salt
1 large loaf of good, hearty bread
pure maple syrup
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk mixture, orange blossom water, orange zest, vanilla extract, honey and salt. Slice the bread in generous slices, and soak each piece in the egg mixture until saturated. But not for too long, or the bread will fall apart on the way to the pan. Heat a tablespoon or two of butter in a large skillet (we use cast iron), and once the butter has melted cook the pieces of bread until golden brown. Usually 3 or 4 minutes per side, turning once. It’s important that the skillet isn’t too hot during this process, or the butter will burn.
Serve immediately with butter and good quality, pure maple syrup.