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Ingredients for Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl (c)2012

Out with the old, in with the new. Spring is here, have you cleaned out your closets? Boxed up your sweaters and pulled out your sandals? It’s time to open up the windows and let in the light. To me, spring  has truly arrived when the birds start singing. I’m amazed by their gusto, listening to the finches belt out arias with their tiny lungs. How can something so tiny make such a powerful sound?

As many of you know, the husband and I just moved to a new apartment in a neighborhood just a few miles away. We never actually saw our unit until we signed the lease and picked up the keys. To our surprise our humble new home on the third floor has a large patio with a mountain view! In all the time we’ve called Colorado home, we’ve never had a mountain view, so we’re pretty excited. I look forward to many al fresco meals. That’s where David Tanis’ Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl comes in. Flipping through his book, Heart of the Artichoke, the recipe immediately caught my eye as a perfect way to celebrate spring. This time of year fennel is sweet and succulent, with a fresh, herbal flavor reminiscent of anise. If you’ve never cooked with fennel, this simple puréed soup is a great place to start. The “green swirl” is basically a pesto made with fennel fronds, basil, parsley, and scallions. I enjoyed the bright and herbal green swirl atop the velvety soup. Typical of David Tanis’ recipes, Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl is easygoing and low maintenance- let it sit on the stovetop while you prepare the rest of the meal, serve it warm or room temperature. I recommend bare feet and a light, crisp, refreshing bottle of white wine on a Saturday afternoon. If the birds show up to sing you a song, even better.

As my husband and I stood on our new balcony for the first time looking out onto the Rocky mountains, two Red-tailed Hawks flew by. I felt like they were welcoming us home. Here’s to fresh starts and happy songs!

Fennel Soup with a Green Swirl (c)2012

Each week I contribute a column to the Whole Foods Market Cooking Boulder Website. For the recipe and additional tips, click on the icon below.