Last week marked the first official day of spring, and I have to be honest: I couldn't be more thrilled if I tried. I've had my eye on the calendar a lot this year, and for good reason. For starters, this has been the longest, coldest winter I think any of us have experienced in many years. But more importantly, the approaching spring season has great meaning to the chef and I this year. Although it is staggering to think about, this spring places us on the right side of the halfway mark to our one year anniversary on 2nd Avenue. As the winter wind begins to die down, the warmer breeze that has ever so slowly begun to blow through the air feels like a constant reminder that another season is behind us, and that we are one step closer to making this little shop of ours really work.
Last spring was such a god-awful, confusing time for us. We were knee deep in negotiations for our new brick and mortar space, we were still months away from the mere prospect of opening our doors, we were in-between pop-up market seasons, our coffee table was constantly covered with miscellaneous stacks of paperwork (for what, who even knows?), our home kitchen was a perpetual disaster as we tested and retested about a million and a half recipes, and we suddenly found ourselves plummeting into a world of attorneys, accountants and long, sleepless nights. Full disclosure: I think the chef and I were both starting to get to that terrible point you hear past business owners talk about. We were seriously beginning to wonder if we'd ever be able to make the whole thing really pan out.
This week, I had a total flashback. As I hovered over our kitchen island while testing out some new spring recipes, I caught a glimpse of the chef seated on our sofa, a mess of paperwork scattered before him, a look of concern spread across his face. The scene felt so familiar that it was difficult to dismiss that old anxious feeling in my chest. Only this time around, the root of all that paper clutter and all our stress could not be more different than it was this same time last spring.
The truth is, our business is growing in ways that we never, ever would have been able to imagine just one year back. In a few weeks, our pop-up market season begins all over again. Only this year will be the first year that we are operating both the shop and the markets in tandem. Plus, this season we are adding a handful of new markets to our roster, several more than we've ever taken on in the past. It's both daunting, and yet so unbelievably thrilling. I really cannot wait to tell you about all these new upcoming projects, which I promise to do within the coming weeks. Truly, I am a terrible secret keeper, so we will see if I can actually make it that long...
Since starting this site, I've received emails from multiple readers essentially asking me this: how have you guys actually made this work? Like I said, I'm horrible at keeping secrets, and if I had an answer, I swear I would let you know. But the truth is, I really just don't. I wish that I had a perfect formula to share, something tangible to help you along your way. But I'm really not sure such a thing exists (and if it does, I certainly have not seen it just yet!). But here is what I can tell you. In business, as in life, there will be hard times. There will be days when you do not want to leave your bed, and days when you will be convinced that everyone around you thinks you are a fool for taking such risks. But no matter how many mistakes you make along the way, if you believe in your vision -- like, really seriously in your heart of hearts live and breath that vision -- then you must keep pushing forward and reminding yourself that you are one day closer to making it work. Like the seasons, not even the worst of times can last forever; eventually, the cold days will disappear, the landscape will once again begin to bloom, and the world will suddenly seem more beautiful and more inviting than you ever thought it could.
This Smokey Carrot Hummus embodies my personal principles of a perfect spring recipe: it relies on fresh produce, it is the most striking and vibrant color, and it takes all of a few minutes to make. This way, you can spend less time in the kitchen and more time reading a good book on your front stoop. By definition, this is really less of a hummus and more of a crafty dip. However, regardless of what you call it, it is an ideal antidote to a long, gray winter. The carrots, which will sweeten just a touch when cooked, generously absorb the mildly smokey flavor of ground coriander, which makes this hummus fresh enough to serve on any spring afternoon but special enough to serve beside a crisp platter of fresh crudités at your first soiree of the season. I hope spring finds you well friends...
inspired by Real Simple
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 cup olive oil
1 pound carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 cup water
freshly cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon chopped scallion
2 tablespoons fresh crumbled goat cheese
In a large saucepan, heat the coriander and the oil over medium heat, about 2 minutes. Add the carrots and the water. Season with kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper. Cover and cook for about 15 minutes, being sure to stir frequently. Add the carrots and any remaining oil to a food processor and puree until the carrots reach a smooth, hummus-like texture. Transfer to a small serving bowl and garnish with the cilantro, the scallion and the goat cheese.