Happy May Day! Spring is in full bloom here in the Irish countryside—little lambs are bouncing across the fields, sedge warblers are singing their hearts out, and tiny yellow primroses are blooming at the edges of winding roads. The warm sunshine and longer days cast a positive glow on everything this time of year. Spring brings the excitement of a fresh start, a chance to begin again.
The theme this month at La Domestique is change.
On the surface it’s been quiet, but underneath we’re a hive of activity.
The first change is a personal announcement:
One year ago my husband and I (and our little dog, Minnie) made the big move from America to Ireland, returning to his homeland. His job brought us to a small country town in the northern province of Ulster. In just a few days we move to the big city of Dublin. We’re sad to leave good friends behind, but at the same time excited for all the possibilities that await us in the bustling city.
Human beings, by change, renew, rejuvenate ourselves; otherwise we harden.
~Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe~
The seeds of change are sprouting here at La Domestique, and you may have noticed a transformation is taking place.
After years of working as a freelance recipe developer, food writer, and photographer, I had a realisation:
Cooking inspiration is everywhere, but people still aren’t preparing healthy meals at home daily.
I’ve decided to take everything I’ve learned about cooking and devote my business to helping you cook fresh, healthy meals at home every day.
To learn how I can help you live la belle vie, check out my new About page.
Throughout the year I’ll be rolling out new services, including the Cooking Coach and cooking lessons.
Just like a personal trainer creates an exercise program to help you get fit, I create a program to help you put healthy, delicious meals on the table every day. I’m here to do the planning and organizing so you can just focus on the action. My Cooking Coach service gives you the tools to get it done, including weekly meal plans, simple recipes, and grocery lists. Find out more on the Work With Me page.
I’ve also added the Philosophy tab to let you know exactly what healthy cooking means to me. If you believe food is medicine and have a desire to take better care of your body by eating nutritious, home-cooked meals made with the freshest produce, you’ve come to the right place. Read more about my healthy food philosophy here.
Stay tuned for themed programs and special events throughout the year. Be the first to know by subscribing to the La Domestique newsletter in the pink box found on the Home page or About page.
My focus is on giving you USEFUL tips and tools that yield actual RESULTS. Whether you’re an omnivore, gluten free, dairy free, or vegetarian, my services are aimed to create positive habits so you can live a healthier, happier life.
I’m also making improvements to provide a better user experience on LaDomestique.com. My techie husband, Len, has updated the website so it’s now fully responsive and displays beautifully on any device (phone, tablet, PC, etc.).
Our next project is to make the recipes more user friendly with print options and full nutritional details, as well as a well-organized recipe index resource. We’ll be rolling out these features in the next couple of months.
Do you have any special requests as we work to improve La Domestique? Please feel free to share suggestions in the comments section or through the Contact Me form. Whether it involves user experience or a kitchen conundrum—I would love to help!
Now that we’ve gotten all the announcements out of the way, let’s talk food!
For me, spring brings a craving for all things green and I look forward to making this recipe for Green Spring Salad with Quinoa and Lemon when asparagus comes in season, peaking in May and June in Ireland (April in the United States). I’m very selective when buying green asparagus spears because they deteriorate quickly after harvest, loosing valuable nutrients and flavour. I want it within hours of being picked, so I only buy asparagus from the farmers market. Left to sit in the supermarket refrigerator the tips wilt and the stalks become limp—a sad sight.
Freshly harvested asparagus is full of life and antioxidants. This vegetable is an excellent source of B vitamins, particularly folate, and contains anti-inflammatories that support the immune system and strengthen blood vessels. (Source: Neal’s Yard Remedies Healing Foods)
Quinoa is a valuable addition to the vegetarian diet because it’s a complete source of protein, containing all the essential amino acids. The nutty flavour, fluffy texture and delicate crunch of this seed make it a natural choice for salads. Sweet spring vegetables pair beautifully with zippy lemon vinaigrette and refreshing mint. Enjoy this salad immediately or pack it for lunch. Roasted chicken, steamed salmon or high quality tinned tuna in olive oil would be excellent additions.
Take Action this Weekend
Look for freshly harvested asparagus at your local farmers market. Make this salad on Sunday and take the leftovers to work for lunch on Monday.
Green Spring Salad with Quinoa and Lemon
- 1 cup/170g uncooked quinoa
- 1 pound/450g green asparagus spears
- 1 ½ cups/175g peas, fresh or frozen
- 5 scallions, thinly sliced
- ¼ cup/10g chopped fresh mint leaves
- 2 lemons
- ½ cup/120mL extra virgin olive oil
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Rinsing the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve removes its bitter tasting outer coating. Add the rinsed quinoa to a medium pot and cover with 1 ¾ cups (420mL) water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pot. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the grains are tender yet still have a pleasant bite. Remove the pot from the heat and place a paper towel under the lid to absorb moisture. Set the pot of cooked quinoa aside steam with the lid on for 5-10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer the quinoa to a plate to cool while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Blanch the vegetables. Bring a large pot of water to boil and fill a medium bowl with water and ice. Cut off the woody part of the asparagus stem and discard it. Use a vegetable peeler to strip off the outer skin. Chop into bite sized pieces. Drop the asparagus into the pot of simmering water with a couple pinches salt. Maintain the simmer. After one minute, add the peas. Continue boiling the vegetables for 2 minutes, until bright green and crisp tender. Drain and toss into the bowl of ice water.
Make the lemon vinaigrette. Grate the zest of 1 lemon into a small bowl. Add ¼ cup (60mL) freshly squeezed lemon juice, ½ teaspoon sea salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Gradually whisk in the olive oil.
Drain the vegetables and pat dry with a towel. Toss the asparagus and peas with the quinoa, scallions and mint in a large bowl. Drizzle over lemon vinaigrette and toss to combine. Set the salad aside for about 15 minutes to let the flavours marinate, however, after several hours in the fridge the lemon vinaigrette will react with the green vegetables, ruining their colour. If you’re making this salad in advance just keep the lemon vinaigrette separate and add it before serving.