From early February, I begin to notice the way sunlight flirts with me as I look out my kitchen window. With each passing week the sun slowly begins to encroach, gently nudging away the shade that has been dominating my patio and garden since November. I watch it day after day, silently taking note of the fact that it’s time to dust off the umbrellas and put the cushions on the patio furniture. These come hither glances that nature gives me lure me outside for reasons other than yard work, and I, of course, comply. Who am I to resist?
Being able to drift outside with my requisite morning coffee or tea– lately it’s been tea –begins a ritual that intensifies as spring inches its way toward summer. And while there is still a chill in the morning air, I seek the best sunny spot along a stone retaining wall and linger there for a while. Sipping. Looking. Listening. It’s a stolen moment for myself where time seems to stand still. I easily take it all in knowing it won’t be long until one of the kids (usually my daughter) will find me.
I can’t help but notice the palette of green surrounding me as tender new leaves vigorously bust forth from the branches and canes that have appeared idle since last year. The way the sunlight hits the leaves of the fig tree, silhouetting its intricate veins, gives me hope that soon fruit will appear. The garden is establishing its character for this year, and it intrigues me. I wonder what it has in store for me? And it gets me to thinking about springtime food. Vibrant green asparagus, peas and pistachios immediately come to mind, and I make a mental note for my next farmers market run. Pistachios will have to suffice on this day.
Knowing that I have a couple Meyer lemons on hand from my friend whose trees seem to have a rabbit-like reproduction rate these days easily allows me to conceive of a lemon-pistachio something-or-other, a combination I cannot resist. It’s not until I look over my shoulder to see the puffs of white coming from a climbing rose that I know what will inevitably lead me back into the kitchen.
I love how nature has a way of playing matchmaker every spring when the mutually fulfilling relationship between me and my garden is rekindled.
Adapted from California Heritage Continues
1 (14-ounce) package sweetened, shredded coconut
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
2/3 cup pistachios
2 teaspoons Meyer lemon zest
1/4 cup flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 egg whites
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine coconut, sugar, pistachios, lemon zest, flour, and salt. Beat egg whites and vanilla until foamy. Add to coconut mixture and mix thoroughly. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a parchment or silicone-lined baking sheet.
Bake for 15 to 17 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack and drizzle with melted chocolate. Best when eaten on the day made but can be stored in a covered container for up to 3 days.